TV presenter and outdoors fan Griff Rhys Jones has urged walkers across the UK to help fund footpath repair and maintenance work carried out by conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT).
'A walk in the wild is a way to discover, explore and reconnect with ourselves and our natural world' says Griff, whose BBC series Mountain probably did a lot to coax viewers outdoors.
But more boots on the ground means more path erosion, and the repair bill is an ongoing expense that can only be met through public donation.
'Please give today to help the John Muir Trust keep our wild places beautiful' he asks.
The JMT looks after over 120km of footpaths on land they own, from woodland and coastal trails to popular mountain routes on seven Munros and five Corbetts. These include the final zigzag to the summit of Ben Nevis, the Steall Gorge path in Glen Nevis, the four mile trail to remote Sandwood Bay, and the main routes up Bla Bheinn on Skye and Schiehallion in Perthshire.
The Trust also helps a number of community land trusts in the Western Isles, Knoydart and Assynt to maintain their own network of footpaths.
JMT footpath manager Chris Goodman said:
'It’s easy to take footpaths for granted, but the pressure of thousands of boots and gallons of rain can take its toll. Left untended, a delicate upland footpath can easily deteriorate into an ugly, waterlogged scar.'
'Pathwork can be tough work, often in difficult conditions in some of Scotland’s most remote, untamed places. We need to raise at least at £60,000 each and every year to pay for materials, transport, equipment, volunteer training and contractors. If people want to give something back to the places they love, a regular donation to the Wild Ways Appeal is the best way to do it.'
The Trust takes a 'proactive' approach to pathwork, they say, keeping costs low by anticipating and forestalling damage before it occurs. In contrast to some path building organisations the charity uses light-touch methods of maintenance, making sure that footpaths blend in subtly with the surrounding landscapes, with minimal disturbance to soils and vegetation. This can make for a more satisfying walk. After all, we don't generally go up hills to experience heavily engineered flat surfaces.
For more on the techniques and sheer hard graft that go into the John Muir Trust's path work see this short film.
For more on the techniques and sheer hard graft that go into the John Muir Trust's path work see this short film.OK it's a fundraising appeal, but it's a nice wee film too: