Littlehouse Media

Campaign to save Scotland’s mountain paths raises over £218,000 in first year

It’s Up to Us urges all those who care about the hills and mountains to step up and help campaign reach the £300k target.

Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) are delighted to announce that their joint campaign, It’s Up To Us, has raised over £218,000 of the £300,000 target for essential mountain path repairs since the campaign was launched one year ago.

The initial stage of the campaign is focused on repairing 3.2km of badly eroded path on An Teallach, one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains. Path contractors from Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts (CWC) have completed 340m of path building and maintenance work on the mountain, funded by the campaign and supported by a team of enthusiastic path maintenance volunteers.

The three-year It’s Up to Us campaign, supported by Cotswold Outdoor, has received generous donations from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), and other charitable trusts (£154,858), a major private donor (£25,000), the general public (£24,996), commercial donations (£7,550) and mountaineering and hillwalking clubs (£5,900).

As the campaign enters its second year, Mountaineering Scotland and OATS are issuing a further appeal to all hill path users, outdoor and conservation businesses, organisations, and charities who care deeply about the conservation of the hills they use and love to support the campaign and help them reach the £300,000 required to complete the An Teallach project.

CEO of the Outdoor Access Trust Scotland CEO, Dougie Baird, said: “It has been an encouraging start to the It’s Up To Us fundraising campaign, with a great response from charitable trusts in particular. We are hugely grateful for all our individual public donors and will be encouraging other hill users to follow their fine example in the coming year to help fix the badly eroded path on this iconic mountain.”

Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, added: “It’s been great to see the progress we have made over the last year since launching It’s Up to Us. Many thanks to all the people and organisations who have either contributed financially, helped us to raise awareness of the campaign or volunteered to repair the path on An Teallach.”

The campaign is also calling on the Government to help develop a sustainable funding model for building and maintenance work across Scotland’s upland path network to ensure it is kept fit for purpose for future generations to enjoy. Walking tourism is estimated to be worth around 1.6 billion per year to the Scottish economy. However, there is no government funding for path work on privately owned land [83% of paths in Scotland] that is not in the two national parks or NGO estates. Post-Brexit, EU funding that was previously accessible to private landowners has been lost and not replaced.

Stuart Younie added: “We are very grateful for all the support we have received and are well on our way to reaching our target but there is still a lot more to do to deliver our ambition of establishing a sustainable funding model to support the maintenance and upkeep of our mountain paths. An Teallach is one of many mountains in Scotland that needs our support and it’s up to all of us to do something about it.”

Ends

Images

A selection of images from the first year of the campaign are available to download for use with this article here.

For further information, interviews and quotes please contact:

  • Fiona McNicol, Communications Officer, Mountaineering Scotland.E: [email protected] | 01738 493941
  • Paddy Cuthbert, Littlehouse Media, Communication Consultant for the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland. E: [email protected] | 07913 951717

Notes to Editors:

What is the It’s Up to Us campaign?

It’s Up to Us is a joint campaign by Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) to raise awareness of the desperate need for sustainable investment in the repair and maintenance of informal upland paths across Scotland, to protect the fragile mountain environment from the combination of increased footfall and the extremes of Scottish weather and ensure it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

The three strands of It’s Up To Us:

  • To highlight the need for sustainable investment into the repair and upkeep of Scotland’s upland path network, the valuable contribution paths make to our nation’s health and wellbeing, and the value of walking tourism to the Scottish economy and local communities throughout the country.
    • The annual economic impact of walking tourism is £1.6 billion (VisitScotland estimate)
    • A recent Upland Paths Audit suggested £30m is required for building and restoring over 400 km of the path network and at least £400,000/annum for maintenance
  • To engage with Government, stakeholder agencies and organisations, businesses, individual and commercial users, private landowners, and all path users to develop a long-term, integrated, and sustainable funding model, improving access to investment into Scotland’s  upland paths.
    • Currently in Scotland, the limited funding for mountain path maintenance and habitat restoration is earmarked for paths on land in the two national parks or NGO estates.
    • There is no public investment from the government to support path work on privately owned land not in the national parks or NGO estates
    • Since Brexit access to European funding (an estimated £7m in recent years) has been lost with nothing to replace it.
  • Fundraising for specific path restoration projects, to encourage all hill users, to give something back and demonstrate what can be achieved with the support of the mountain community. £300,000 is currently being raised for a project to repair 3.2km of badly eroded path on An Teallach, in the North West Highlands, one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) in private ownership with no access to public funding.

The work of Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts on An Teallach

Path contractors from Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts (CWC) have so far completed 340m of path building and maintenance work on An Teallach. This includes 75m of stone pitching and 265m of aggregate path, nine anchor bars and 35 step risers (stone features used to prevent aggregate material being washed away), and 13 waterbars, 14 cross drains and about 45m of stone revetment (features to improve path drainage). They have dug approximately 120 tonnes of aggregate from borrow pits on site and gathered some 94 tonnes of rock from the surrounding hillside. By using local materials, sourced directly on site the visual impact of the new path is greatly reduced and in just a short time it will blend seamlessly into the local landscape. All of this has been done entirely by hand, with some of the stones used on the path, weighing up to one tonne each, moved into place using a winch operated manually. Additional ditching work and habitat restoration on the site will encourage long term natural habitat regeneration and encourage hill users to stick to the path.

Mountaineering Scotland

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  

Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland

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.

OATS runs an annual path maintenance volunteer programme. To date, ten enthusiastic path maintenance volunteers have supported CWC on An Teallach, not only contributing to the long-term conservation of the path and surrounding habitat but also gaining valuable path maintenance knowledge and practical path building, rock moving and ditching skills.

Web: www.outdooraccesstrustforscotland.org.uk |Twitter: @OATScot Facebook:  @OATScot | Instagram: @OATScot

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