Some Loretto School students on a mountaineering trip to northern Norway in 2015

Some Loretto School students on a mountaineering trip to northern Norway in 2015

Students from an independent school in East Lothian will step out to help an appeal to repair mountain paths.

Senior students from Loretto School in Musselburgh plan to ascend Beinn a’ Ghlò to raise funds for the Mend Our Mountains campaign.

Younger students will head for the Eildon Hills in the Borders, and pupils from the primary school will take part in a geo-conservation walk on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Money raised will go to help restore badly eroded footpaths on some of the most popular mountains in national parks, including Beinn a’ Ghlò itself, in the southern Cairngorms.

Loretto School has a tradition in hillwalking and wilderness activities, including recent expeditions for senior students to wilderness regions of Norway, Iceland and Greenland. An ascent of Beinn a’ Ghlò was already being planned when teachers learned of the Mend Our Mountains appeal.

Head of sixth form Richard Phillips said: “I had been reading an article in an old mountaineering journal from 1893, written by one of our former headmasters, Hely Hutchinson-Almond, who climbed the Beinn a’ Ghlò massif on Christmas day in 1892.

“Hutchinson-Almond was a pivotal figure at Loretto as he defined its ethos, now summarised as ‘mind, body and spirit’. He was ahead of his time in recognising that the outdoors were central to positive mental and physical health and his emphasis was on access and enjoyment of the outdoors for all.

“Having read his 1893 article I was keen to take some students to retrace the route on Beinn a’ Ghlò but when I read about Mend Our Mountains through Mountaineering Scotland, I decided to get our students involved in some fund raising events, including a walk up Beinn a’ Ghlò.”

The appeal is run by the British Mountaineering Council overall, and led by Mountaineering Scotland north of the border.

The whole school will be getting into the spirit with a Mend Our Mountains cake and bake sale in the school, with rock cakes and munro muffins likely to be among the favourites. Through the week senior pupils will also be taking part in a sponsored abseil down the Fife coastal cliffs at Hawkcraig Point, Aberdour.

The Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million has already achieved a third of its target amount of £1m.

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