Friends of Nevis - Clearing Polldubh Crags

by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Feb/2009
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+Pinnacle Buttress, Polldubh Glen Nevis, 161 kbPinnacle Buttress, Polldubh Glen Nevis
© rusty_nails, Sep 2008
The crags of Glen Nevis are a fine selection of small buttresses offering superb rock climbing in a beautiful mountain setting. The cover photograph of the iconic book Extreme Rock is of the classic route Just a Little Tease, on Whale Rock, on the south side of the glen. Whale Rock sits in sunshine and enjoys an open aspect free from the enclosures of thick foliage. The Polldubh crags on the north side of the glen are tree covered, but these trees are a relatively new addition.

Ed Grindley (the photographer behind that aforementioned cover shot) explains:

"When Jimmy Ness did the first routes on the crags at Polldubh in Glen Nevis in the late forties, there was very little tree cover in the glen, except for the odd Scots Pine, oak or holly. Ten years later a photo looking down and across to the first ascent of Pandora had an uninterrupted view to the road not a tree in sight (to such an extent that Joe French, who recently spent a day filming Dave Macleod on Misadventure from the same spot for the film Polldubh, failed to recognise the picture).

For whatever reason, times have changed; birch trees have rapidly taken over and now cover over two-thirds of the hillside around the Polldubh crags causing problems of vegetation on climbs, shading and an increase in the midgieness of the place."

An environmental action group Friends of Nevis have discussed the situation with the relevant land owners and authorities (the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area for Conservation) and a solution has been found.

Ed Grindley said:

"It was agreed to allow felling of birch trees around the foot of the crags and to look at ways of improving eroded paths to the more popular cliffs like Pinnacle and Southwest."

"The first stage of tree felling, which has already started, involves clearing trees from around the base of the crags from Pinnacle Ridge to Dundee Weaver Crag. It is hoped to continue until all of the affected crags are cleared over a period of a couple of years."

For more information on the work of Friends of Nevis, or to find out how you can help or contribute, visit the Friends of Nevis Website.

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