Environmental Projects at Goatfell
This habitat improvement project seeks to restore two areas of upland peat bog and will have a significant impact on the local environment: improving the habitat for moorland birds such as the hen harrier and short-eared owl, as well as myriad insects and carnivorous plants; capturing carbon, as a functioning bog captures and stores forty times more carbon than a forest; and preventing flooding, as upland bogs hold ninety percent of their weight in water, releasing it slowly over time.
At Coire a’Bhradhain, ditches were dug across the bog during the 1950s with the aim of improving grazing on the moorland. These ditches have partially drained the bog, and the Trust plans to build dams across the ditches to raise the water table reestablish the area as a functioning peat bog. This technique has been successfully implemented elsewhere on Goatfell. In the Glen Rosa habitat restoration zone, the Trust will reprofile peat hags, re-vegetating eroded areas. This work reduces the erosion rate of the upland bog system, which has been exacerbated by overgrazing and the climate. $21,250
The National Trust for Scotland cares for over 270 miles of upland paths, providing access to 187,800 acres of glorious Scottish landscape. Footpaths must withstand Scotland’s temperamental climate, including rain, frost, snow, gales, floods, and even occasionally blazing sunshine. Without dedicated management, footpaths will erode and scar the landscape, leading to irreversible damage on Scotland’s magnificent mountains.
Using locally-sourced materials, the Trust works by hand or helicopter to make minimal visual impact but to ensure the safety of visitors and protect the land from erosion. Donations to the Footpath Fund help to repair, improve, and conserve footpaths that reach into some of the most beautiful, wild places in Scotland, including Glencoe, Ben Lomond, Torridon, the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall, and Goatfell on the Isle of Arran.
Intensive footpath repairs are required to restore erosion damage on Goatfell, Arran’s most popular mountain. The main path is used by a wide range of walkers, from casual visitors to keen mountaineers. An increase in walkers has caused widespread erosion on a section of path that follows the main ridge through a boulder field. The path here is indistinct, and walkers tend to meander across the whole slope. Erosion started by walkers’ boots is exacerbated by rainfall, resulting a in a loss of soil and vegetation across a wide area. The Trust will define one robust path, restoring the pathway with on-site materials by building up the path edge and surface to create a sensitive and sustainable path line. Drainage will be key to the restoration’s success, and innovative solutions will need to be considered to shed water while retaining the rugged character of the mountain. Restoration of the mountain vegetation will take place in a second phase of the project. $38,500