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The Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland has given awards to volunteers for their tireless conservation work, including path repair

Earlier this month saw a fantastic turnout for the Annual Public Meeting of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, with a diverse range of people coming along to hear about the work the Trust does in conserving and protecting our natural heritage and environment.

Amongst the talks, presentations, discussions and demonstrations, one aspect of the evening stole the show – the hardworking and tireless volunteers who work with the Trust throughout the year as part of their flagship project, The Mountains and The People (TMTP).

This small army of volunteers gets involved with clearing blocked drainage ditches, improving path surfaces, vegetation management, invasive species control, repairing fences and stiles, and much more. In the last 18 months, 178 people have volunteered on conservation tasks, giving a total of 2,710 volunteer hours, helping to improve 30 paths across Scotland’s two National Parks.

In recognition of those volunteers who have gone the extra mile, an awards ceremony was held in celebration of their generous contribution.

Meet the volunteers

Volunteer of the Year – Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park

Glasgow-based James Gillies (second from right in photo) first started volunteering with the project in June 2016. He has helped to repair paths all over the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, and more recently has ‘adopted’ Beinn Ime, helping to conserve the fragile upland landscape by reporting on erosion damage and potential path issues.

Volunteer of the Year – Cairngorms National Park

Retired meteorologist and Aberdeen resident James Brownhill (centre in photo) was involved in volunteering for the Trust well before TMTP Project started. One of the early Adopt a Path volunteers, he has surveyed the Dubh Loch path on the Balmoral Estate path for the last five years, as well as attending several conservation work parties throughout the Cairngorms.

Most Conservation Days

Euain Ramage (second from left in photo), a shopkeeper from Alloa, won the award for Most Conservation Days having volunteered on a total of 14 different conservation work parties in both of Scotland’s National Parks.

About the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland

The Trust was formed in 2008 and aims to conserve and protect the natural heritage and environment by developing management projects, maintaining public access, working to improve education, and promoting the public and individual health benefits of outdoor recreation. The Mountains and The People project aims to preserve and improve the unique upland habitats of our National Parks, recognising that the lure of the mountains brings not only great benefit to those visiting, but also has a physical impact on the land itself.

To play your part in the conservation of Scotland’s national heritage, visit themountainsandthepeople.org.uk/volunteering

Image: volunteers with their awards. From left to right: Ian Moffett (Chair of Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland), Euan Ramage, James Brownhill, James Gillies, Julie Wilson (Activity Project Officer for OATS’ The Mountains and The People Project).