Landslide closes popular mountain path

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A POPULAR walking path at Glen Nevis has been closed following serious rock fall.

Tonnes of rocks fell from the slopes above Nevis Gorge overnight on September 13 and 14, leaving ‘significant amounts of debris on the path’.

Now conservation charity, the John Muir Trust, has closed the Steall Gorge path, saying it could take until late October before it is given the all clear.

Large unstable rocks are covering the path with loose boulders scattered above the footpath, some stuck in fallen tree.

The rock fall stared 400m above the path on the Meall Cumhann cliff.

The trust has said it has already began surveying the landscape ‘with a view to clearing the debris in the coming weeks’.

Alison Austin, the John Muir Trust’s Nevis land manager, said: ‘The damage to the footpath is not extensive, but we will need to bring specialised contractors to remove substantial quantities of debris to remove any potential dangers to the public.

‘Unfortunately, the incident has forced us to close the path for the time being, but we are in working flat out to make sure that the work is carried out as speedily as possible. It is unlikely to be reopened within the next fortnight and it could take until late October before we can give it the all-clear.’

The closure is set to affect the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace, taking place this weekend, and will now have to be re-routed.

Ms Austin added: ‘In the meantime, we have provided advice on an alternative route for experienced hillwalkers, including grid references.

‘The work to restore safety on the Steall Gorge path is expected to be expensive, and comes at a time when we are embarking on other major footpath restoration projects in the Skye Cuillin and on Suilven in Sutherland.’

A spokesman from Mountainerring Scotland told The Oban Times: ‘The effect on walkers in the area will probably be quite significant for those who are less experienced. The Steall Gorge is a really popular path, and is used by a lot of walkers who just want to walk up through the gorge and into the open meadows above. These folk will have to find an alternative route. More experienced and fitter walkers and climbers can use the alternative route by the bealach, as Glen Nevis is used to gain access to many of the routes up the Mamores and the Aonachs and Grey Corries hills.’