JOGT News vol. 4 no. 2: The Appeal of Summer

Hi Everyone!

It has been an amazing time for the trail since the last newsletter in March! But I know you are all busy enjoying the wonderful summer, so I will keep this short. Just a few highlights, and a very important appeal for donations to fund a trail ranger for next year.

To give, please follow this link:

Highlights of the Spring and Summer so far

It has been four months since the last newsletter. The highlights since that time are:

– We are very lucky to announce three Patrons of the trail: Jamie Stone MP, Lord Thurso (Lord Lieutenant of Caithness and Chair of Visit Scotland), and Maree Todd MSP (and member of Scottish Government). All three live near the trail or have connections to it, and we are thrilled to have them all involved.

– On 23 June, Highland Councillor Nicola Sinclair sponsored a motion (co-sponsored by Karl Rosie and Matthew Reiss) to commit the Council to making the Trail a series of core paths as sections become suitable, which will protect the status of the Trail.

– Harvey Maps (the main UK long-distance trail mapping company) have printed a map of the trail for distribution UK-wide. The Friends have copies of the map we are able to distribute for a suggested donation of £15 including UK shipping, or £10 if you can come pick it up from Berriedale, Wick, or possibly other locations. If you are interested please reply to this email.

– Cicerone have given the go-ahead to publishing a guide book for the trail. Cicerone is the leading UK trail guidebook company. Publication expected in 2020.

– On 18 and 25 March, over a dozen volunteers built a bridge across the Ousdale Burn north of Helmsdale. This was a milestone event for the trail, as it improved one of our most difficult stages and made it safer for walkers in this remote area.

– On 17 June, the Caithness Conservation Volunteers helped cut a way through over 100 metres of whin (gorse) at Bruan, improving access for trail users.

– We are applying for funding for a trail ranger pilot programme for next year. (See below.)

– Trail usage has increased again this year, with walkers coming from all over Europe and from as far away as North America and Australia. Many of our users are walking LEJOG or JOGLE.

Our appeal for donations for a Ranger programme

We are making an application for approximately £50,000 in funding, most of which will come from the LEADER fund, which is a European Union-based fund. Because of Brexit, the fund is ceasing operations earlier than originally planned, and our application is going in in the last round. Caithness LEADER allows up to 90% funding, which means as little as 10% match funding, but this means we still need to raise £5000 from other sources. The Scottish Ramblers (£2000) and Subsea 7 (£1000) have both made generous commitments, but we need £2000 more in order to obtain the grant.

I myself believe that £2000 is a very reasonable amount to try to raise this summer. We have an amazing coastline and a inspiring story about building a trail along it, and we have seen so much interest already. If you can give just a little toward this goal, working together we will accomplish it. Keep in mind that each pound you give will become £10 through match funding, and also shows community support for the trail which will help with the grant application.

The funding will for the most part go to support a full-time ranger position for the trail. The ranger will lead walks, give talks, and generally introduce as many locals and visitors to the trail as possible. They will also help with developing the trail for the future with volunteer days and other works, and identifying works needed in future. The funding will also buy tools and materials for trail use. This will take the trail “to the next level” by introducing a professional element to our operation.

To give, please follow this link:

Data Protection

One last note: the General Data Protection Regulation came into force since our last newsletter. My understanding is that the GDPR requirements are really a common-sense approach: we will not use your contact details and any other data in any way you didn’t agree to, and we will protect your details as we would our own. If at any point you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please just reply to a newsletter and state your wishes. Of course, it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that your details will never be sold or otherwise passed on to any other organisation.