The John Muir Trust was competing for funding to undertake essential repairs to the Steall Gorge path in Glen Nevis, Lochaber, which is in desperate need of maintenance if it’s to stay open to the thousands of visitors that venture along it each year.
Fran Lockhart, the Trust’s Nevis property manager, said: “Over the last two weeks we’ve had a tremendous response from our members, local people and many others across the UK who value this wild place. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for our project to help us win the funding.
“We had stiff competition, including a German charity with around a million members, so it’s staggering to have received so much support.
“Steall Gorge is really important to a lot of people, which is why it’s vital to repair the path and keep it safe to use. This money will go a long way towards covering the cost of the work, and helping to protect the adjacent fragile woodland and montane habitats.”
There are between thirty and forty distinct paths on Trust land, ranging from woodland walks and coastal routes to upland paths giving access to the summits of seven Munros and five Corbetts.
The Trust has a policy of carrying out low-key path maintenance on existing paths in order to prevent excessive wear and erosion of the environment, while keeping visual intrusion to a minimum. This year it has recruited specialist staff to work proactively on projects such as the Steall Gorge repairs to ensure maintenance issues are dealt with before they become more serious problems.
Fran added, “We want to give people the opportunity to walk in and enjoy the wild places in our care in ways that respect and protect surrounding habitats and wildlife. The repairs on the Steall Gorge will reverse existing damage and strengthen spots where there could be a problem in the future.”
The Trust will launch a further appeal to support the repairs to Steall Gorge, and other footpaths later this year.
The Steall Gorge project beat off competition from 4 other bids ranging from a project to improve biodiversity in Chile, restoration of a walking trail in Germany, and forest regeneration in the Pyrenees. For details of the Steall Gorge walk check out the route description and map on Walkhighlands.