Blessed are the path makers: Mountain paths but who should pay for there upkeep?

Yesterday there was a program on radio Scotland on the maintenance of mountain paths on the Munro’s and who should play for them. The Question was that those who use the paths should pay for there upkeep.

The usual questions came out should locals and visitors pay to climb the Munros? Should local Government pay? Things were mentioned like a tourist tax. It was a reasonable discussion with various thoughts by many being viewed. In these days of severe austerity there is limited money about. Some how we need to find a solution.

The program reckoned that it will take 30 million pounds to get the paths fixed. In these days of austerity I doubt there will be little funding about now or in the near future.

Blessed are the path makers.

Mountaineering Scotland have received £100000 towards path work recently. This money is been raised from the sale of the Scottish Mountaineering Trust ( SMT) guide books. I was honoured to serve as a Trustee for several years and we always tried to give cash for path work. This is a great help but the need is massive.

Heavy erosion on An Teallach

What can be done?

In my view it is not just walkers and climbers that need to help but also Mountain bikers who use many of the paths and tracks. Maybe it’s time both parties ( mountaineering and Cycling) got together and had a joint plan for the future? I asked about this before but got no joy. You may know someone who has the ears of those who run these organisations?

I see so much branded clothing about on the hills surely a small bit of the profit could go to the path maintenance?

Mountain Bikes – again a huge industry what about helping with path repairs it’s massive and growing. The use of mountain paths has increased by bikers.

Sponsored walks/ Charity walks – many organisations are raising so much from sponsored walks up Ben Nevis and many other popular mountains. This is a great thing but surely they should also give a small payment to the area for path repairs? The organisations who organised these walks should surely be helping especially for big groups?

There are some great organisations doing their best The John Muir Trust on Blaven on Skye on Ben Nevis and the Cairngorms and many others. My own local hill not a Munro Ben Rinnes has the “ Friends of Ben Rinnes” does so much for the upkeep of the path and the car park which has a collection box at the main path.

Working on the Ben Rinnes path. The Friend’s of Ben Rinnes.

I have used the mountains for 60 years and seen the very limited path use increase. The wear and tare to the paths by the increased in walkers and in places bikes. Path works is extremely hard and physical and it’s incredible how many volunteer to assist. The improvement is incredible but can all change due to heavy rain on eroded paths or constant footfall.

Glen Rosa path much improved in Arran.

The Scottish Mountaineering Trust was established by Trust Deed in 1962 by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.

The primary object of the Trust is to promote and support health, education and recreation in the mountains of Scotland and elsewhere. It fosters knowledge of the mountain geography, biology and weather, protects the mountain amenities and access, and also promotes the skills to walk and climb safely in the mountains.

Like all charities, the activities of the Trust are bounded by Government legislation. Any grants made by the Trust must be for charitable purposes. This means, for example, that we can’t support expeditions unless they have a clear scientific, educational or other charitable purpose. Likewise, no grant can be made for the improvement of premises which are not generally available to the mountaineering community.

Activities of the trust

The Trust makes grants to organisations and individuals for projects that meet the objectives of the Trust. By far the largest area of expenditure has been in supporting footpath repair. Extensive and continuing support is given to Mountaineering Scotland for core funding. Large donations have also been made to land purchase appeals by conservation bodies.

The Trust is keen to encourage the safe participation in mountaineering, and so support is given to training courses – especially those aimed at young people – such as those subsidised by the Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust.

Smaller grants have been made to other organisations e.g. to Clubs for renovation of huts.

Expedition grants have been made where there are clear scientific or educational objectives.

The trust is responsible for the administration of the legacy known as Mrs Snart’s Bequest, which is solely for assisting mountains safety.

As well as providing grant, the Trust owns the Scottish Mountaineering Trust (Publications) Limited, which publishes books associated with the Scottish mountains.

Income of the trust

The Trust’s revenue is derived from two main sources:

  • Publishing guidebooks and other books on behalf of the Scottish Mountaineering Club and other books about the Scottish mountains. The Trust’s publication activity is carried on by a wholly owned subsidiary company, Scottish Mountaineering Trust (Publications) Limited. The whole operating surplus of the company is covenanted to the Trust.
  • Donations and Bequests. These are always most welcome and can be of any amount. If a donation is made to us without any conditions it will go into the general fund. If you would like to discuss specifics in connection with a donation then please do contact us. Any donation can be kept confidential, if so wished.

Support us now

Membership of the Trust

Trustees are appointed by the Scottish Mountaineering Club and normally serve for a period of three years. The Chairman is normally the immediate Past-President of the Scottish Mountaineering Club and serves for a period of two years. Additional to the Trustees, there is a Secretary and a Treasurer who are nonvoting officers.

Where the money goes

Below are shown the totals of the grants and loans made by the Trust in its major areas of activity in the period 1990-2019.Footpath Construction and Maintenance£486,000Funding for Mountaineering Scotland£235,000Land Purchase£68,500Mountaineering Education and Training£36,000Mountain Rescue Equipment and Facilities£74,000Support of Expeditions£34,500Renovation of Club Huts£315,000Other£321,000TOTAL£1,570,000

Comments welcome as always

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Charity, Enviroment, Mountaineering, Munros, SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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