The final week of surveying has started on the three year project of botanical and geological surveying of the North Face of Ben Nevis for SNH and Nevis Landscape Partnership. Last week we had a couple of training days during which we also found a new area of Wavy Meadow Grass, bigger than either of the two previously known locations with five hundred clumps. Since the North Face is a SSSI and these nationally rare plants grow in very few places in the country, this is a very important find. It also shows that the vascular assemblage on Ben Nevis is in favourable condition (that means the flowers are doing OK). We've also updated the geological model of Ben Nevis by recording a huge amount of data and some very fancy modelling from Midland Valley Exploration.
Today I abseiled down Green Gully. This is a very popular winter climb that I have enjoyed climbing many times. I don't know of anyone that has descended it in Summer! It is wet, loose and full of rare plants including Arctic Mouse Ear, Starwort Mouse Ear, Alpine speedwell, Highland Saxifrage and Alpine Meadow Grass. Actually much of this extends across the terrace running towards Number Three Gully Buttress and over the bright green patch of moss that gives Green Gully it's name.
Other teams went up NE Buttress and down Tower Gully, up and down Observatory Gully and the bowl underneath Orion Face and Zero Gully. The best find today was a new location for Tufted Saxifrage which I hope to visit tomorrow. The weather looks like it will be relatively kind to us for a couple more days but the end of the week might be a bit wet!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.