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Trust in Steall conservation appeal

Posted 5 March 2012
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Frequent visitors to the area around Fort William and Ben Nevis will know that there is far more to do in walking boots than climbing Britain's highest mountain.

For one thing, this is one of four peaks in the area towering over 4,000 ft above sea level, with the fjord-like intrusion of Loch Linnhe providing ample proof of this.

But there is also the Mamores range further along Glen Nevis, with Stob Ban and Sgurr a'Mhaim forming the backdrop to Braveheart - the film, that is, not his real life in the Lowlands. 

Sgurr a'Mhaim is one of the Ring of Steall, a cluster of four Munros that also includes Am Bodach, Stop Coire a'Chairn and An Gearanach. The circular route also includes Sgurr an Iubhair, formerly a Munro but reclassified as a subsidiary top in 1997.

The other end of this includes a steep descent (or ascent) between An Gearanach and the Steall area itself, named after the ruined old homestead.

It is a spot that includes the spectacular An Steall Ban (Falls of Steall), the second highest waterfall in Britain, along with the wild, wooded gorge downstream through which the waters of Nevis cascade between rocks in a spectacular series of plunges that are hard to see but easy to hear as they roar violently on their way to the valley floor.

This place is owned by the John Muir Trust and the organisation has asked its members to vote for it to be the recipient of a £25,000 grant from the European Outdoor Conservation Association, with competition provided by other worthy projects on the continent.

Its concern is that the well-used path in the gorge is also becoming very worn. This may be of considerable concern as it is risky in places - as noted by a warning sign down at the bottom - and the need for maintenance and repair cash is "desperate", according to the Trust.

The money may be highly useful in preserving this area, one in which the Trust also looks after the Steall Bridge, a wire contraption that snapped in 2010 and needed repairing.

But to keep the ring of Steall - including its wire bits - open as a single route, winning the competition could be vital. That way one of Scotland's most attractive beauty spots may remain easy to reach for casual visitors to hardcore Munroists alike.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801310166-ADNFCR