The new It’s Up to Us campaign from the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) and Mountaineering Scotland kicked off with the award of the 60th anniversary, £100,000 Diamond Grant from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust (SMT).
It’s Up to Us is an ambitious three-year partnership campaign to raise £300,000 for much-needed path repairs on one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains – An Teallach – whilst raising awareness of the desperate need for investment in the repair and maintenance of informal mountain paths situated on land outside of Scotland’s national parks and NGO estates.
The award was announced at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival on Saturday 26th November 2022, during which Stuart Younie, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, and Dougie Baird, CEO of OATS, accepted the generous award from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust’s Chair, John Fowler.
John Fowler, Chair of the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, said: “There were a number of worthy bids for the Diamond Grant, but the Trustees were really impressed by the ground-breaking approach that OATS and Mountaineering Scotland have come up with.
“Their imaginative funding model to support our paths will have a major impact on Scotland’s mountain community for many years to come. Using the repair of the path on the iconic An Teallach as the prototype is a great idea as it is such a large and important project. We look forward to working with them going forward.”
Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, explained: “Scotland’s informal hill and mountain path network plays a vital role in helping us to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of being active outdoors, which was never more evident than during the pandemic.
“Active tourism also makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and to local communities across the highlands. Our access may be free from charges, but it does come at a cost, and we need to recognise the cumulative impact of recreational activity on our landscape and do something positive to address it so it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.”
CEO of the Outdoor Access Trust Scotland, Dougie Baird, added: “We no longer have access to European funding, which has provided significant support for path and habitat restoration projects in the past, with no funding from the government to replace it.
“The ‘It’s Up to Us’ project will be vital in showing that mountaineers and conservationists can come together to solve the problems at An Teallach and other mountains on private land, whilst also highlighting the desperate need for government support for this type of work in the future. It’s fantastic to have received the Scottish Mountaineering Trust’s Diamond Grant to kick start the project.”
This special birthday award – the biggest in the Trust’s history – is the latest in an extensive line of grants set up to aid deserving mountain projects. Over the years, the Scottish Mountaineering Trust has contributed more than £1.7m to a wide range of recipients, from a new mountain rescue base to a student training weekend and a mountain film festival, all with the goal of helping more people to experience and enjoy our incredible mountains.