Welshman earns title of 'Rob the Rubbish' for cleaning up Ben Nevis

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The Independent Online

When it comes to public service some people have higher ideals than others.

Ashamed by the environmental damage caused by litterbugs on Britain's highest mountain, Robin Kevan, a retired social worker, drove hundreds of miles to tackle the problem single-handed.

Now the 60-year-old Welshman, who spent two days cleaning up litter from the slopes of Ben Nevis in the Highlands of Scotland, has earned the affectionate nickname of "Rob the Rubbish". Mr Kevan, of Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, managed to fill six refuse sacks of waste during his 48-hour operation more than 2,000 feet up the mountain. He is already well known around the streets of his home town, officially the smallest in Britain with just 600 residents, for getting up at dawn every morning to clean the litter from the streets.

But he decided to change the focus of his cleaning spree when he heard a report on BBC Radio Five Live about the problem on Ben Nevis.

The waste that Mr Kevan collected from the main access route to the peak of the 4,406ft mountain included glass bottles, plastic goods, paper tissues, a discarded first-aid kit and a tent sack full of wet clothing. "I'm a 'doer'. I just get up and do things so I decided just to go," he said.

"It took me about eight hours to drive up there. When I got there I passed so many walkers and visitors from other countries who couldn't believe how bad the litter problem was. They all complained to me about the mess at the top."

Mr Kevan now wants see the mountain, which is climbed by about 7,000 people a year, cleaned more regularly. Voluntary clean-up operations are organised by groups such as the Lochaber Mountain rescue team and the John Muir Trust Conservation, but it is not enough to turn the tide of filth. He now has his sights set on a similar project a little closer to home on the slopes of Snowdon.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland called Mr Kevan's clean-up "a really selfless act". A spokesman said: "If other people had that sort of motivation it would not take long to clear Ben Nevis."

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