Major path restoration work begins in Skye's Glen Sligachan

Trust to spend £200k on footpath over Druim Hain to Loch Coruisk

Chris goodman   helicopter airlift at druim hain detail

Arran Footpath Partnership, a specialist path contractor which employs some local labour, has just started work on a major restoration project deep in the heart of Glen Sligachan on Skye.

The work has been commissioned by the John Muir Trust and will take place over several years, at a total cost of around £200,000. The Trust is appealing for public support via donations to its Wild Ways Footpath Appeal.

The first phase is focused on a remote site 8km from Sligachan, where surface water, combined with footfall, has created a bare gully 7km long, up to 7m wide and nearly 1m deep. This will involve three and half months work, extending into 2016, and will cost around £70,000 including helicopter lifts (Thursday 15 October and Friday 16 October) by Oban-based Skyhook Helicopters.

The second phase is scheduled to start in October 2016, with the final stage expected in 2017.

Chris Goodman Footpath officer for the John Muir Trust said: “Glen Sligachan is a dramatic wild place where you feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It lingers in the memory of all those who visit.

“But in heavy rain, water cascades down the path line and, with no vegetation or roots to hold the soil together,  more and more of the ground is being washed away exposing loose scree. The resulting scar is already visible from the slopes of nearby Bla Bheinn,  and is growing longer, wider and deeper year on year.

“The repair work aims to reduce the visibility of the  path within the wider landscape, and to reduce trampling and exposure of peat on the Sligachan Peatlands, a Special Area of Conservation.

“Although the work will involve the construction of man-made features such as steps and drains, our plan is to construct these in a more organic style. We’ve also chosen a natural meandering line for the path so it will blend into the landscape, with more natural contours.”

Work at Druim Hain follows on from similar work on Bla Bheinn last year, where the path had become even more gullied. The successful restoration project involved reducing a 7m wide watercourse into a more natural path, with rocks set and angled to reduce future erosion.

To find out more about the footpath work carried out by the John Muir Trust, see the short film, Wild Ways

This work could not have started without the generosity of hundreds of individuals who have donated to the Trust’s Wild Ways Path Fund, as well as specific support from HF Holidays, The Brown Forbes Memorial Fund, and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.