The Nevis Partnership, a charity set up to manage and help enhance the environmental qualities and opportunities for visitor enjoyment and appreciation of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis, has achieved a number of notable successes.
Since its formation in 2003 the charity has secured almost £3million to undertake footpath maintenance work on Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain; improved access to the North Face by creating a new route through Chapman's Wood; re-aligned the Ben's summit navigational cairns to make it easier to descend from the summit in bad weather; and created a memorial garden in Glen Nevis to those who have died on the mountain.
In addition, the Partnership has promoted the Nevis Area through publishing interpretive leaflets, creating new forest trails in Glen Nevis, helping safeguard the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection and instigating a schools education programme and a footpaths skills training agenda at Lochaber College.
But like many other charities in the current economic climate the Partnership has been severely affected by recent cuts in funding. Those cuts have been of such magnitude that the Board has had to take the decision to cease operating during 2011 once the charity's current commitments have been met.
The decision means that future plans to carry out repairs to the lower Ben Nevis Track and improvements in Glen Nevis totalling £2.5million will not be fulfilled. Funders need to see stability in core funding before they will grant project funding. The closure will also result in the loss of 3 jobs directly and more indirectly as the Partnership has supported other facilities in the area such as the winter opening of the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.
Nevis Partnership Chairman, Cameron McNeish, said: “While I fully appreciate the current squeeze on funding will create casualties, I'm also concerned that Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis attract many thousands of visitors from around the world to Lochaber. More so, Ben Nevis, as the highest mountain in the UK, is of national importance and has been described by many as 'iconic'. Over 150,000 per year climb to its summit, putting a huge amount of pressure on the mountain's footpaths and facilities.”
“We have been aware of the potential cuts in funding for some time and we have spent an appreciable amount time examining our various options, but it has become quite clear that if public bodies really appreciate the importance of the Nevis Area, then they must all be willing to contribute sufficient resources to allow an organisation like the Nevis Partnership to manage the area effectively. The Partnership directors are extremely disappointed that the magnitude of the cuts to our funding means that it has become impossible for the Partnership to continue."
Over the next 6 months the Board will consider the best way to manage the closure with due consideration given to existing staff and path maintenance liabilities.
Cameron McNeish added “In conjunction with the community, we hope to discuss the future management of the Nevis Area with the appropriate parties”.
More information: Nevis Partnership Website