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Ramblers Scotland want volunteers to help map hidden paths in Aberdeenshire

By Lewis McBlane

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A WALKING charity wants help mapping Aberdeenshire's hidden paths.

Ramblers Scotland president Lucy Wallace checking a path.
Ramblers Scotland president Lucy Wallace checking a path.

Ramblers Scotland is looking for help improving its online map, which it calls the "best-ever".

Heath Brown, community engagement officer at Ramblers Scotland, said: “Our Scottish Paths Map includes tens of thousands of miles of paths – from traffic-free city routes to relaxing loch-side trails.

"Many are ‘hidden’ trails not previously been shown by Ordnance Survey.

“While it’s the best-ever map of Scotland’s paths, we need communities to check their paths, to work to improve local routes so everyone in the local community has somewhere to walk.

"That includes here in Aberdeenshire where our coverage can definitely still be improved so that more people can enjoy walks from their doorsteps.

“It’s easy and fun to record trails using our simple app.

"Every time a volunteer checks or adds a path to the map, it makes it easier for people in Aberdeenshire to get healthy and active on foot.”

The Scottish Paths Map is a free online resource, with hundreds of previously-hidden trails, including paths checked and recorded by over 200 Ramblers nationally.

More volunteers are needed, though to boost checking efforts in a few lesser-mapped areas, including Aberdeenshire.

Mr Brown said: “Scotland has amazing countryside and world-class access rights, yet sadly many paths do not appear on printed maps.

“Better mapping of the paths in Aberdeenshire can help give more people here the confidence and knowledge to get outdoors.

"We have a good number of path that have been checked in some places - like Bennachie and Forvie - but the map would benefit from in places including Peterhead, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Banff and Huntly."

Including tens of thousands of miles of paths, the Scottish Paths Map combines data collected by volunteers as well as from councils, national parks and charities.

It has already been viewed 61,000 times since launching last autumn.

Mr Brown highlighted the benefits of giving the project a helping hand by passing on local knowledge.

He said: “I’d urge all keen walkers in the area to consider volunteering.

"Whether you just check one trail, or add dozens of hidden paths, you’ll be leaving a lasting legacy that supports walking in Aberdeenshire.”

Ramblers Scotland offers a short free online training to all its mapping volunteers, as well as access to its free path checking software.

Scottish Paths Map users are urged to exercise caution and remember the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, particularly as path assessments will always be subjective.

Click here to view the map and volunteer.

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