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An Teallach wins €60,000 European Outdoor Conservation Association grant

The EOCA grant has given a massive boost to the It’s Up to Us fundraising campaign for path renovation and habitat restoration works on one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains

It’s Up to Us, the three-year partnership conservation project from the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) and Mountaineering Scotland, has been awarded a €60,000 grant from The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). The path maintenance and habitat restoration project on An Teallach, the popular Munro above Dundonnell in Wester Ross, is one of four international conservation projects to receive a total of €180,000 in the charity’s latest funding round.

This generous grant brings the fundraising total for It’s Up to Us to over £200,000.  The current total, two-thirds of the £300,000 project budget, secures essential contract works on An Teallach until at least May 2025.

Surveying the badly eroded path on An Teallach – credit Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland

Duncan Bryden, Chair of the Outdoor Access Trust Scotland, said: “An Teallach – Gaelic for the (Blacksmith’s) Forge – towers alpine like above Little Loch Broom.  One of Scotland’s great mountains, it delivers a special mountaineering experience for many people. OATS are delighted and grateful that EOCA member companies recognise the mountain’s special needs and have given this fantastic award to the It’s Up to Us project to help restore paths for both people and nature. It is a great example of businesses from the outdoor sector giving back to wild places.”

EOCA is a charity organisation set up in 2006 by the European Outdoor Group (EOG) to enable businesses from the outdoor sector to work collectively together. It supports and funds a growing number of much-needed grassroots conservation, protection, and regeneration projects around the world (except in North America where The Conservation Alliance does similar work), protecting the wild places and wildlife everyone cares so much about.  Since 2006 EOCA has invested more than €5m in 194 projects in 65 countries throughout the world.

On their website EOCA highlights the only UK project to win a grant award in this round:  “It’s Up to Us will bring together those who care for mountains and conservation to help raise awareness and funds to fix the path erosion scars on An Teallach, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, through path restoration using natural local rock materials. The 1250m of upland path and 1300m of light touch path works will protect the hill from further loss of biodiversity and allow habitat recovery in the eroded area.  The project will use habitat restoration techniques to recover 4.95 acres of the lost upland peatland habitats.”

Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, said: “The award of this grant from EOCA is fantastic news. It makes a significant contribution to our fundraising target, but just as important to our campaign is to have an established European charity which has supported projects all over the world, recognise the value of the work being carried out on An Teallach to restore nature and protect the environment. I’d like to thank EOCA for their generous support and to everyone who voted for It’s Up to Us.”

Catherine Savidge, General Manager at EOCA, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the project ‘Its Up To Us! – An Teallach’ that Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland submitted to the European Outdoor Conservation Association for funding.  The project was chosen during a thorough selection process which took almost 6 months, finally being selected by EOCA member companies for funding. We very much look forward to hearing reports on how the work is progressing, protecting fragile habitats in this special area.”

Walkers on An Teallach – Credit Keith Bryers

Notes to Editors

It’s Up to Us – additional information

Many mountain users are unaware of the cost of path building and maintenance and both the lack of funds and the desperate need for investment in the repair and maintenance of informal mountain paths situated on land outside of Scotland’s national parks and NGO estates.

The It’s Up to Us campaign is targeting the Government, stakeholder agencies and organisations, outdoor businesses, and all path users who care deeply about Scotland’s hills and mountains, to raise awareness and ensure that essential funding for hill path repair and habitat restoration is recognised for its social, health and wellbeing, economic and environmental benefits, and to ensure Scotland’s outdoor access network remains fit for the future enjoyment of everyone.

European Outdoor Conservation Association grant award 2023

Following receipt of over 250 international project applications in June 2023, EOCA carried out a rigorous selection process to shortlist those which best matched its funding criteria in two separate categories – Forest and Wild Places – and which delivered the most impact on the ground. It’s Up To Us! was shortlisted in the Wild Places category, one of four projects all working to protect valuable biodiversity and precious habitats in wild places and landscapes around the world.  It was the only UK project to be shortlisted in this funding round.

The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is a charity organisation, set up in 2006 by the European Outdoor Group (EOG) to enable companies from the outdoor sector to work collectively together. It is funded by membership and other fundraising activities.

With over 150 members from the outdoor industry, EOCA supports and funds a growing number of much-needed grassroots conservation, protection, and regeneration projects around the world (except in North America where The Conservation Alliance does similar work), protecting the wild places and wildlife everyone cares so much about. Since 2006, when EOCA was set up, it has funded 194 projects in 65 countries, investing more than €5m.

Together with the organisations they support, EOCA is making a difference to threatened wild places, species and habitats.

EOCA funds projects which benefit biodiversity in a wild landscape. Projects must conserve, protect, enhance, restore, and/or reconnect habitats within a given landscape that is particularly important for the biodiversity there.

The biodiversity focus should also address the importance that EOCA places on the issue of climate change. Projects should ensure that the habitats being conserved are those that sequester carbon, reduce emissions, enable adaptations to climate change, and/or protect against further habitat and biodiversity loss.

It is also very important that the projects are beneficial to the local communities that live in, or near, these habitats. Projects should highlight how they encourage local stewardship of habitats, alleviate poverty, and support local ecosystem services, while at the same time, having a link to outdoor enthusiasts who value these precious wild spaces.

Details of current projects as well as all the other projects supported by EOCA and its members during 2023 can be found here: https://www.eocaconservation.org.

The Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) is a ground-breaking environmental charity.  We promote sustainable access – developing, building, and fixing upland and lowland paths, path networks, habitats and trailhead facilities, in popular, remote, and fragile places. We do this to support outdoors enthusiasts, land managers and local communities, and promote the health and wellbeing benefits of path use. 

We are at the forefront of developing partnerships to finance conservation projects, collaborating with others to make Scotland’s outdoor access network fit for the future, and bringing people together to learn how to make places that matter better for all.

Web: www.outdooraccesstrustforscotland.org.ukTwitter: @OATScot | Facebook:  @OATScot | Instagram: @OATScot

Mountaineering Scotland is the membership and representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers in Scotland, with a membership of over 16,000 individual and club members and 150 affiliated clubs.

Our aim is to inspire and encourage people to enjoy the benefits of walking, climbing and ski touring and provide guidance and skills training to mountain users to promote safety, self-reliance and responsible access in Scotland’s mountains and climbing venues.

Web: www.mountaineering.scot

Twitter: @Mountain_Scot |Facebook: @MountaineeringScotland | Instagram: @mountaineeringscotland

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