worker laying stone on Quinag path
The skilled path contractors at ACT Heritage have completed stonework and cross drains to help stabilise sections that have deteriorated into crumbling and loose morasses. © Chris Puddephatt

A popular route up one of our most iconic hills will be easier for walkers, and less damaging to the mountain, thanks to work that has just been completed by the John Muir Trust on Quinag. It was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, through the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership scheme, and through the generosity of John Muir Trust members through the Wild Ways Path Appeal. 

The work was undertaken by ACT Heritage and managed by the John Muir Trust, who maintain the mountain’s extensive path network which provides access to the summit and stunning views over the peaks and lochans of Sutherland, and beyond.

Quinag’s accessibility and location on the North Coast 500 route make it a particularly popular hill for walkers, and its footpath has seen an ever-increasing footfall in recent years, particularly through the summer of 2020 with increased visitors to the site after the Covid-19 lockdown. Owned and managed by the John Muir Trust, Quinag covers 3,699 hectares of the Assynt–Coigach National Scenic Area in Sutherland and has been describes as a walker’s paradise with its great views and three distinctive peaks. 

Despite a lot of previous repair work, there were still eroded patches which needed repairing to prevent further damage. So, in 2020 the Trust started work on the steep path towards the Sail Gharbh summit and in December, the final ascent – a 70-metre section of very badly eroded path – was restored and upgraded. 

“Airlifting 30 tonnes of stone from the opposite face of the mountain was a mammoth task” said Romany Garnett, John Muir Trust’s Quinag Conservation Officer, who helps manage the site. “But we’re confident that the stone pitching in place now provides walkers with a much safer and more robust route to the summit”.

Lower down the hill, a small team of John Muir Trust staff and volunteers have been working very hard to repair and resurface the beginning section of the stalkers path which had also become eroded and very muddy in places.

“This isn’t the end of our work though” says Romany, “We have plans in place to continue with a programme of repairs and upgrades as soon as funding allows”.

Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape

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