Campaign launched to raise money for much needed path repairs

Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) have launched their It’s Up to Us campaign, an ambitious three-year partnership campaign to raise £300,000 for much needed path repairs on one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains. 

The groups have earmarked the hill path from Dundonnell on the fabled Munro, An Teallach in Wester Ross, one of Scotland’s best known mountains, for investment from the It’s Up to Us fundraising appeal. 

Over the next three years the £300,000 restoration project will address decades of erosion caused by the cumulative impact of increased human activity and the extremes of Scottish weather. 

NatureScot estimated path repairs at an average of £90 per metre in 2019, though costs are often substantially more than this. 

For the popular circular route up and down An Teallach at around 20km long, restoration costs can quickly mount.

VisitScotland estimates the annual economic impact of walking tourism in Scotland is £1.6 billion, this puts path repair costs into perspective when compared with the economic benefit they bring.

An Teallach.

An Teallach. Credit: Keith Bryers

CEO of OATS, Dougie Baird mentions said: ‘Over the past 25 years the EU have made over £6 million pounds available for the maintenance of Scottish paths on private land, this equates to about a quarter of a million a year.

‘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 UK government to replace it.’  

Together with Mountaineering Scotland, OATS are looking to raise awareness of the desperate need for investment in the repair and maintenance of informal mountain paths situated on land outside of Scotland’s national parks and NGO estates. 

Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, said: ‘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.

‘Active tourism also makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and to local communities across the highlands. 

‘We need to recognise the cumulative impact of recreational activity and extreme weather due to climate change on our landscape and do something positive to address it so it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.’ 

Dougie Baird speaks of how OATS have already secured funding from Cotswold Outdoor and how performance clothing brand Summit Stride are donating 10% of profits to the campaign.

‘The fundraising appeal will highlight how hill walkers, mountaineers and conservationists can come together to solve path erosion problems on mountains on private land throughout Scotland,’ he said.

‘It is vital to the success of the It’s Up to Us campaign that we engage with governments and all stakeholders to highlight the desperate need for investment in mountain paths, and a long-term sustainable model that gives all landowners access to funding for essential mountain path maintenance is developed.

‘This initiative is all about the sustainability of the mountain, it’s relevant to anyone who cares about access to Scottish mountains.’

To donate and do your part in saving Scotland’s mountain access routes head to 

Read more on Scottish Field’s Outdoors pages. 

Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.