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Issue 27 - Charity is the key

Scotland Magazine Issue 27
June 2006


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Charity is the key

Volunteers clearing rubbish from the summit of Ben Nevis were in for a bit of a shock when they uncovered a piano under a pile of stones.

The discovery was made when a clean-up team from the John Muir Trust, the conservation organisation that owns most of the mountain, were clearing unnecessary cairns off the summit plateau.

“Our guys couldn’t believe their eyes,” said Trust director Nigel Hawkins. “At first they thought it was just the wooden casing – but then they saw the whole cast iron frame complete with strings.” The mystery sparked worldwide media attention and eventually was solved.

All the evidence confirms that the piano taken up the 4,418 ft mountain by a group of 24 removal men from Dundee during the summer of 1986.

Mike Clark, of Dundee, said: “We did the exploit to raise money for the cystic fibrosis charity and also to try to get in the Guinness Book of Records. We decided to break up the piano and carry it down in pieces but we couldn’t smash up the cast iron frame and it was too cold to touch. So we built a cairn of rocks around it and left it there.”