Big changes on the Fairy Hill
Repairing paths and preparing for visitors at East Schiehallion
The new Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership easy access Foss Loop route, completed in December last year is now open. This 1.5km path with stone surface, a section of boardwalk – plus five new interpretation boards installed in March - connects land owned by Forestry and Land Scotland and Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust with that owned by the John Muir Trust at East Schiehallion. The path wasn’t fully safe for visitors until early July, due to damage caused by February’s storm Ciara and delays to the repairs caused by lockdown restrictions.
Early summer also saw the Trust begin working on repairing the mountain path – work made possible thanks to the support of our Schiehallion Path Appeal. Contract manager Chris York and Arran Footpaths Ltd prepared stone and aggregate from a borrow pit lower down on the mountain for repairing the path surface.
In late July, a helicopter crew worked alongside path contractors to transport 80 bags of stone and 160 bags of aggregate next to the path ready for the repair work to begin. The path was shut for safety reasons, with the general public very understanding of the need for the work.
Chris York said: “Staff and volunteers have worked hard to keep the path in good condition by regularly clearing drains and carrying out maintenance. Over time, available materials like stone and aggregate close to the path have been used up, so we were at the point where additional material had to be brought in.
“The combination of mountain weather and more than 40,000 feet using the route every year means that maintenance will always be needed, but this work should future proof us for the next few years.”
As lockdown eased, visitors to the area multiplied and the car park overflowed. As a result, Perth and Kinross council have declared the road to Braes of Foss a clearway and no roadside parking is permitted. If you are visiting the area and find the car park full, please have a plan B in mind.
Photography by Liz Auty and Chris York