The core work of OATS path-building has been based on a series of projects, using funds from multiple sources including our own donations and income, to enhance the footpath network of particular areas.
OATS will conceive and develop a scheme, getting partners on board and levering in funding to ensure success. Our project managers and path designers then work with a trusted team of contractors and workers to produce appropriate and durable paths.
SKYE ICONIC SITES PROJECT
In 2018 OATS teamed up with Skye Connect (Skye’s destination management organisation), Staffin Trust and Minginish Community Hall Association, Highland Council, and the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (the principal landowner), to form The Skye Iconic Sites Partnership.
The aim of this informal collaborative alliance has been to improve visitor experience and achieve sustainable management of remote but popular locations on Skye which are suffering as a result of the huge growth of tourism at the island’s iconic landmarks.
The Skye Iconic Sites Project (SISP), currently OATS’ biggest project, is addressing the lack of tourist infrastructure and interpretation at three of Skye’s busiest destinations, the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Fairy Pools, and improving the visitor experience for a wider range of people.
The work includes developing new paths, bridges, and viewpoints, and restoring existing paths and surrounding habitat damaged by the huge increase in visitors in recent years. Information points and signage will provide a programme of coordinated interpretation.
SISP has a total budget of just under £1 million. It received £650,516 from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Additional partnership funding came from OATS (£98,793), Scottish Government Rural Payments Inspections Division (SGRPID) (£150,000), the Minginish Community Hall Association (£20,000), and Highland Council (£10,000).
NCHF is part of the Scottish Government’s current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, which runs through to 2023.
ADOPT A PATH
Adopt A Path is a flagship volunteering initiative of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland. It lets people who are passionate about Scotland’s outdoors become custodians of some of our most important upland paths, and conserve fragile landscapes.
There are paths available for adoption in both Cairngorm and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national parks. Some are long or remote, others short and accessible.
OTHER SKYE PROJECTS
Unique working and funding partnerships on The Isle of Skye come to fruition.
OATS is now at the forefront of developing partnership solutions to find new sources of income for the conservation of upland and lowland paths and surrounding habitats, and sustainable public access at popular trail heads.
THE MOUNTAINS AND THE PEOPLE
The Mountains And The People is the biggest mountain footpath project ever undertaken in the UK, and has been inspired, initiated, planned and built by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS).
The project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is in partnership with Scotland’s two national park Authorities, Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Forestry and Land Scotland and NatureScot.
THE CAIRNGORMS MOUNTAIN HERITAGE PROJECT
The Cairngorms Mountain Heritage Project transformed paths in the high mountains at the core of the Cairngorms National Park, one of the most important mountain recreation areas in Scotland, between 2011 and 2014.
The Cairngorm mountains’ importance to us is matched by their fragility, so CMH had to enable access while protecting the landscape. It improved and upgraded eroded routes, and set up the Adopt A Path scheme and a maintenance regime to ensure the paths’ future, while educating and informing people about the project, and, crucially, training the workforce of the future.
EASTERN CAIRNGORMS ACCESS PROJECT
The Eastern Cairngorms Access Project (ECAP) was a £2.5 million programme of high-quality access improvements in the mountains and glens of Angus and Upper Deeside between 2003 and 2006.