A helicopter airlifts materials to the site on Blàbheinn

A helicopter airlifts materials to the site on Blàbheinn

A footpath up a munro on the Isle of Skye has been restored using a grant and donations from supporters.

The 3.8km (2¼-mile) route up Blàbheinn had become badly eroded and scarred.

The John Muir Trust won £24,000 in an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association towards the costs.

The Trust followed this up with an appeal among its members and supporters to raise the balance to fund the project.

Because of its popularity with hillwalkers and mountaineers from across Europe, and its exposure to fierce Atlantic weather systems, the path up 928m (3,034ft) Blàbheinn had begun to suffer serious erosion, with a gaping 7m-wide scar visible from a great distance.

Walkers coming down the slope were forced to make an unpleasant trek through sections of loose boulders.

Chris Goodman, footpath manager for the John Muir Trust said: “This was a substantial piece of work that included building 100m of stone steps and a helicopter lift of materials.

“It also involved major drainage construction on sections of the path that been badly scarred by gullying.

“We strongly encourage people to explore the mountains and at the same time we take responsibility for maintaining footpaths in good condition.

“Where possible we use light touch, sensitive, minimal intervention techniques, but in some places significant damage can only be rectified by this kind of major repair work.

“Looking to the future, we are aiming to focus on more pre-emptive action to prevent serious erosion before it occurs.

“This work has cost the best part of £60,000 and we’d like to thank all our members and supporters, as well as those who voted for us in the online poll earlier this year to help us secure a large part of the funding.”

In March this year, Blàbheinn beat off competition from projects in the Himalaya, Spain, Patagonia and the Lake District to win £24,000 in an online poll run by the European Outdoor Conservation Association, a charity made up of outdoor industry companies, who jointly fund conservation projects worldwide.

The John Muir Trust manages Blàbheinn, as well as a number of properties across the Highlands, including Ben Nevis, Schiehallion, Sandwood Bay and parts of Knoydart and Assynt, and regularly mobilises teams of volunteers to carry out routine work on upland footpaths.

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