New campaign to save Scotland’s mountain paths launches

Left to Right: Stuart Younie (CEO of Mountaineering Scotland) and Dougie Baird (CEO of OATS) (Photo: Helen Gestwicki)

MOUNTAINEERING Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) are delighted to announce the launch of It’s Up to Us, an ambitious three-year partnership campaign to raise £300,000 for much-needed path repairs on one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains, 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.

It’s Up to Us, being launched at an evening reception at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth on Thursday 25th May 2023, will also focus on engaging Government, stakeholder agencies and organisations, outdoor businesses, and all path users to ensure that essential funding for hill path repair and habitat restoration is recognised for its social, health and wellbeing, economic and environmental benefits. From this Mountaineering Scotland and OATS will look to develop a sustainable and long-term funding model for hill path maintenance projects to improve access to investment for all Scotland’s mountain paths. 

Mountaineering Scotland and OATS have earmarked the hill path from Dundonnell on An Teallach, one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains, for investment from the It’s Up to Us fundraising appeal. The £300,000 restoration project will address decades of erosion caused by the cumulative impact of increased human activity and the extremes of Scottish weather. An Teallach is a clear example of a popular mountain path on privately owned land with no government funding currently available. 

This ground-breaking fundraising campaign has already been the beneficiary of the hugely generous £100,000 60th Anniversary Diamond Grant Award from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust and has gained the support of many well-known outdoor adventurers and social media influencers.

Outdoor enthusiasts, active tourism businesses and organisations that care deeply about Scotland’s hills and mountains are being encouraged to step up and give something back by donating to the It’s Up to Us fundraising appeal. It’s up to all of us to give back to the mountain environment we benefit from.

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. We need to recognise the cumulative impact of recreational activity and extreme weather due to climate change 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: “The fundraising appeal will highlight how hillwalkers, mountaineers and conservationists can come together to solve path erosion problems on mountains on private land throughout Scotland.    

“However, 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.   It is vital to the success of the It’s Up to Us campaign that we engage with Governments and all stakeholders to highlight the desperate need for investment in mountain paths, and a long-term sustainable model that gives all landowners access to funding for essential mountain path maintenance is developed.”

It’s Up to Us ambassador Cameron McNeish, said: “It’s Up to Us is such an important project for every person who loves walking on Scotland’s hills and mountains. The original tracks and trails on our hills were never built to sustain the numbers that use them now, so it’s up to all of us to pull together in every way we can and keep them well maintained.”

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.”

Visit: to find out more and follow all the latest campaign news using the hashtags: #ItsUptoUs and #SaveMountainPaths

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