The campaign is calling for Scots to help look after popular mountains such at the Cobbler, Beinn A Ghlo and Ben Lomond by adopting a favourite hill route in Scotland’s national parks, which they will inspect when they go walking and report back any problems.
The aim is to create an army of volunteer path inspectors who will help spot damage on paths early, so that maintenance money and effort can be targeted effectively.
The move is part of the £6.1 million Mountains & the People project, a partnership led by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (Coat) in conjunction with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“We are thrilled that so many people come to Scotland’s national parks to enjoy the spectacular mountains and scenery,” said Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. “But all those walking boots, combined with Scottish weather, can have a significant impact on our most popular hills.
“As paths get worn and degrade walkers tend to go around damaged areas, causing paths to widen over time and the surrounding environment is damaged.
“By restoring the paths, training a new generation of path conservation workers and encouraging people to get involved in this project, we want to make sure these mountains are here to enjoy for this generation and the next.”
Coat director Dougie Baird said: “Hiring people to inspect paths is expensive and can’t be done often, so it makes a huge difference if we can inspire volunteers who love the hills and walk regularly to become custodians, adopting routes and keeping us informed about the state of the paths.”