£6m mountains project to protect Scotland’s peaks

Ben Lomond will be one such mountain to benefit. Picture: Allan Milligan
Ben Lomond will be one such mountain to benefit. Picture: Allan Milligan
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A FIVE-YEAR project to improve Scotland’s mountain landscapes and provide training opportunities for young people is set to get off the ground after a funding boost of more than £3 million was confirmed today.

The scheme, entitled Scotland’s National Parks - The Mountains and The People, aims to engage people in protecting and maintaining the country’s peaks.

Scotland’s national parks encompass some of the country’s most iconic landscapes

Colin McLean, Heritage Lottery Fund

Led by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT), the project will also bring together Scotland’s two national parks - the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs.

The Heritage Lottery Fund today confirmed its support of £3.28 million towards the initiative.

It is being matched by six-figure contributions from the national park authorities, COAT, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland, taking the overall funding pot to £6.1 million.

Environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod said: “This is a great example of Scotland’s environment agencies coming together to make a real difference to the people and landscape of Scotland.”

Iconic Ben Lomond and The Cobbler are two of the 23 mountains in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs set to benefit from the project.

Beinn A Ghlo, just off the A9 in the Cairngorms, will see repairs to sustained damage caused by climbers.

The project’s upland path programme will upgrade and repair a range of routes, including severely eroded paths on Ben Ledi, Mount Keen and Beinn A Ghlo.

Meanwhile, a training programme will run seven-month vocational training courses in the south Loch Lomond and Cairngorms areas to provide young people with skills to help them into employment.

As part of the scheme, there will also be conservation volunteer programmes and an education programme for schools, colleges and universities.

Dougie Baird, chief executive of the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust, said: “The Mountains and The People is a project designed to bring the people of Scotland together to help look after some of Scotland’s most precious national assets - the mountains of our national parks.

“Mountains in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and the Cairngorms are so important for nature and as places people can escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.

“The HLF funding means we can now get started and with all partners help protect the Scottish landscape for millions of people to enjoy.”

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Scotland’s national parks encompass some of the country’s most iconic landscapes and are vital for their contribution to tourism as well as for the health and social benefits of the millions of people that enjoy them.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are delighted to be able to support a project which encourages people to take ownership of this rich heritage.

“Their newly-learned skills will not only make a positive difference to their own lives but will play an important part in looking after the future of Scotland’s magnificent landscapes.”