At the foot of Ben Nevis in Scotland is a mile-long, rocky, winding track that has attracted thousands of hikers, ramblers and even film crews. The classic Steall Gorge Footpath in Glen Nevis, near Fort William, was famously used in the fourth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where the young wizard was confronted by a massive dragon. However time has taken its toll of the pathway and now conservation charity, the John Muir Trust (JMT), has launched a national appeal for £60,000 of funding to restore it to its former glory.

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In the film, the first challenge of the Tri-Wizard Tournament was set against the dramatic landscape around Steall Falls at Glen Nevis, and saw Harry Potter chased into the gorge at Black Rock Gorge, Evanton, about 15 miles north of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It is a picturesque landscape that is very popular with tourists, many of whom follow the trail through the woodland, at the foot of the mountain. From there, they can see An Steall Ban (The White Spout), the UK’s second highest waterfall.

The JMT were earlier awarded £25,000 towards the upgrade after topping the voting in a contest organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association. However, the total cost is expected to reach £120,000, so another £60,000 is still required.

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.”

Speaking to the Lochaber News, 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.”

That goes for Harry Potter fans as well.

+ John Muir Trust

Via Lochaber News

Images: Warner Brothers and Ipoh kia