Film - Ben Nevis: The Hidden Side

Shot by Dave MacLeod in the summer of 2014, this fascinating film follows the work of a hardy team of climbers, botanists and geologists assembled by the Nevis Landscape Partnership for an ambitious survey of the north face of The Ben. From grotty gullies to dripping crags, the team climb, abseil and slither their way into slimy parts of the mountain that academics rarely reach - all in the name of science.

None of the hard-to-get-at parts of the north face have ever before been surveyed for botany.

The first recorded ascent of Ben Nevis was apparently by an Eighteenth Century botanist, but there are still things to discover about the mountain's flora today. Some of the arctic/alpine greenery hidden away in dark corners of the crags are relics from the last ice age, found here at the southern limit of their range. But what exactly is growing up there, and how long might these species survive climate change?

Ben Nevis is generally believed to be an ancient collapsed caldera, but the process remains imperfectly understood, and having a close-up look at its geology could still teach us a lot - possibly even change the model of how the rocks here were formed.

To survey the mountain the team have to get themselves into all sorts of inaccessible nooks and crannies, including some really vile summer gullies - plants love them.  

'The results were amazing' say the Nevis Landscape Partnership, 'and will carry on this year when the survey resumes in summer with the same expert team & hopefully more new discoveries.'

Injury warning: if you are remotely squeamish then maybe look away at about 09:15. We hope that finger made a full recovery. 

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