£50k path restoration work underway on Skye’s Blà Bheinn

Contractors have begun work on a major programme of repairs to the 3.8km footpath that leads from Loch Slapin to the spectacular summit of B

Contractors have begun work on a major programme of repairs to the 3.8km footpath that leads from Loch Slapin to the spectacular summit of Blà Bhein, the 'Blue Mountain'.

Because of its popularity with hillwalkers and mountaineers from across Europe, and its exposure to fierce Atlantic weather systems, the path has begun to suffer serious erosion.

Earlier this year, the John Muir Trust, which looks after the ‘Blue Mountain’, won £24,000 in an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) towards the costs. At the same time, the Trust launched an appeal among its members and supporters to match the funding.

The company in charge of the work, Upland Access, will be staying near Elgol for the duration of the work while helicopter company PDG will be brought in to fly in stone to the path site for the repair work.

Chris Goodman, Footpath Officer for the John Muir Trust, said: “Blà Bheinn, which guards the entrance to the Black Cuillin, is one of the most magnificent mountains in Scotland, with awe-inspiring views across land, loch and sea.

“It is also one of the more accessible peaks of the Cuillin range, which attracts all sorts of people to Skye, from hardened mountaineers in the winter months to family and schools groups in the summer.

“The sheer numbers trekking up the footpath, together with high rainfall, has led to the erosion of sections of the path. As well as creating a visible scar on the landscape, these pressures can also damage plants and soils.

“We encourage people to take to the hills and explore the wild outdoors, so the way we deal with these kinds of problems is to try and keep upland footpaths in a robust condition.

“That can be expensive, but fortunately we’ve been able to raise the necessary money from our members and supporters, bolstered by the funding we won in the EOCA poll.”

The path will remain open during the repair work which is expected to be completed by Christmas, though walkers were asked to avoid Blà Bheinn during the airlifts on October 17 which involved bringing in 100 tonnes of stone.

On top of this £45,000 investment, the Trust has also spent £2,000 on new interpretation boards recently installed at the Loch Slapin car park (pictured below).

Find out more about our Wild Ways Path Fund.