A £100,000 appeal to fund repairs to two badly worn Scottish hill paths has reached its target. Work has now started on one of the projects, and will be underway shortly on the other.
The Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal, headed by the BMC UK-wide and Mountaineering Scotland north of the border, aims to raise up to £1 million for path work in each of the UK's national parks. In Scotland the target was £100,000 for work in the Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Skilled path workers began work in April on the badly eroded trail up Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps. £40,000 of the Scottish total has been allocated for work here, which is expected to take eight months to complete, finishing in November.
Work on the other project, the unsightly erosion scar of the path up Beinn a' Ghlo in the southern Cairngorms, which is clearly visible to hill-goers driving north on the A9, is due to start in June. This will take four months, with completion scheduled for September, and will cost £60,000.
- If you fancy causing some trail erosion of your own, the round of Beinn a' Ghlo comes highly recommended. See our Route Card
All the work is being overseen and coordinated by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland.
Dougie Baird, CEO of Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, said: "These are two of the most eroded paths in the UK, and repairing the damage will be so important for both the landscape and the visitor experience. With public funds under so much pressure, it was important that the public support this type of work and we are delighted that those who care for the mountains took this opportunity to give something back.''
Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer and lead for the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal, said: "A few scruffy paths might not sound like a big problem, but the consequences of path erosion can be really serious. Without intervention these scars can grow to 30 metres or more across – as wide as a motorway. That scarring can endanger rare vegetation or wildlife, disturb habitats, expose carbon-capturing peat or harm the health of waterways.
It is fantastic that these repair projects can now go ahead having smashed their targets, and it is testament to the great affinity so many people have for the Scottish landscape, both in Scotland and beyond."
Donations came from all quarters during the year-long appeal, including individuals, climbing and walking clubs, and organisations. A grant of £26,500 came from the European Outdoor Conservation Association, and £20,000 from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, as well as £10,000 from the BFMF. And pupils from Loretto School in Musselburgh celebrated their own connection with Beinn a' Ghlo by raising £1500 through climbs of Beinn a' Ghlo and Arthur's Seat, and a sponsored abseil in Fife.
Stuart Younie, Chief Executive of Mountaineering Scotland said: "This has been a great project to raise funds for badly needed path restoration projects on two very popular mountains. It's fantastic to see so many people getting outdoors enjoying the countryside and the benefits of getting physically active but one of the unfortunate legacies is the wear and tear on our hill paths and tracks. I'd like to thank everyone in the outdoors community who has embraced our collective responsibility to help look after the hills and been involved supporting Mend our Mountains."