Path Map

OATS welcomes Ewan Watson, the new Outdoor Access Projects Officer

The Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) is delighted to welcome Ewan Watson, an experienced mountain path project manager and conservation specialist from Inverness to the team as the Outdoor Access Project Officer for the environmental charity. Ewan has spent many years as an upland footpath builder and contract supervisor and has solid experience in forestry management and construction.


His key roles in this full-time post include coordinating, managing and delivering the organisation’s popular annual path maintenance volunteer programme and ensuring the effective management and delivery of several access projects managed by OATS.


In his recent role as Harvesting & Marketing Worksite Supervisor for Forestry and Land Scotland, he was responsible for delivering millions of pounds worth of timber revenue across ten harvesting sites.  He had to liaise with contractors and local community groups and ensure that contractors were strictly managing site conditions to minimise environmental impact while adhering to health and safety policy.  Site monitoring, writing and reviewing risk assessments and project planning were also key to this role.


From October 2015 to January 2023, Ewan worked as a path builder and Contract Supervisor with Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts, one of Scotland’s leading mountain footpath and conservation specialists.  Under Ewan’s stewardship, the path contractor undertook some of the largest hand-built footpath projects in the country, including Cairn Liath (Beinn a’ Ghlo), Ben More and The Old Man of Storr on Skye for OATS.


To ensure the challenging work on steep and remote terrain in gruelling weather conditions was completed on schedule, the CWC contracts had to be effectively managed, with risk assessments and team health and safety policy a high priority. Liaising with other contractors, including for the use of helicopters to transport materials, logistics planning and training and monitoring new team members were all vital to his successful project management.


Working in Scotland’s mountains is fraught with many challenges, but it is an environment in which Ewan feels extremely comfortable. He has drawn on his personal experiences from his many hillwalking, running, mountain biking and climbing adventures to manage teams and projects safely and effectively.  Being an active member of the Kintail Mountain Rescue Team has helped to develop his self-confidence and his teamwork and communication skills, whilst building self-sufficiency and a keen eye for mountain safety.


Ewan also regularly volunteers, helping to build and maintain local mountain bike trails and organise litter picks of the local area.