The John Muir Trust is the leading wild land conservation charity in the UK. It is dedicated to protecting and improving wild places for people and wildlife and is supported by over 10,000 members. Over 115,000 hectares of Scotland’s wild land are safeguarded by the Trust, including Ben Nevis.
The rocky footpath that weaves through the wild wooded Steall Gorge to Steall Meadow, and spectacular views of Britain’s second highest waterfall An Steall Bàn (the white spout), carries more than 40,000 people every year. Heavy use and exposure to weather is causing serious erosion, damaging adjacent habitats and threatening to eventually make the footpath impassable.
The project will enable the Trust to:
- carry out sensitive work to reverse the damage and prevent the future deterioration of potential weak spots
- produce an information leaflet to go with the interpretation board at the path head
- engage with at least 500 John Muir Award participants from schools, youth groups and conservation groups
The repairs to the Steall Gorge footpath are complete. The existing path has been strengthened and protected for the future. The repair work was quite technical as the work had to be carried out around bedrock and large boulders in the ground. On-going maintenance by staff and volunteers will ensure that the path will be protected for the foreseeable future.
A 2 day volunteer work party in the summer of 2013 focussed on pathwork in the Steall Gorge itself and volunteers also achieved maintenance and repairs of over 10km of paths during the project. The work on the Steall Gorge was a focus of the John Muir Trust autumn journal and members’ news publication in the Spring of 2013, as well as 3 awareness raising days in the local area, prior to the work being carried out.
Further and light touch repair work to the path will be carried out where necessary, as well as careful monitoring of the surrounding habitats via regular work parties. Local schools and organisations participating in the John Muir Trust award will be involved in conservation work in the area, in particular monitoring key species in the gorge itself. 4 work parties will be involved in litter picking from Ben Nevis and work on different paths where needed.