Any organisation considering a path project can call on our skills as consultants. This work can range from path conditions surveys to overseeing civil engineering works to developing a training programme for path-builders, combining our construction know-how with our conservation expertise and ability to develop the workforce of the future.
Consultancy work on mountain and community paths, and strategic routes, is carried out through our subsidiary, OATS Trading Ltd. All surpluses earned by the company are ploughed back into OATS for building and repairing paths and trailhead facilities.
Our consultancy work includes :
- Path condition surveys
- Path specification
- Path feasibility studies
- Route planning
- Contract management
- Developing and delivering training
- Expert witness services
We recently completed a tailor-made training course for path-builders on MacGillicuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains. Path erosion has emerged as a problem there more recently than in Scotland, and there has been limited skill or knowledge of path restoration.
After stepping in to provide Scottish contractors and know-how to a project in Donegal, it was felt the way forward for the Irish path-building sector was to develop their own skills and infrastructure.
As a result we trained eight local people in all the major aspects of path construction, including aggregate path-making, machine building, and light-touch repairs.
The scheme, run for the South Kerry Development Company, resulted in repairs for key paths in the Reeks, and a workforce who can fix more paths and pass on their skills to others.
For Highland council we designed a path scheme for the heavily-visited Old Man of Storr site on Skye and are managing the project to completion. We have taken on the same roles in Dumfriesshire with the much-used path to the summit of Criffel. The £210,000 project is funded by the Scottish Government through VisitScotland and will see a 1.3km path developed up the hill with improved parking and signage.
Close to Edinburgh we have just carried out a conditions survey on all the paths in the Pentlands, popular with city-based walkers. This will enable the city council to prioritise which paths to repair.
For the Cairngorms National Park authority we have designed and project managed the extension of the Speyside Way from Tromie to Ruthven, similar in many ways to the construction of a new small road. The main length of the Speyside Way had been built as a project created and run by OATS the charity.
For community path projects we carry out feasibility studies and manage subsequent schemes. We recently designed and managed construction in Nethy Bridge near Aviemore of 1km of path, bridge and boardwalk for Scottish Natural Heritage and the local Community Council. At Huntly in Aberdeenshire we designed and managed a scheme to create 1.2 km of paths connecting to an eco-bothy for Huntly and District Development Trust.