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Scottish Mountain Path Project Awarded £100,000

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

A new partnership between the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) and Mountaineering Scotland has been awarded a Diamond Grant of £100,000 by the Scottish Mountain Trust (SMT). The funds will go towards the It’s Up To Us campaign to raise awareness and restore eroded mountain paths in Scotland.

The campaign aims to develop a new funding model to repair and maintain Scotland’s mountain paths, which have suffered through loss of European and Government funding.

John Fowler, Chair of the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, said: “There were a number of worthy bids for the Diamond Grant, but the Trustees were really impressed by the ground-breaking approach that OATS and Mountaineering Scotland have come up with.”

He added: “Their imaginative funding model to support our paths will have a major impact on Scotland's mountain community for many years to come. Using the repair of the path on the iconic An Teallach as the prototype is a great idea as it is such a large and important project. We look forward to working with them going forward.”

Scotland is world renowned for its stunning mountainscapes, lochs, and glens. The Highland area attracts thousands of walkers every year, from complete amateurs to some of the world’s most experienced mountaineers. However many people are not aware of the amount of work and investment required to keep the paths in good condition.

Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, explained: “Scotland’s informal hill and mountain path network plays a vital role in helping us to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of being active outdoors, which was never more evident than during the pandemic.”

He added: “Active tourism also makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and to local communities across the highlands.”

“Our access may be free from charges, but it does come at a cost, and we need to recognise the cumulative impact of recreational activity on our landscape and do something positive to address it so it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.”

The £100,000 grant is earmarked for improvements to the eroded paths of An Teallach, a popular ridge scramble in the northwestern Highlands.

CEO of the Outdoor Access Trust Scotland, Dougie Baird, explained: “We no longer have access to European funding, which has provided significant support for path and habitat restoration projects in the past, with no funding from the government to replace it.”

“The ‘It’s Up to Us’ project will be vital in showing that mountaineers and conservationists can come together to solve the problems at An Teallach and other mountains on private land, whilst also highlighting the desperate need for government support for this type of work in the future.”

An Teeallach is regarded as a Grade 3 scramble by the British Mountaineering Council, although it is possible to ascend the ridge while avoiding the steeper pinnacles. For those who attempt the full ridge, it is advised to be experienced at using ropes and harnesses to safely manoeuvre over the most difficult sections.

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