Warning to weed-smoking walkers over ‘hotboxing’ atop Ben Nevis

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One of Lochaber’s most respected mountain guides has said people are not treating Ben Nevis with the respect such a potentially dangerous mountain deserves following reports detailing the smoking of drugs by walkers in the bothy at the summit.

Mike Pescod, of Abacus Mountain Guides, was commenting after a report on the online LADbible website from journalist Tom Wood.

Mr Wood writes: ‘The emergency shelter … is being used by potheads who want to hotbox it before walking back down the mountain.’

He quoted another walker as saying: ‘I walked up the Ben last weekend and the amount of stoners was unreal. I honestly passed about six groups.’

Mr Pescod said: ‘From my own observations, I think it is true, and I do think it is a sign people are not treating Ben Nevis with sufficient respect.

‘We have the freedom of the mountains to enjoy in any way we want to, as long as we do so responsibly.

‘I defend this principle very strongly. After all, I don’t want someone saying to me that I can’t go ice climbing because it is too dangerous.

‘However, we also have a fundamental principle of self-reliance. When I go ice climbing, I rely only on myself, my experience and capability. I am responsible for myself in that it will be my fault if I get hurt.

‘People can go and drink alcohol or smoke marijuana in the mountains if they want to but it is likely they will not be self-reliant or responsible for themselves if they do so excessively.

‘We can drift away from our daily routine and stress by immersing ourselves in nature when we climb mountains, and there is a very clear restorative effect in doing so. I don’t think we really need to get high as well.’

Police Scotland added: ‘We previously received an inquiry on this and advised we were not aware of the issue.’