Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ben Nevis North face Survey.

It's been a busy week on the Survey with some long days and hard work but it was all worth it.

The North Face Survey is a three year project led by the Nevis Landscape Partnership, sponsored by Mammut, in collaboration with Midland Valley Exploration and funded by the National Lottery Heritage, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council.

The key objectives of the survey are to:

  • Access and survey unrecorded and unexplored areas
  • Increase data and knowledge of rare arctic-alpine species 
  • Increase geological data and knowledge
  • Strengthen relations and knowledge transfer between geologists, ecologists and mountaineering communities.
  • Inspire the public and increase awareness and appreciation of mountain environments and some of the issues they face such as climate change.
By the end of the week we had found more areas containing rare Saxifrages,a new type of Saxifrage previously unrecorded on Ben Nevis and lots of other plants including Wavy meadow grass and Arctic Mouse ear, just to name a couple.

The Geologists have been working hard to collect information to help us have a greater understanding as to how Ben Nevis was formed and we have highlighted a number of areas that we need to get to in the future years to look for further Botany and Geology.

All in all, a very successful week! Here's hoping for more success in the following years.

Dave MacLeod interviewing Roddy the Geologist.

Finally a view.

Connor descending into North Castle gully.

Still a lot of snow in Observatory gully, still making access difficult.

Carn Dearg clearing from the cloud.

Some of the team working hard on top of the Comb with Tower ridge behind.

Just some of the delightful places we have been visiting. Myself belaying under Two step corner.

Arctic Mouse ear

Heading home down Ledge route after a tiring but great week.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Another productive day.

The main focus of today's training was to get the Botanists and Geologists onto some steep ground so they could get some experience with the use of the rope and for us to get a look at the Saxifrage at the top of No.4 gully, anything else was going to be a bonus. It turns out that it was a day of bonus'.
Two teams headed up Ledge route and to the coire just above the Shroud, Mike headed up the right side of Moonlight gully buttress and we headed up the left. Mikes team and I met in the upper bowl of No.5 gully where the Botanists, Ian and Gordon could have spent hours looking around but unfortunately we had somewhere to be.
We headed over to the top of No.4 gully and made our way down looking at the different Saxifrage that seems to do very well in that particular spot and carried on back to the CIC hut with another couple of very interesting finds including the first ever Alpine Saxifrage seen on Ben Nevis and a big patch of Wavy Meadow grass on the plateau that was previously unknown about. There were many more finds today too and the project has already ticked a number of the objectives and we haven't even really started yet. Here's to more successful days.

This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery fund, The Highland Council and Mammut

A bit of planning.

Noel Williams sharing some of his local knowledge.

Gordon and Will, high in No.5 gully.

Wavy meadow grass with my gloved finger in for scale.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Ben Nevis North face survey

I've been lucky enough to be asked to work on a survey of the North face of Ben Nevis along with a few other locally based Guides and Instructors. We had our first training day yesterday in and around the Mountain rescue base focusing on getting to grips with the app we'll be surveying with and practising some more rope access based skills.

Today was our first day out on the hill and we made a good team effort to get about 1700m of rope and other kit up to the CIC hut. After a quick chat to come up with a plan for the day we headed off in two teams, we headed up to the base of No.5 gully and across under Carn Dearg Buttress and over to Waterfall gully and the other team headed up into Observatory gully and around under the Minus face. It was a successful day with both teams finding plants on the 'rare list' and we have identified loads of possible locations for next weeks survey.

This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery fund, The Highland Council and Mammut.



Just some of the damp and places we are going to be exploring.