CONIC Hill was the location for yesterday’s (Tuesday) launch of an exciting project that gives hillwalkers the chance to play an important part in the upkeep of their favourite paths.
Adopt a Path – part of the £6.1 million The Mountains & The People Project – is asking volunteers who go hillwalking to adopt a favourite hill route in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and Cairngorms national parks – they will then inspect the path they go walking and then report back on its condition.
The aim is to create a whole army of volunteer path inspectors who will help spot damage on paths in the National Parks early, so that maintenance money and effort can be targeted and effective.
Yesterday’s launch saw the first cohort of trainees demonstrating their new path-work skills on Conic Hill, to representatives from each of the partner organisations behind the project. The trainees are taking part in a six-month paid course to achieve their SVQ Level 2 in Environmental Conservation, spending time getting to know the different aspects of the course, meeting people working across the sector and most importantly getting to grips with the practical skills required to work in some of the country’s most challenging yet inspiring locations. The project will run a series of 6-month traineeships based in each National Park, training 36 people across this five year project.
Speaking of the launch, Dougie Baird, Director of Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust says: “As part of the West Highland Way, Conic Hill is one of Scotland’s most popular walks and the ideal place to launch Adopt a Path.
“The path up Conic Hill will be repaired and improved as part of The Mountains & the People Project. Once repairs are complete on, each of the mountain paths involved, we need people who walk those paths to help us keep an eye on them so we can make sure they are well maintained.
“The volunteers can also be trained to undertake minor maintenance on these adopted paths, helping to ensure that small problems are tackled quickly. Hiring people to inspect paths is expensive and cannot 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 keep us informed about the state of the paths.”
For further information on Adopt a Path or to get involved in conservation with The Mountains & The People visit www.themountainsandthepeople.org.uk.