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4 Sep 2020

Trust launches Foothpath Fund appeal

A mountainous landscape, showing an eroded path.
Erosion along the path at Ben Lomond during summer 2020, at an altitude of 700m
The National Trust for Scotland today launches its Footpath Fund appeal, along with a mountain etiquette guide to help us continue to protect the places in Scotland we all love.
Footpath Fund

Transcript

Hi, I’m Bob Brown. I’m the Footpath Manager for the National Trust for Scotland.
So, me and my team look after the 400km of upland footpaths in the mountains under the Trust’s care.
That’s great to see everybody back out enjoying themselves in the hills.
I’m here in Glencoe today.
Unfortunately, the massive surge of people is causing us additional problems, which we need to take care of.
People are socially distancing on the paths, which of course is great and the right thing to do.
However, there are ways to do it without walking down the edges of the path, which is causing additional erosion we need to work on.
So, finally out of lockdown, my team are back on the hill and we need your help.
It’s easy to take footpaths for granted and many people just imagine they have always been there and always will be.
However, the maintainance that goes into them and the cost involved is high.
Our footpaths need urgent attention, please donate today.

The Footpath Fund appeal will support both short- and long-term projects.

The Trust expects to lose in the region of £30 million in essential income in 2020, which has seriously impacted a vital programme of footpath maintenance at properties.

Bob Brown, Upland Path Manager for the National Trust for Scotland, commented:

‘Over the spring and summer, my team should have been out across Scotland, repairing and maintaining the footpaths that the Trust looks after. This essential behind-the-scenes work is critical in protecting Scotland’s iconic landscapes and habitats.

‘The pandemic halted our activity and we are now five months behind our schedule of crucial maintenance. As we come into the winter months, we must complete as much as we can to ensure our landscapes and habitats aren’t at risk of ugly scars and irreparable damage.

‘I know that times are difficult for everyone, but we need your help to ensure our footpaths can withstand the extra boots.’

Quote
“‘This work is vital. Without clear pathways, walkers find different routes and their footprints start to erode the surrounding area. This damage destroys delicate upland ecosystems, makes plants and vegetation vulnerable to the harsh Scottish weather and our habitats and wildlife exposed.”
Bob Brown, Upland Path Manager
A path in a mountainous landscape showing the effects of erosion.
Erosion on the path at Ben Lomond at an altitude of 500m

Here are a few of the ways that your donations could help:

  • £10 could help buy spades, mattocks or other hand tools.
  • £25 could help stabilise the edge of a collapsing path
  • £48 could help Bob and his team care for 1.2 metres of footpath, clear out vital ditching or restore a section of trampled ground.

We care for around 250 miles (400km) of upland footpaths, and as lockdown restrictions have lifted thousands of people have headed for the mountains. But as the routes have got busier, social distancing has caused the ‘walking down’ of the edges of paths causing additional erosion.

So, following enquiries from supporters and visitors asking the best way to continue to enjoy outdoor spaces and socially distance without causing damage, we have created a new video guide. In it, Trust staff demonstrate the best and safest way to pass people on upland footpaths with four easy steps to follow:

  • Step to the side
  • Turn away
  • Wait until they pass
  • And go on your way
Footpath etiquette

Transcript

Hi, I’m Bob Brown. I’m the Footpath Manager for the National Trust for Scotland. So me and my team (we) look after the 400 kilometres of upland footpaths in the mountains under the Trust’s care.

It’s great to have everybody back out and about enjoying themselves in the countryside. Social distancing, bizarrely enough, has brought some additional problems into the mountains. People are socially distancing on the path which, of course, is great, and the right thing to do. However, there are ways to do it without walking down the edges of the path which is causing additional erosion that we need to work on.

If you could please stick to the paths, that would be great.

There are a few simple measures you could take if you’re approaching somebody else on the path. You could simply step to the side and turn away so that you’re no longer facing the person approaching you. Just wait there ’til they pass and then it’s safe to walk back along the path. That then keeps you safe and keeps our paths safe.

So from me and my team, a massive thank you for all your support.

Bob added, ‘It’s great to see everybody back out and about enjoying themselves in the countryside, but social distancing has bizarrely brought some additional problems into the mountains.

‘People are socially distancing on the paths, which is great and the right thing to do, but there are ways to do it without walking down the edges of the path which is causing additional erosion which we need to work on.

‘We put together this video with a few very simple measures that people can take if they meet someone else on the path.

‘You can simply step to the side and turn away so that you’re no longer facing the person approaching you. Just wait there until they pass and then it’s safe to walk back along the path. That then keeps you safe and keeps our paths safe.’

You can donate and find out more now.

A built pathway up a hillside, with shallow steps.
Erosion at the side of the path at Grey Mare’s Tail

Footpath Fund

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