In this May 2000 file photograph, sheep graze at the base of Ben Nevis in Scotland. Photo: Lisa Marie Pane (AP)
A few years ago, instead of leading my best friend and I through a lovely and picturesque Spanish mountain trail, Google Maps took us to an isolated field with some cows. While I learned then not trust the internet when it comes to nature, it appears that an increasing number of visitors to the Scottish mountain Ben Nevis continue to do so, which could endanger their lives.
In recent days, the United Kingdom conservation charity John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Scotland, the national representative body for mountaineering, hillwalking, climbing, and snow sports touring, have warned that hiking routes to Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain at 4,412 feet (1,345 meters), provided by mapping apps could put people at risk. The organizations specifically cited a route being provided on Google Maps, which directs users to a car park at the head of Glen Nevis.
The app proceeds to display a dotted line that appears to show the path to the top of the mountain, according to the John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Scotland. They stated that this path appears depending on how someone searches for the route, noting that it pops up when users click on the car option in Google Maps.
“Even the most experienced mountaineer would have difficulty following this route,” Heather Morning, Mountaineering Scotland’s mountain safety adviser, said in a news statement. “The…