Sculptures highlight mountain festival
ANYONE driving on Fort William’s bypass recently will have noticed a large ice axe sculpture on the old town pier.
The 15-foot axe is the first of four giant sculptures planned to promote Fort William Mountain Festival 2017 which launched last night ( Wednesday February 15).
The display aims to inform locals and visitors about the importance of Ben Nevis in the evolution of climbing. Each will have an information board alongside it highlighting the links between the axes, the town and mountain climbing history.
Andy Nisbet, Simon Richardson, Hamish McInnes and Ian Sykes are providing insights on the most significant periods of the climbing history of Ben Nevis and agreed these four axes represent the most influential moments.
The axes featured will be the long T-shape wooden shafted axe Harold Raeburn used to climb the Ben’s Green Gulley for the first time in 1907; ice climbing master Jimmy Marshall’s short wooden shafted axe from his first step cutting ascent of the Ben in 1960; Hamish MacInnes’ pioneering Terrordactyl metal shafted ice axe with inclined pick; and a modern leashless ice axe used by Dave McLeod when he completed the first winter climb of ‘Anubis’.
The artist behind the Tin Man sculpture that formerly sat on the pier is creating the large axes and there has been support from Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and Fort William Town Team.
The mountain festival will feature themed evenings, starting with climbing night tonight, running and bike night on Friday, back country ski-ing night on Saturday along with a book festival and a talk by Sir Chris Bonnington, also on Saturday.
Mountain Festival chairman Mike Pescod beside one of the giant Ice Axe.