Following a win last year in a European-wide online poll that netted £18,000 towards the restoration of the Suilven footpath (see UKH news here), the John Muir Trust (JMT) has launched a wider public appeal to raise the balance of funding.
The area is increasingly popular with visitors, say the Trust, and this combined with its fragile soils and harsh maritime climate means that the most popular approach to Suilven, from Glencanisp, is rapidly deteriorating. The JMT plan to restore a bady eroded 2.5km stretch of the heavily-trodden trail. Their aim is both to help conserve the fragile habitat and improve public access to the remote peak, a mountain for which the word iconic could have been invented.
'The most magical walk I have ever known was on Suilven' said Sir Chris Bonington, speaking on behalf of the appeal.
'It is a very special place, in a wonderful setting, and I urge the public to back this important path restoration project.'
Path work on Suilven, which is expected to total around £200,000, will be carried out by the John Muir Trust and the Assynt Foundation, the community group that owns the peak, under the umbrella of the Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape (CALL) Partnership.
The John Muir Trust is now hoping to raise an additional £50,000 via a public appeal, which is key to triggering the release of the remaining funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage to meet the total project cost. They'd like work to start as soon as possible.
The Trust is hoping for donations from many of the 6000-plus people who voted in the online poll last October, which was hosted by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), a not-for-profit organisation which works with 120 affiliated members from across the European outdoor industry to give something back to the environment. The project was nominated for the EOCA vote by Berghaus.
- You can find out more or make a donation to the appeal at www.johnmuirtrust.org/suilven