Sunday, 22 September 2019

With the John Muir Trust in Glen Nevis

Ben Nevis

On returning from Colorado I knew that in just a few days I would be off to Fort William for a John Muir Trust meeting. I hoped that I'd have recovered enough from jetlag to participate coherently (I think I did, just, though some of the time I didn't feel quite real). What I didn't expect was that the weather would be just like Colorado - deep blue skies, hot sun, incredible clarity - for the two days I was there.

In Glen Nevis

Every September the JMT has a Trustees meeting close to one of its properties - in this case Ben Nevis - so that Trustees can see the work going on and meet local staff. I think doing this is very important and keeps Trustees in touch with day to day JMT work and helps stop us becoming a remote governing body. At every one of these that I've attended I've been impressed with the dedication, knowledge and skills of the staff.

The first day consisted of getting there via a rather convoluted long bus journey (why is there no direct bus from Strathspey to Fort William?) followed by a Board meeting. Being indoors in such beautiful weather was rather trying and we all approved the chair's suggestion we should finish early the next day so we could have more time in the sunshine. In the evening we had interesting and informative talks from Alison Austin, the JMT Property Manager for Nevis, and Lizzie Cooper, Programme Manager for the Nevis Landscape Partnership, of which the JMT is a member.

Nathan Berrie (on the right) talks to JMT Trustees and staff about tree regeneration in Glen Nevis

The weather remained clear and sunny the next day for a walk up Glen Nevis with Nathan Berrie, the Nevis Conservation Officer, who talked about the problems managing such a popular area and, especially, about forest regeneration. The complexities of both were made clear and again I was impressed by the work of the staff.

Heading for the Ben Nevis path

The walk up Glen Nevis over two of us headed up to the main Ben Nevis path hoping to meet up with a work party. Unfortunately they were higher up the hill than we expected and we ran out of time. But we had a good walk and met dozens of walkers coming down from the summit, many part of an organised National Three Peaks Challenge and accompanied by guides. They were off to climb Scafell Pike overnight and then Snowdon the next day. This is not something I can imagine doing. Linking all three on a long walk certainly but all of them on one weekend? No.

Walker descending the Ben Nevis path

In Glen Nevis the big views dominated in the bright sunshine but as always they were enhanced by the details of the landscape. The River Nevis was full - showing the weather hadn't been dry for long - and looked cool and inviting as it swirled over the rocks, and the individual trees were lovely, especially one rowan resplendent with berries.





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