A group of volunteers have upgraded their local walking paths with the help of a charity grant.
The Lumphanan Paths Group aimed to make the local walking paths safer and more accessible while spreading awareness of the routes.
The grant has been put towards signposting a five-and-a-half mile route following the Old Military Road from Tullochvenus to Kincardine O’Neill on the Deeside Way. The group has also been able to create a leaflet to share information about the routes and the local history.
Linda Gray, chairwoman of Lumphanan Paths Group, said: “The upgrade of the old military road took one year to complete due to challenges with lockdown.
“The year-long work included: the installation of metal ‘finger’ direction signs, timber posts with way-marking arrow discs, fencing, general maintenance and the creation of the information leaflet – which details the seven different routes.
“We had to work individually or in groups of two due to the restrictions. A lot of the time we had to think outside of the box, as work that may require a few pair of hands to help, most of the time had to be done alone.
“The group enlisted the help of the local community with around 10 additional volunteers helping out over the course of the project. Everyone brought a different skill, and it was nice to see individuals muck in for a common cause during a difficult year.”
‘The route often went unnoticed before the project started’
Ms Gray said there had been an “influx” of people using the upgraded routes and said they were all delighted with the outcome of the project.
“It is great to see our hard work appreciated by the local community,” she said.
“There has been such a range of people making use of the paths from all different ages – we’ve even been able to encourage some teenagers to walk the full route instead of playing on their Xbox.
“The route often went unnoticed before the project started and it was a real shame as the scenic beauty is amazing, from wildlife spotting to spectacular views of the Cairngorms.
“The health and well-being benefits that come from being outside in nature are endless so if we can encourage even some of the local community to get out and enjoy the Lumphanan landscape then it will have been worth our time.”
Paths for All
Paths for All is a Scottish charity that aims to promote walking for health and the development of path networks across the country.
The charity are supported by the Scottish Government and have awarded £65,459 worth of grants to 33 groups who have worked to improve their local paths.
The funding can be used for structural improvements, installing signage and hiring tools or contractors, as well as promoting hidden routes and improving biodiversity.
Rona Gibb, senior manager at Paths for All, said: “Having safe and accessible local greenspace is so central when it comes to keeping us active and connecting with nature and our community.
“The work of volunteers improving their local path network is invaluable, and is fundamental to encouraging more people to walk every day and everywhere.”