For the Autumn-Winter2018 season, Highland Council, in conjunction with BEAR Scotland, will be conducting a trial extension of the road gritting service to include the ‘tourist’ track up Ben Nevis, it was revealed in a consultation document released at recent local transport consultations for Fort William & Lochaber. The document cited ‘several instances of accident due to slips, trips and falls on the ice when ill prepared visitors headed for the summit’.
Frozen! Steall falls froze in its entirety this year, leading to several minor injuries from falling icicles during the thaw. Further research has revealed that a coven of Highland Councillors, owning B&B establishments in the vicinity of Ben Nevis have pioneered the move, in an attempt to further increase the local tourist season to profit year round from the queue of inappropriately clad visitors heading to the summit each year. ’Tens of thousands of visitors head to the summits of the Ben each year, but our B&Bs are empty from November till the end of January - something has to be done’ The apparently health and safety conscious move comes off the back of a recent deterioration of most tarmacked surfaces in the Highland Council region. When contacted by our undercover journalist, a spokesperson from BEAR Scotland stated that ‘The newly upgraded Ben Nevis Path is actually an easier surface for our gritting vehicles to negotiate than the A82.’ ’We used to rely on manual health and safety teams to clear snow from Ben Nevis in the spring’ the spokesperson went on, ‘but they’ve been less active of late owing to budget cuts meaning these same staff are having to carry out the work of multiple departments- one team recently had to carry out essential inspection work on Glen Nevis Boulders, Sport Crags, Polldubh Crags, The North Face of the Ben and 8 local munros in a single day.’
Highland Council Workers clearing snow from the North Face of Ben Nevis. When approached directly about the issue Highland Council officials seemed to be largely unaware of the plans. ‘Yes, I think its unfair that some constituencies have to pay for parking and some don’t’ one said.