COAT Adopt-A-Path Update

Dougie Baird, from the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust gave a lively explanation of their work to a good size audience during our NEMT November 2011 lecture. He started by describing their work on lower level paths, including those suitable for disabled access. He illustrated how they had successfully involved community groups in projects for community paths and went on to describe their work on higher mountain paths, building on the initial audit work. The start had been delayed while funding was secured but was now getting going. He finished by repeating the request for volunteers for COAT's Adopt-a-path scheme.

Dougie Baird trained as an environmental scientist and joined COAT from NTS in 2008 where he was project manager for "Scotland's Mountain Heritage Project" delivering this major Lottery funded path repair project in Torridon, Glencoe, Arran, Kintail and on Ben Lomond.

To recap, the idea is for volunteers to agree to survey / monitor upland paths once or twice a year. This will help COAT keep an idea of how their repaired paths are coping and will involve local people more directly with decisions on how to spend repair money.

A successful session was held at the Belmont Club on Wednesday 9th March to introduce eight volunteers to Boyd Henderson from COAT. Boyd explained that he wanted to work with us to develop something that was useful for COAT and yet not too onerous for the surveyors.

Various solutions were discussed and it was agreed that:

  1. We would hold a field training day on May 21st using the Lochnagar path up the Glas Allt as an example.
  2. We would encourage people to pair up initially to both make the outing more enjoyable and to give mutual support when allocating severity indices to features needing repair.
  3. In the early stages, no manual work at all will be involved. Later, if people wish, we might discuss possible cleaning of blocked water bars.
  4. We would make sure that the survey checklists would give sufficient detail of path features that people wouldn't have to use a GPS if they didn't want to. Map references would be provided for those that wanted to check positions that way.
  5. Survey reports would be sent in to COAT by email in a standardised format to simplify both reporting and also data storage and retention.

At the end, we all felt that we had something that could be made to work and that would produce useful information. We left, looking forward to the May training day. And to find out more and / or come along, please send an email to:

David Windle, Chairman

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