As an environmental charity promoting sustainable public access throughout Scotland, the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) innovates, develops and implements path building, habitat regeneration and other outdoor access projects.
It’s not just about teams on the ground shifting sods and rocks: our projects must satisfy diverse interests, from land managers to outdoors enthusiasts to local communities, while protecting and enhancing the natural environmental heritage.
OATS was originally known as Upper Deeside Access Trust and then as Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust. The change to OATS – in 2017 – reflects the growth and expansion of our activities to take in the whole of Scotland, including our success in delivering outdoor access-related projects in both of Scotland’s National Parks and surrounding areas.
We are funded by a mixture of grants from charitable trusts, Government departments, the Heritage Lottery Fund and, increasingly, revenue from our parking developments at some of the most popular access sites in Scotland, such as the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye.
Our core staff consists of a management team led by CEO Dougie Baird, an administrator, and operatives at the car parks. Work on the ground is carried out by a well-established and highly experienced group of contractors and volunteers, many of whom have learned their skills on our schemes: they are the lifeblood of OATS.
As a charity we are overseen by a board made up of respected outdoors activists and experts who are an invaluable source of advice, help and inspiration.
Our subsidiary, OATS Trading Ltd, is the company that collects parking charges and carries out consultancy work. All surpluses raised through OATS Trading PLC are donated to OATS the charity.