Published 6th November 2015, 20:27

    WE’VE got armchair football, golf, boxing and virtually every other sport under the sun so I suppose it was inevitable mountaineering would join the list.

    Ben Nevis is the setting for a new virtual reality game, Oculus Rift, created by, of all people, Ordnance Survey.

    They have also launched a VR tour of the mountain to help those who are have never been there to enjoy the views from the summit.

    Some may suggest that some of the OS mapping already contains elements of virtual reality but that would just be unkind.

    But this move has raised concerns from the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team that it may encourage even more ill-prepared parties to have a go at climbing our highest peak. They already have their work cut out with the flip-flop brigade, so any extra interest of the wrong kind is bound to raise concerns.

    No doubt this VR tour is a wonderful tool for anyone housebound or simply unable to get out and enjoy our great outdoors. It may also stimulate some who want to start walking the hills to learn good practice rather than rely on electronic devices.

    But I reckon the MRT can rest easy - it’s highly unlikely we will suddenly see thousands of couch potatoes decide that leaving the comfort of their recliners to go and slog their way up more than 4,000 feet in the wind and rain is a good idea. For some immersed in gaming, it takes maximum effort just to walk a few yards into the kitchen for a drink or snack.

    Let’s face it, one of the biggest booms on TV over the past ten years or so has been in cookery programmes, but that has been dwarfed by the number of takeaway meals being delivered, so either all these would-be chefs are working in fast food restaurants or watching these programmes is just making people hungrier.

    After all, if you’ve just spent the last three hours watching great meals being produced, there’s not much time left to actually make anything for yourself, is there? All that effort - no thanks, I’ll just phone for a pizza.

    There were similar concerns when cyclist Danny MacAskill was performing stunts up on Skye’s Cuillin ridge. Some MRT members feared that every idiot with a BMX would soon be heading up into the most dangerous terrain in the country to try to emulate their hero.

    So far, that hasn’t happened, but their trepidation was based on experience at The Fairy Pools where call-outs increased after social media sites extolled the virtues, but not the dangers, of diving head-first into deep gorges.

    Of course, the OS could head this off at the pass by providing a bit of balance. Fair enough to have a VR tour showing the best of Ben Nevis in clear weather, but they should also have a companion piece - a reality reality tour if you like - in which the experience sees you spending the whole time in zero visibility being battered by gale force winds and driving rain.

    They could also show what happens if you go wandering off the summit in the wrong direction. Game over, man.

    But I suspect that now the ball has been set in motion, we are heading down the road to a virtual reality tour for every Munro.

    Just think of it, 282 mountains climbed without leaving your living room. And a perfect view on every one.