Meteor Wrecks Ben Nevis Summit Shelter

© Dave MacLeod

The summit shelter on Ben Nevis has been partially destroyed, following what's believed to have been a meteor strike. Incredibly, the moment of impact was caught on camera by climber and film maker Dave MacLeod.

The strike was captured in a fluke shot  © Dave MacLeod
The strike was captured in a fluke shot
© Dave MacLeod

"I was camping on the summit of Carn Mor Dearg while making a film with Dave Cuthbertson" says Dave, "and we were staying up there for Cubby to catch the dawn light for his photography."

"It was around 9pm and I'd gone back outside to smoke a fag and see if the sky had cleared to get some night time-lapses of the tent with Ben Nevis across Coire Leis. As I was experimenting with camera settings I noticed a couple of fantastic shooting stars.

"Then this huge one came across. I pressed the camera shutter just in time to catch it as it came down, but unfortunately missed the huge flash as it appeared. I guess even such a big piece will mostly burn up as it comes through the atmosphere.

"It actually looked like it had impacted right on the top of the Ben, and there was a small bang and bright flash as it hit. I was quite amazed I caught it with the camera, and also relieved it headed for the Ben and not Carn Mor Dearg, as we were camped right by the summit cairn with a lot of bottles of flammable whisky.

The shelter in former days  © Dan Bailey
The shelter in former days
© Dan Bailey

"We didn't go over in the morning to check it out because I find the CMD Arete in winter a bit difficult. Especially after all the bevvys.

"But we heard later from the rangers that it had indeed blown a hole in the aluminium roof, and most of one side off. What are the chances?!"

Often used as Britain's highest toilet, controversy has dogged the structure ever since it was first erected. Many have called for its removal, while others point out that, in the absence of plumbed toilet facilities, it's the best we've got.

Since they had been planning to replace the current shelter in any case, the ranger service have hailed its partial demolition by space debris as a "stellar opportunity to get one past the NIMBYs".

An artist's impression of the new Ben Nevis mountain hotel, perched on top of the North East Buttress   © Bodge-it & Scarper Co.
An artist's impression of the new Ben Nevis mountain hotel, perched on top of the North East Buttress
© Bodge-it & Scarper Co.

A new, improved and much larger building is being proposed. Designed by a firm of architects who cite as inspiration the revamped Kings House Hotel in Glen Coe, a development loved by all, the Nevis Summit Experience will be a multi-storey alpine-style mountain hotel with full catering service, private rooms, and a viewing gallery.

"You've climbed Ben Nevis - well now you'll be able to sleep up there in luxury too" said a spokesperson.

Dave chose to leave the meteor incident out of his film because "it seemed too unbelievable".

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1 Apr, 2019

Probably linked to global warming. Most other things are.

1 Apr, 2019


1 Apr, 2019

What are the chances of that ?

Would have been great to see.

I'd call it an act of "GOD"

1 Apr, 2019

Either that or the strange annual event where a sh*t ton of anomalies occur within a morning.

1 Apr, 2019

Thankfully, Lower Sharpnose is still standing...

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