Elmwood students smooth the way to Sandwood Bay

Conservation students at the Elmwood Campus of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) went from NE Fife to the far north-west corner of Scotland fo

Conservation students at the Elmwood Campus of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) went from NE Fife to the far north-west corner of Scotland for a week of practical experience.

As part of their National Certificate (NC) in Conservation, the group of 12 students worked with the Trust’s path officer Chris Goodman - helping to repair a 70m section of the path out to Sandwood Bay.

After surveying the site to identify what extra drainage and work was required, the group gathered stones to build water bars, dug ditches to protect the path from rain water and finished by landscaping their work at the end so that it all looked natural.

Chris was on hand to supervise the group, alongside Lochinver-based path contractor MMA and SRUC conservation lecturer, Victoria Pendry – who all helped ensure the students got first rate tuition.

As Victoria explains: “Practical work and vocational experience is a crucial element of the course. It gives them the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career working amongst our natural heritage.”

This week of work experience was the third time Elmwood has teamed up with the Trust to share best practice in path repair techniques, give students first-hand experience and training and also help get important repairs carried out on some of our paths.

The students also visited Schiehallion, where they saw the work of ten years ago that rerouted the path on to more robust ground, as well as the slowly recovering ground of the former eroded path line.

The students worked hard all week and did a great job of the repairs. NC Conservation student Rhona Hunter said: “The work week was brilliant, you never realise how much work goes into maintaining and constructing footpaths until you spend time actually doing the job. It has certainly opened my eyes to appreciate footpaths and not take them for granted.”