Ben Nevis Observatory

The footpath and observatory were both constructed during the summer of 1883. The contractor vas James McLean of Fort William. The last rise on to the summit is named McLean's Steep in his honour. The observatory although normally opened on Wednesday, October 17th 1883 did not start operating until November 28th. The observatory, was built to record "The diversity of the mountain environment" e.g. temperature, wind speed, rainfall, air pressure, etc. During 1902 it became apparent that insufficient funds were available to continue the running of the observatory, and it was closed on October 1st 1904. Although one room of the keepers hostel was opened during the summer months as a small refreshment room. This continued until 1916. The observatory fell into disrepair, this process being helped by a fire during 1932 and the actions of both weather and unthinking climbers.

Some time after the observatory started operating, a Fort William hotelier opened a small hostel/hotel connected to the main building, this was run by two local ladies on his behalf. This hotel continued receiving guests right until the end of the First World War. There were four bedrooms available at ten shillings per person, dinner, bed and break-fast.


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