The Adopt a Path scheme was initially piloted by what was then called the Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust – now the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) – to help monitor upland paths in the Eastern Cairngorms. The scheme was extended during OATS’s 2015 to 2020 project The Mountains and The People project to cover mountain paths in Scotland’s two national parks, Cairngorm National Park and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

The scheme asks volunteers to inspect and report on the condition of their chosen ‘adopted’ path once or twice a year. Using the information gathered by volunteers, the project partners will engage path contractors and volunteer work parties to help maintain paths so that people can continue to enjoy the hills with the minimum impact on this fragile environment.

Paths can be adopted by individuals or groups (such as hill walking clubs). Some paths are shorts sections, others are from car park to summit; some paths are in remote locations, others more easily accessible. Once registered, volunteers can choose which path they would like to adopt, from the list of available routes.

All Adopt a Path volunteers will receive training and support to undertake their surveys in a safe manner which provides the type of information we require to ensure these iconic paths are maintained for generations to come.

Adopt a Path volunteers should have the following skills and experience:
– be used to spending time outdoors
– be experienced hill walkers
– have good physical fitness
– be self-reliant in mountain / upland environments
– be confident lone working
– have good health and safety awareness.

If you are interested in becoming an Adopt a Path volunteer or would like more information please contact OATS’ Activity Project Officer at shona@outdooraccesstrustforscotland.org.uk.

As spring approaches, we will be looking for volunteers to adopt paths in Cairngorm National Park and we plan to expand the scheme through Scotland to cover other areas OATS have been working in such as Skye and the west Highlands. For more information about OATS’s current projects, and details of the TMTP project see our website.