Campaign to save the nation's walking paths for the future is launched

A helicopter delivers material for footpath repairs in Torridon. PIC: NTS.
A helicopter delivers material for footpath repairs in Torridon. PIC: NTS.
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They take walkers into the some of Scotland's most beautiful spots, from the mountains to the sea.

Now, a fundraising bid has been launched to raise enough money to secure Scotland's footpaths for the future.

The National Trust for Scotland is appealing for donations to its 2019 footpath fund which will help upgrade 160miles of upland walking routes over the next five years

The charity said it will spend £1.9 m over the lifetime of the project

Last year, widespread erosion on sections of the Coire Mhic Nobuil footpaths in Torridon were addressed after £122,000 was raised.

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As a result of the fundraising, work also began to re-open the coastal path at St Abb’s Head with the rebuilding of the much-loved tourist path at Goatfell on Arran also underway.

A spokesman for National Trust for Scotland said: "Footpath erosion leaves ugly scars on the landscape and irreversible damage to mountains.

"It occurs for a number of different reasons; Scotland’s thin soil means fragile vegetation is easily broken and persistent rain enters broken soil and can’t drain away.

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"Walkers and cyclists can also unknowingly cause erosion on the mountainside. If paths are inaccessible, people veer off the track creating unsustainable new path lines and damaging vegetation with boots and wheels."

A £25 donation to the National Trust for Scotland's footpath fund could help protect a footpath from water; £50 could bolster a crumbling path and £60 could keep 10 metres of footpath restored for years.

Bob Brown, Uplands Path Manager for the National Trust for Scotland, is at the front line of repairs and restorations. He said: “Scotland’s beautiful hills and mountains are there for everyone to enjoy and that’s why protecting the country’s footpaths is one of the most important areas of work we do at the Trust.

"It’s essential because without it our breath-taking landscapes will be blighted beyond repair and the extensive wildlife who call those footpaths home could vanish.

“Our ambitious five-year plan will see us restore upland paths to a high level of repair and halt and restore existing damage. In turn that will create an improved experience for hill walkers and cyclists and importantly protect the landscapes for generations to come. We’d urge anyone who has a love for Scotland to support us in this appeal and help us maintain Scotland’s beauty.”

To make a donation to the National Trust for Scotland’s Footpath Fund text PATH to 70331 to donate £3 (texts charged at your standard rate).