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27 Sept 2022

Jigsaw skills on Ben Lomond

Written by Alasdair Eckersall
A photo looking up the broad side of Ben Lomond, where the main path can be snaking its way to the summit ridge. A red circle has been drawn around a section of the path high up on the mountain, just before the shoulder.
The red circle shows the location of the path repair site, high on the Ben Lomond main path.
Erosion was visibly spreading on the steep, high parts of the mountain, because walkers were avoiding the rough, stony surface. Some skilful repairs were needed.

Keeping a path surface in place at these gradients often needs stone pitching, where the rocks are locked together to provide a solid stone surface that can withstand extremes of weather. The old pitched surface, built in 1996, was fairly rough and many walkers were avoiding it, instead trampling over the vegetation at the path edge. Erosion was spreading either side of the path. We have found this problem has been exacerbated by many more people coming up the mountain in thinner-soled shoes and trainers, rather than walking boots.

The ranger service have spent a week replacing some sections of the stone surface, building the pitching in such a way as to create level tread surfaces. These give more of a stepped surface that people find easier to walk on, bringing walkers back onto the path and enabling us to block the trampling on the soft ground to the sides.

Our thanks go to the many walkers who passed us during the week and supported our work, either with donations or through purchase of a Ben Lomond T-shirt. All the Trust’s path repair and maintenance work, at Ben Lomond as well as at all our other upland and coastal properties, is fully supported by public donations.

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Footpath team at work on Ben Lawers. A group of people use a lever to try and shift a large boulder into place on a hillside. >