Scotland’s highest mountain has been shortlisted in a poll to choose the country's 'National Treasure'. Winning the vote could help secure £1M of funding needed to upgrade the heavily used tourist path, which is probably just about reason enough to take part.
The vote will nominate Scotland’s 'most popular' National Lottery funded project, a publicity stunt to help the lottery celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Ben Nevis is the only location in the Highlands in the top 12, and the only mountain. Most of the rest are buildings, from galleries to museums. It's a bit like comparing apples with oranges, and worse there's a nauseating celebrity 'national treasure' vote too. But if it helps fund path upgrades...
The John Muir Trust, which owns and manages the upper reaches of the mountain, is urging supporters and the wider outdoor community to vote for The Ben.
John Hutchison, Chairman of the John Muir Trust and an Executive Director of the Nevis Partnership, the local coalition which manages the mountain, said:
'Scotland has many treasures, from magnificent buildings to inspiring landscapes, but Ben Nevis stands above them all, literally and metaphorically.'
'It has been here longer than the human race and will still be here when we are long gone.'
'It’s a popular film location, hundreds of books have extolled its spectacular magic, its north face played a pivotal role in mountaineering history and the great Romantic poet John Keats even composed a poem on its summit.'
'This truly is Scotland’s National Treasure – and we’d urge everyone who has any affinity with the Highlands to back the Ben before the poll closes on Monday.'
Manager of the Nevis Partnership, Tristan Semple added:
'This is a unique opportunity to celebrate Ben Nevis as Scotland’s most cherished, popular and iconic natural asset. '
'Yet because it doesn’t lie within a National Park, it can’t access the associated funding – a situation which surprises many of our visitors.'
'Winning the title of Scotland’s National Treasure would greatly assist us in the challenge of raising the £1 million needed to maintain public access to this very special and much loved place.'
Votes can be cast on Facebook until midnight on Tuesday 27 May.