RESTORATION work on a 3.8 kilometre footpath that rises over 3,000ft to the summit of Skye’s famous Blue Mountain on the edge of the Cuillin has been completed.
The conservation charity John Muir Trust, which looks after the mountain, also know as Blà Bheinn, said contractors finished the £60,000 project this week.
Chris Goodman, the chairty’s footpath manager, said: “This was a substantial piece of work that included building 100 metres of stone steps and a helicopter lift of materials.
“It also involved major drainage construction on sections of the path that been badly scarred by gullying.”
Earlier this year, the John Muir Trust won £24,000 in an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association towards the costs.
The trust followed this up with an appeal among its members and supporters to raise the balance to fund the project.
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Because of its popularity with hillwalkers and mountaineers from across Europe, and its exposure to fierce Atlantic weather systems, the Blà Bheinn path had begun to suffer serious erosion, with a gaping seven metre wide scar visible from a great distance.
Walkers coming down the slope were forced to make an unpleasant trek through sections of loose boulders.
Mr Goodman said: “We strongly encourage people to explore the mountains and at the same time we take responsibility for maintaining footpaths in good condition.
“Where possible we use light touch, sensitive, minimal intervention techniques, but in some places significant damage can only be rectified by this kind of major repair work.
“Looking to the future, we are aiming to focus on more pre-emptive action to prevent serious erosion before it occurs.
“This work has cost the best part of £60,000 and we’d like to thank all our members and supporters, as well as those who voted for us in the online poll earlier this year to help us secure a large part of the funding.”
In March this year, Blà Bheinn beat off competition from projects in the Himalayas, Spain, Patagonia and the Lake District to win the £24,000 in an online poll run by The European Outdoor Conservation Association - a charity made up of outdoor industry companies, who jointly fund conservation projects worldwide.
The John Muir Trust manages Blà Bheinn as well as a number of properties across the Highands, including Ben Nevis, Schiehallion, Sandwood Bay and parts of Knoydart and Assynt – and regularly mobilises teams of volunteers to carry out routine work on upland footpaths.
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