Mending Paths and Protecting Arctic-Alpine Habitat on Carn Liath, Scotland

Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland conserves and protects natural heritage and environment by encouraging, developing and implementing access management projects




 
Carn Liath
Carn Liath

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The Project

Beinn a’Ghlo in the Cairngorms has an arctic-alpine mountain environment with tundra like characteristics and long-lasting snow patches. These characteristics combined with the steep hillsides, friable soil and fragile vegetation cover makes this upland area particularly susceptible to erosion from even a relatively small number of users. Beinn a’Ghlo has been designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, recognising the importance of the area for conservation and wildlife.

As well as the species-rich Nardus grasslands, Petrifying Springs, Alpine and Boreal heaths and European dry heaths to be found, it is also home to several species of upland ground nesting birds, five of which are endangered, including the Curlew, whose breeding population in the UK has declined by 62% in recent years. The increase in the popularity of hillwalking has led to informal paths developing, causing the destruction of wildlife habitats, particularly in upland areas. Carn Liath on Beinn a’Ghlo is a priority due to the extent of existing and potential for more, significant damage and requires a major path repair with light-touch techniques in some of the lower sections and a fully built path higher up the hillside, combatting erosion and encouraging re-vegetation.
 
Footpath and Habitat Damage
Footpath and Habitat Damage
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage