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Loretto School pupils step out for Mend Our Mountains appeal

Monday 27th August 2018, 12:18pm

Pupils from Loretto School in East Lothian will be donning their boots next week to raise funds for a nationwide appeal to look after the country’s mountains.

Senior pupils from the school will head for Beinn A’ Ghlo in the southern Cairngorms, while younger pupils will head for the Eildon Hills in the Borders, and pupils from the primary school will take part in a Geoconservation walk on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

It’s all in aid of the ‘Mend Our Mountains appeal, which seeks to raise £1 million across the UK, with a target in Scotland of £100,000.

The appeal is run by the British Mountaineering Council overall, and led by Mountaineering Scotland north of the border.

Money raised will go to help restore badly eroded footpaths on some of our most iconic and popular mountains in National Parks.

In Scotland’s two National Parks – the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs – the mountain paths chosen are Beinn A’ Ghlo in the Cairngorms and Ben Vane.

Both get many thousands of ascents every year but suffer from badly eroded paths which not only make life harder for hill walkers but also cause growing damage to the hillsides.

Loretto School has a strong tradition in hill walking and wilderness activities, including recent expeditions for senior students to wilderness regions of Norway, Iceland and Greenland. An ascent of Beinn A’ Ghlo was already being planned when teachers learned of the Mend Our Mountains appeal.

Head of Sixth Form Dr Richard Phillips said: “I had been reading an article in an old mountaineering journal from 1893, written by one of our former Headmasters, Hely Hutchinson-Almond, who climbed the Beinn A' Ghlo massif on Christmas day in 1892.

“Hutchinson-Almond was a pivotal figure at Loretto as he defined its ethos, now summarised as 'mind, body and spirit'. He was ahead of his time in recognising that the outdoors were central to positive mental and physical health and his emphasis was on access and enjoyment of the outdoors for all.

“Having read his 1893 article I was keen to take some students to retrace the route on Beinn A' Ghlo but when I read about Mend Our Mountains through Mountaineering Scotland, I decided to get our students involved in some fund raising events, including a walk up Beinn A' Ghlo.”

As well as the younger pupils’ trips to the Eildon Hills and Arthur’s Seat, the whole school will be getting into the spirit with a ‘Mend Our Mountains’ cake and bake sale in the school, with the likes of Rock Cakes and Munro Muffins likely to be among the favourites.

And through the week senior pupils will also be taking part in a sponsored abseil down the Fife coastal cliffs at Hawkcraig Point, Aberdour.

Founded in 1827, Loretto School is one of Britain’s leading co-educational boarding and day schools for girls and boys aged 0-18. The School is set in 85 acres of leafy campus just outside Edinburgh, and is well known for its emphasis on the development of the whole person, mind, body and spirit.

Find out more information about the Mend Our Mountains appeal and  how to donate.

Loretto pupils on a previous expedition to northern Norway.