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The piano that went up a mountain and stayed

/ Source: The Associated Press

Volunteers tidying up Britain's highest mountain have found a piano near the summit, a conservation group said Wednesday.

The instrument was discovered over the weekend under a pile of stones near the top of 4,418-foot Ben Nevis, according to the John Muir Trust, which owns part of the Scottish mountain.

"Our guys couldn't believe their eyes," trust director Nigel Hawkins said. "At first they thought it was just the wooden casing, but then they saw the whole cast iron frame complete with strings.

"The only thing that was missing was the keyboard, and that's another mystery," Hawkins said.

A cookie wrapper with an expiration date of Dec. 12, 1986, was found underneath the piano, suggesting it may have been there for 20 years.

Hawkins said he suspected the piano was carried up as part of a charity fund-raising effort by a group that decided it was easier to bury it under a pile of stones, or cairn, than carry it back down.

"People have played rugby up there, and someone drove up a herd of llamas," Hawkins said. "It does attract a lot of wacky things."

Volunteers, who were also clearing trash left by some 120,000 people who visit the mountain every year, have broken up the piano and carried down the pieces.