Published: 18/07/2012 15:57 - Updated: 18/07/2012 16:22

Appeal launched to save "Harry Potter" path

The John Muir Trust is appealing for donations to fund repairs on the Steall Gorge Path in Glen Nevis.
The John Muir Trust is appealing for donations to fund repairs on the Steall Gorge Path in Glen Nevis.

PRINCE Charles has walked along the mile-long, rocky, winding track.

So has Harry Potter.

And now conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) has launched a national appeal for a final £60,000 of funding to restore the classic Steall Gorge Footpath in Glen Nevis, near Fort William.

The magical trail winds through native woodland, at the foot of Ben Nevis – but still at an impressive height above the fast-flowing River Nevis waters – and opens out onto Steall Meadow.

The vista from there takes in views of An Steall Ban (The White Spout), the UK’s second highest waterfall.

It was here that “Harry Potter” fought a computer enhanced dragon in a memorable scene in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”.

Earlier this year, the JMT won £25,000 towards the upgrade after topping the voting in a contest organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association. The total cost is the project is £120,000, of which £60,000 is still required to complete the repairs.

Launching the appeal yesterday (Wednesday), Chris Goodman, the trust’s footpath project officer, said: “Every year, 40,000 people walk through the Gorge, from families on daytrips, to climbers tackling some of the more challenging routes up into Ben Nevis and across to the Mamores.

“But sections of the path are under serious threat of erosion, with some areas in danger of crumbling away completely.

“We’re asking climbers, walkers and anyone who loves wild places and mountain scenery to help us with this vital work to repair this great footpath, maintain access, protect the glen’s fragile habitats and prevent future erosion.”

Mountaineering author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish said: “Steall Gorge is a fantastic route into a stunning area of wild land – the sort of path that everyone should travel at least once in their lives.

“I’d urge anyone who loves the UK’s wild places to support the John Muir Trust’s appeal for funds to prevent its erosion.”

A quarter of a century ago, the Prince of Wales tackled the scenic track as guest of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team who were his hosts in Steall Bothy, the climbers’ hut at the end of the trail.

In front of a battery of press photographers and TV cameramen he then had to negotiate the “hands and heels” wire bridge across the River Nevis.

But once inside the bothy, the Prince was treated right royally – with a dram or two of the local Ben Nevis Distillery whisky, while seated on a leather armchair which team members had carried along the Steall Gorge Footpath especially for their guest.

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