Blàbheinn. Photo: Nick Bramhall CC-BY-SA-2.0

Blàbheinn. Photo: Nick Bramhall CC-BY-SA-2.0

The John Muir Trust’s plans to repair the path to Blàbheinn on the Isle of Skye have been put forward by outdoor brand Berghaus as one of the nominees in the European Outdoor Conservation Association competition.

The association is made up of 120 members, including most of the big European outdoor brands, including Berghaus.

The Blàbheinn path project has been nominated in the Alpine category, and online voting is open for two weeks from Monday 17 to 31 March.

Blàbheinn, also known by its anglicised name Blaven, is managed by the John Muir Trust. It guards the entrance to the Black Cuillin range on the Isle of Skye, and stands in rugged wild land ringed by coastal villages, sea lochs and native woodland.

Chris Goodman, the John Muir Trust footpath manager said: “The breathtaking view from the summit and the relatively straightforward access attracts thousands of people to Blàbheinn each year.

“The pressure of footfall combined with the high rainfall here has created serious erosion on sections of the footpath, damaging fragile soil and plants, and causing sedimentation of nearby streams.

“It has also opened up a scar on the mountainside which is visible for miles.”

Working with local contractors and volunteers, the trust said it plans to repair the 3.8km (2½-mile) path, using light-touch methods to preserve the wild character of the area and protect the fragile mountain habitats.

Mr Goodman said: “We’re grateful to Berghaus for the nomination.

“If we’re successful, this award would get us off to a flying start, so we’d ask people locally and further afield to vote for us online from Monday onwards.”

Caroline Smith, head of marketing at Berghaus, said: “Berghaus has been a supporter of both the John Muir Trust and the European Outdoor Conservation Association for some years now.

“In the UK, our staff have contributed to several trust projects on the ground and as keen outdoor enthusiasts themselves, many are passionate about the conservation of wild places.

“We will be doing what we can to encourage the public to vote for the Blàbheinn path restoration project and really hope that it succeeds in securing support.”

The path from Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags is also in the running for restoration cash

The path from Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags is also in the running for restoration cash

Other projects up for the prize are the path from Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags in the Lake District, which has been nominated by Bergans of Norway.

Heavy use by walkers and high rainfall have again resulted in serious erosion of the route causing rainwater to be channelled downhill, washing away soil, rock and aggregate and into streams and lakes where the siltation results in poor water quality, affecting important species like Arctic char, freshwater crayfish and water voles.

Nurture Lakeland plans to restore 1km of stone pitched path, train 20 new volunteer lengthsmen to carryout footpath repairs and provide 500 volunteer days on upland path repair and restoration work, on this and other routes in the Lake District.

“Many volunteers involved in the project are undergoing rehabilitation to address issues such as substance misuse or are suffering mental health problems and this project provides a potentially life-changing opportunity and the chance to improve and enhance their mental, physical and spiritual health,” Nurture Lakeland said.

The two UK projects are up against a scheme on the Glorieta stream headwaters in Spain; the corridor between the world’s third and fifth tallest mountains, Kanchenjunga and Makalu in the Himalaya; and an education project in La Paciencia Valley in Patagonia to stop walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts damaging forests by lighting uncontrolled fires.

In the outdoor category, the Trossachs Gateway Project hopes to conserve native woodland in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park and complete the Great Trossachs Path.

The project has been nominated by OutDoors, the German outdoor trade show.

There is also a nature category, with hopefuls ranging from Madagascar to Costa Rica.

Members of the public can vote online for the projects on the European Outdoor Conservation Association website.

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