A locked gate at the site. Photo: Ramblers Scotland

A locked gate at the site. Photo: Ramblers Scotland

Ramblers Scotland is appealing to the public to help fund a legal battle over access at a Highland estate.

The walkers’ charity is joining the Highland Council in opposing an attempt to block a path on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

The organisation has launched a Crowdfunder appeal as it faces costs of up to £82,000 in its fight to save access along the Glenborrodale to Acharacle path.

It said the route offers stunning views of Loch Sunart and is of great value to the local community and as a strategic long-distance trail.

In 2019, two Ramblers were reported for aggravated trespass while walking peacefully on the same path, which is near to their Glenborrodale home.

A sheriff court last week granted Ramblers Scotland permission to join the Highland Council in opposing a bid by Woodland Renewables to use section 28 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to remove access rights from the affected part of the Ardnamurchan Estate.

Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy said: “We always view legal action as a last resort. In fact, we haven’t entered an access case of this type in well over a decade, particularly as legal action can be so costly.

“However, this is a landmark legal case featuring a historic and important path. If we don’t fight to save the route, it’ll be a significant blow to our hard-won access rights and walkers will be banned from parts of this beautiful trail forever.

“I hope that lovers of the outdoors will consider donating to support our work, and deliver a resounding message that people in Scotland believe our access rights are worth fighting for.”

The view to Loch Sunart. Photo: Ramblers Scotland

The view to Loch Sunart. Photo: Ramblers Scotland

As well as opposing the section 28 application, the Highland Council intends to prove that a path that crosses the affected area of the estate is a right of way. Ramblers Scotland said the route has been used by generations of walkers before the area was more recently developed as a woodyard on the understanding that access rights would be maintained.

All parties are due back in an online court for the next hearing on 2 February. The case follows several complaints about locked gates at the estate in recent years.

After being interviewed and a report sent to the procurator fiscal, eventually no further action was taken against the two local walkers who were reported for alleged aggravated trespass, but Ramblers Scotland has branded the case ‘unprecedented and worrying’.

Donations to the appeal can be made via the Ramblers website.

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