Plea over Ben Nevis hikers causing a stink on UK's highest mountain

Ben Nevis <i>(Image: PA Archive/PA Images)</i>
Ben Nevis (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

A leading mountain guide has urged action over the growing problem of human excrement being left on Ben Nevis.

Mike Pescod, of Abacus Mountain Guides, said he had recently discovered large amounts of toilet paper, poo and tampons at Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, one of the few areas where walkers can find shelter from the wind and other walker on the path.

The problem is said to be so servere that Jahama Highland Estates, a multi-business enterprise project, has reported its concerns to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Mr Pescod said it was time for a "matter of fact conversation" about the environmental impact of 150,000 people scaling the UK's highest peak every year.

He told the Lochaber Times: "It's past time that we all became a bit more comfortable talking about these things in order that we can lessen the mess we leave behind.

"The advice from Mountaineering Scotland is excellent, and as they say, in very busy places like Ben Nevis we need to carry out all our poo.

"Even if everyone buried their poo and took down the toilet paper, the impact would be too great, especially on the summit where there is no vegetation or mud to carry bacteria to digest and decompose everything."

He urged walkers to use 'Wag Bags' which are plastic bags containing a grainy material that absorbs fluids and starts to biodegrade anything inside.

He said: "The plastic bags are biodegradable and you even get toilet paper and anti-septic wipes in the kit.

"The main problem with this system is the thought of carrying your poo in your rucksack for the rest of the day.

"Here's my advice - get over it. It's only poo, we all produce it and all parents and dog owners get pretty adept and cleaning it up and wrapping it in a secure little package."

He said the disposable bags were used by teams involved in a major dark skies filming project, which took 250 people half-way up the mountain.

He added: "Our right of access is dependent on us behaving responsibly and this is one part of the responsible behaviour that is required of us."

A spokeswoman for SEPA said it was aware of concerns.