November 25th, 2015
The path from the top of Torlundy Forest up to the CIC Hut was re-built about 5 or 6 years ago and cost around £110k. Since then much more has been spent on maintaining the path, repairing damage from about 30,000 pairs of boots that go along it each year. The Pony Track from Achintee is also being upgraded now and the cost of this work, once completed, will be not far short of £1m. So it's worth noticing what's under your boots when you plod up in the morning and rush down before the light goes at the end of the day. Today I was on a very interesting workshop delivered by Nevis Landscape Partnership on how and why paths are built the way they are and what we can do to stop them wearing out.
It's all about water management. Water running down the path takes away the surface material and cuts away at the path at an amazing rate. We can clear debris out of water bars and check that cross drains are running well. If we see some more substantial wear on a path we should let Dougie know about it. Dougie is the Path Officer for Nevis Landscape Partnership and he over sees all the path work going on in the Nevis area. There's a lot more to the engineering of a path than you might think and Dougie knows it all.
Since the cold and mostly dry weekend we have had some periods of thaw and also fresh snow down to 700m and now 850m or so. Another thaw will go through over the next couple of days with a good freeze starting on Friday ready for weekend with strong winds and snow down to quite low levels again. These thaw freeze cycles with snow blown in to the gullies by strong SW winds are great for building up snow just where we want it. We have cornices building already and the thaws have certainly not stripped everything back again. I get the impression the ground has cooled down already - ice is starting to form where it often does such as on Hadrian's Wall Direct. There is by no means enough to climb on but it is a good sign for the coming winter. While we wait for the ice to come, rocky mixed climbing is very good fun. Routes such as Castle Ridge, Lost The Place and Slab Route can be great fun with snow on the rocks. No ice is required and the rocks are reasonably solid.
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