It’s Us to Us is a three-year campaign by Mountaineering Scotland and Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) to raise awareness of the urgent need for investment in the repair and maintenance of informal mountain paths across Scotland.
The campaign has three key parts:
Initially the campaign will focus on raising £300,000 to fund the repair of the path on An Teallach – one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains – which has become badly eroded over many years due to its popularity and the extremes of Scottish weather.
The upgraded path on An Teallach will remain very much a ‘mountain path’. The aim is not to make the ascent easier than it is at present but instead to restore the path and prevent further erosion from the extreme weather and the increasing number of people using it, thus allowing the natural regeneration of the ground and habitats surrounding the current path.
We are asking outdoor enthusiasts, active tourism businesses and other organisations that care about Scotland’s mountains to step up and give something back to help save our mountain paths by donating to the It’s Up to Us fundraising campaign, either as a one-off donation or a regular amount that will contribute to this and future projects.
Many of us take paths for granted, and don’t realise that there is no funding available for upland paths unless they are within a national park or on land owned by conservation organisations such as the John Muir Trust or National Trust for Scotland.
Paths on privately owned land do not qualify for government funding and, as a result of Brexit, millions of pounds of funding from the EU is no longer available for projects such as It’s Up to Us. This means that paths are not maintained or improved for the benefit of those that use them, resulting in damage to, not only the path, but the fragile habitats around them.
As part of the campaign, we are first calling for the Scottish Government to invest in a full audit of mountain paths in Scotland, which allow an assessment of the scale of the problem and help prioritise repairs to those areas that most need it.
Secondly, we want to work with Government and other stakeholders to explore options for a sustainable long-term funding model for upland paths which would be available not just to national parks and NGOs, but also to projects on privately owned land. This will ensure that our upland paths are fit-for-use for not just us, but for generations to come.