Path repairers have already got stuck in to the work of repairing one of Scotland’s most popular Munros after Mend Our Mountains succeeded in raising £100,000 for two projects north of the border.
The Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal has suceeded in raising £40,000 to install a sustainable path on the steep route up Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps, and £60,000 to repair the wide and extremely visible scar on Carn Liath, part of the Beinn a’ Ghlo massif.
Skilled path repairers recently started work on the famously steep path up Ben Vane in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which is a formiddable technical challenge for the team. Repairs must be made all the way from the base of the mountain to its 915 metre (3001 feet) high summit, and the average angle of the path is 35 degrees.
The collaborative appeal is headed up by the BMC and represented by Mountaineering Scotland north of the border. It has raised more than £710,000 overall since its launch in March last year.
The work on Ben Vane is expected to take eight months to complete, finishing in November.
Work on the other Scottish project, the unsightly and environmentally damaging scar of the path up Beinn a Ghlo in the southern Cairngorms, is due to start in June and will take four months, with completion scheduled for September.
The path has been notorious for years as a wide eroded scar visible from the A9, but the appeal has succeeded in raising the £60,000 needed to repair it. All the pathwork is being overseen and coordinated by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland.
Donations came from all quarters during the year-long appeal, including individuals, climbing and walking clubs, and organisations. A grant of £26,500 came from the European Outdoor Conservation Association, and £20,000 from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, as well as £10,000 from the BFMF.
Pupils from Loretto School in Musselburgh celebrated their own connection with Beinn a Ghlo by raising £1500 through climbs of Beinn a Ghlo and Arthur’s Seat, and a sponsored abseil in Fife.
Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer and lead for the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal, said: “A few scruffy paths might not sound like a big problem, but the consequences of path erosion can be really serious. Without intervention these scars can grow to 30 metres or more across – as wide as a motorway. That scarring can endanger rare vegetation or wildlife, disturb habitats, expose carbon-capturing peat or harm the health of waterways.
It is fantastic that these repair projects can now go ahead having smashed their targets, and it is testament to the great affinity so many people have for the Scottish landscape, both in Scotland and beyond.”
Stuart Younie, Chief Executive of Mountaineering Scotland said: “This has been a great project to raise funds for badly needed path restoration projects on two very popular mountains. It’s fantastic to see so many people getting outdoors enjoying the countryside and the benefits of getting physically active but one of the unfortunate legacies is the wear and tear on our hill paths and tracks.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the outdoors community who has embraced our collective responsibility to help look after the hills and been involved supporting Mend our Mountains.”
Dougie Baird, CEO of Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, said: “These are two of the most eroded paths in the UK, and repairing the damage will be so important for both the landscape and the visitor experience.
“With public funds under so much pressure, it was important that the public support this type of work and we are delighted that those who care for the mountains took this opportunity to give something back.’’