£110,000 revamp announced for improving access to Scottish paths


SCOTTISH paths are set for a revamp with £110,000 worth of improvements being announced to improve access for all.

The repairs are marked for some of Scotland’s favourite paths, including the West Highland Way.

Scots increased their time accessing the outdoors and connecting with nature over the past year and the new repairs are said to help remove barriers so everyone can enjoy the outdoors.

A walker at Craigie Fort on the West Highland Way.©Lorne Gill/SNH - Nature News Scotland
A walker at Craigie Fort on the West Highland Way.
©Lorne Gill/SNH

NatureScot is funding almost £111,000 of improvements to the path network, including many on Scotland’s Great Trails such as the West Highland Way.

The funding includes £26,000 for a community project led by the Helensburgh and District Access Trust to build a new bridge on the Three Lochs Way.

Working with the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, almost £19,000 is being invested in improvements to the popular West Highland Way at Keilator and between Ewich and Tyndrum.

The Clyde Walkway is said to benefit from the funding with around £20,000 going towards a  new wooden boardwalk and the replacement of stiles with self-closing gates to make access easier.

Similar work to improve accessibility is also being carried out on the Cateran Trail at a smaller scale.

Bridget Jones, NatureScot Recreation and Paths Manager, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated more than ever before how important a nature-rich environment is for our physical and mental wellbeing.

“It’s encouraging that we have seen an increase in the number of people enjoying the outdoors over the past 12 months but at NatureScot we want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access these benefits.

“This funding will improve surfaces, remove barriers and increase access on some of our most popular and scenic paths and trails, making it easier for more people to connect with nature and realise all of the many benefits that can bring.”

Repairs and improvements to the path surface on the John Muir Way at Falkirk will also be carried out with funding of more than £26,000.

Meanwhile £20,000 has been earmarked for a partnership project led by St Fillans Community Trust to create a local path linking the old railway line between St Fillans and Lochearnhead which will form part of the Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way.

Geoff Carter, from the St Fillans Community Trust, said: “The funding from NatureScot is a crucial element of our Loch Earn Railway Path Project.

“Working in conjunction with Sustrans and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the project will provide a much needed all-ability route, allowing safe, traffic-free access between our communities and to the wider countryside paths network.

“Since the opening of the St Fillans to Comrie section in 2016, our people counter has recorded over 40,000 users.

“These previously impossible journeys have given the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of our local residents and visitors, while noticeably boosting the local economy.”