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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
New memorial for mountain deaths
The memorial garden at the foot of Ben Nevis

A garden at the foot of Ben Nevis has been dedicated to the memory of all those who have died or been commemorated on the mountain.

The memorial, which was unveiled on Sunday, has been created to help compensate for the eventual removal of individual plaques from the mountain.

The Nevis Partnership said the policy would safeguard the area's wild beauty.

A book of remembrance is also being made available online at www.nevispartnership.co.uk.

The group, which represents all the mountain's owners and associated organisations, said the 50 or so plaques would remain on the summit for a short period in the hope that anyone who wished to lay claim to them would come forward.

Once the memorials are removed from the Ben they will be kept for a further five years.

Your opinions on removing Ben Nevis memorials

Paddy Burn, whose friend Brendan O'Hare from Belfast died on the mountain, said the policy to remove plaques was insensitive and distressing.

"They weren't interfering with anyone, they weren't hindering anyone," he said.

"It's very sad that something we took the time, energy and effort to do and for the reason that it was left behind, that somebody should now come and disregard it like a piece of rubbish."

The Nevis Partnership said it hoped the garden, near the Glen Nevis visitor centre, would offer a peaceful setting in an area of scenic beauty for people wishing to remember loved ones.

Jim Ness
Jim Ness performed the ceremony to open the memorial garden

The book of remembrance will be available to anyone who wants to commemorate the loss of someone who had some association with Ben Nevis during their lifetime.

Jim Ness, a former member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue team, who performed the opening ceremony, said: "There comes a time when proliferation in a relatively small area - such as the summit of Ben Nevis - becomes intrusive.

"The odd little piece of remembrance on Ben Nevis doesn't present a problem to anyone, but when everybody wants to do it, it creates a very serious problem.

"People go to the summit of Ben Nevis and it's a great day out for them - it's going to be one of the achievements of their lives.

"And those people don't want to be walking in what might be termed a cemetery."

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