A helicopter airlifts materials to the site on Blàbheinn for the project on Skye

A helicopter airlifts materials to the site on Blàbheinn for the project on Skye

An organisation formed by outdoor companies to help fund conservation projects said it has gone from strength to strength.

A growth in membership of the European Outdoor Conservation Association enabled it to fund two rounds of grants last year.

The association donated €280,885 (£219,974) to projects, voted by outdoor fans, across the world.

Among those was the £60,000 renovation of a footpath on Blàbheinn on Skye.

Seven companies and organisations also agreed to become sustaining members of the association: OutDoor, Pertex, Keen Footwear, Nikwax, ISPO, Patagonia and the European Outdoor Group, which is also the founder member of the association.

EOCA said 100 per cent of its membership fees goes to conservation projects.

It currently has 120 members, drawn from outdoor brands, organisations and media. Keswick retailer George Fisher joined the association recently.

Since it was set up in 2006, €1,540,664 (£1,206,566) has been spent on conservation, with 64 projects in 36 countries supported, 468,946 trees planted, more than 220km (137 miles) of trails restored and maintained, nearly 30,000ha (74,132 acres) of wilderness permanently protected and more than 100 tonnes of litter removed from mountains and waterways.

Tanya Bascombe and Catherine Savidge, joint general managers of the association, said: “Things have continued to work really well for EOCA this year. It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to award more money to conservation this year.

“The awareness within the industry, and among consumers is most obviously increasing, and conservation organisations are spreading the word as well.

“The association has continued to grow in size and we are thrilled that we already have an exciting new member announcement ready for the beginning of 2015.”

More details are on the EOCA website.

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