New ways for national park Munros – work starts on £100,000 project to restore popular hill paths

Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps

A £100,000 appeal to fund much needed repairs to Scottish hill paths has reached its target and work has now started on one of two major projects.

The Mend Out Mountains: Make One Million appeal, which has run over the last year, is headed by the BMC UK-wide and Mountaineering Scotland north of the border, and aims to raise up to £1 million for pathwork in each of the UK’s national parks. In Scotland the target was £100,000 for work in the Cairngorms National Park and the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

Skilled pathworkers began work in April on the badly eroded path up Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps, in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

£40,000 of the Scottish total has been allocated for work which is expected to take eight months to complete, finishing in November.Work on the other project, the unsightly scar of the path up Beinn a Ghlo in the southern Cairngorms, is due to start in June and will take four months, with completion scheduled for September. Work on the Beinn a Ghlo path, which has for years been an eroded trench visible from the A9, will cost £60,000.

All the pathwork is being overseen and coordinated by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland.

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.”

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.”