Stranraer Rotary Club

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Making connections to join up ‘Adopt A Path’ projects

 

Name of Access Authority: Dumfries and Galloway

Name of Group: Rotary Club of Stranraer

Location: Stranraer Area

Project: Create and help to maintain Loch Ryan Coastal Path and Mull of Galloway Trail

Key points: Joined up thinking

                      Making good use of skills, experience and contacts of group members

                      Knowing where to get help 

 

About the Rotary Club of Stranraer…

The Club arranged for the construction of the Loch Ryan Coastal Path from Stranraer to Glenapp Church, about 11 miles north of Stranraer. Following the completion of the Coastal Path the Club also organised the development of a further, more ambitious route of 24 miles south from Stranraer to Mull of Galloway.

The project involved obtaining the necessary permissions from landowners and tenants and finance as well as physical work by some of the Club’s members. It was opened in summer 2009 linking up with the coastal path to Skelmorlie in North Ayrshire which was established by the Rotary Club of Ayr.

The Club are now involved in helping to look after the (‘their’) path and are a great example of the Adopt A Path approach.

Finding resources (people, money, tools and materials, training, time)

People

One of the main reasons for the success of the project was the mobilisation and co-ordination of a range of people with relevant skills from the Club and other organisations. For example, a friend of one of the club member’s was a retired roads engineer who was able to deal with issues such as specifications, bills of quantities, managing a competitive tendering process and project management.

Given the scale of the project the Club had a member who had overall responsibility for the initial project and organisation of ongoing maintenance.

The project had the support of Dumfries and Galloway Council with various sections involved in the planning and completion of the project particularly the Outdoor Access Officer and Ranger Service. Local council and Parliamentary politicians were canvassed and their support harnessed for the benefit of the project.

Although many of the Rotary Club had the skills and experience to manage an ‘Adopt A Path’ type project some were no longer able to get involved in heavy, physical work. By working with the Justice Department groups of Community Services workers were brought in to help.

There is a formal reporting procedure in place along with a six monthly inspection of the route. A register is kept of maintenance requirements and action taken. Maintenance is also carried out on an ‘as it is needed’ basis with reports of damage/ other problems coming in via word of mouth, email or phone calls.

Money

The group has received grant support from various bodies such as SNH and the Landfill Community Fund along with local sources. This money was essentially used to get the path built but the club also used some of the funding for path promotion. A condition of the SNH grant was that the club had to agree to ensure the path was maintained for ten years from the work being completed. The club has also purchased a small stock of tools and equipment to help with maintenance tasks.

Funding for the Mull of Galloway Trail came from the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER programme, Awards for All, various Trusts and ‘in-kind’ contributions from Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Rotary Club itself.

Tools and materials

A heavy duty strimmer was bought to help keep the path clear of vegetation. Along with the tools purchased by the Club, individual members bring their own (sometimes specialised) tools to particular tasks as needed. The Club is also fortunate to have built up very good public relations locally which has resulted in materials being contributed ‘in-kind’ to the upkeep of the path.

Sometimes tools and materials are required quickly to deal with ‘emergencies’. For example, installing signage for alternative routes during and after flooding.

Training

What to look for during path inspections was a key need. For example, on one inspection the main problem identified related to catches on kissing gates. The catches were greased, adjusted and/or replaced on a subsequent work visit. When the Club was looking at the Mull of Galloway Trail members carried out surveys along the proposed route to ascertain number of gates, waymarkers and other required materials an work.

Time

Most of the maintenance work is carried out at week-ends and summer evenings. However, there is also ‘behind the scenes’ tasks involving applications for funding and planning meetings, phone calls and emails dealing with many of the issues covered in the ‘Organisation’ section of the Tool kit.

Plans for the Future

Current plans centre around looking after the paths that have been created. The Club also will be maintaining waymarkers and information panels that have been installed and will continue to promote the routes via the updating of leaflets.

The Club has also linked with neighbouring Rotary Clubs to eventually help create and adopt a long distance route stretching from Mull of Galloway to Cape Wrath. Plans are to brand this as part of the Scottish section of the International Appalachian Trail. See www.iat-sia.com for further details.

Lessons Learned

Having people who can bring relevant skills and experience is invaluable. If you don’t have anyone in your particular group with these skills then don’t be afraid to ask elsewhere.

1. Along with ad hoc/emergency repairs carry out a thorough inspection of  your adopted path at least twice a year.

2. By joining forces with other groups there can be a very positive ‘win-win’ partnership to help plug either skill or ‘muscle’ gaps and also to deliver objectives and aspirations of several groups.

3. Whilst there are plenty of sources of funding, completing the various application forms and ensuring all funding requirements are met takes a lot of time, knowledge and skill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh