Work begins on new low level path beneath Schiehallion

Easy access path will enable people of all abiliites to experience the beautiful landscape at the foot of the fairy hill

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The John Muir Trust in partnership with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) and Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust (HPCLT) has begun work on a new footpath at Schiehallion that will offer visitors a completely different experience of the surrounding mountain landscape.

Currently, around 20,000 people walk up Schiehallion each year and the first section of the existing route was designed to be easy access. With this section now requiring resurfacing, the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership ­– which brings together seven local organisations from the public, private and third sectors – decided to look at options for a low-level, circular route.

With an easy access path and boardwalk, the new low-level route will offer a fulfilling way of enjoying the countryside and viewing Schiehallion for people who want an alternative to walking up the mountain but would still like to visit this wild place.

The 1km walk starts and finishes at the Braes of Foss car park and crosses forestry land as well as community-owned woodland on Dun Coillich, managed by HPCLT, linking with the existing Schiehallion path to form a loop.

The path will comprise boardwalk and stone chips and will include seating along its length. New interpretation boards will provide information on wildlife and archaeology plus details on the Heart of Scotland Forest project. There is abundant birdlife along the route, especially on early spring mornings when the calls of black grouse may be heard along with the songs of the willow warbler, cuckoo and whinchat that breed in the area.

From Friday 27 September, contractors are using part of the Braes of Foss car park as a works compound, which means that the number of available spaces will be temporarily reduced. There will also be delivery of materials by heavy lorries through the car park between the hours of 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Liz Auty, the John Muir Trust’s East Schiehallion Land Manager said: “We are really excited about this project that will allow people of all abilities to experience the hills and enable us to hold educational and public events together with our neighbours, Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust and Forestry and Land Scotland.

“In the meantime, we hope visitors will be patient and make allowances for the necessary disruption. We would ask drivers to park considerately ensuring that there is no impediment to either local traffic or delivery lorries entering and leaving the car park."

The Trust is raising money for the project via its Wild Ways path appeal and has also secured funding for the project from the Scottish Government and European Union through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme Improving Public Access Fund.