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Campaign to save Scotlandís mountain paths marks one-year anniversary

Tuesday 28th May 2024, 2:05pm

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

Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) are delighted to announce that their joint campaign, Itís 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 Scotlandís most iconic mountains. Path contractors from Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts (CWC) have so far 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 Itís 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: ďIt 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.Ē 

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

The campaign is also calling on Government to help develop a sustainable funding model for building and maintenance work across Scotlandís 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: ďWe 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 itís up to all of us to do something about it.Ē

Visit www.savemountainpaths.scot to find out more and follow all the latest campaign news using the hashtags #ItsUptoUs and #SaveMountainPaths