I have been a volunteer for Rannoch Paths and Open Space Group since moving into Highland Perthshire from Edinburgh in 2012.  At that time Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust were offering the community the opportunity to improve a very rough hillside path as well as creating a path from our major tourist resorts safely back into the village via a field margin. 

Work on the hillside path © Annie Benson

Bid Strachan from PKCT was and still is my contact point from the Trust.  Without her help and support through the years many of the exciting improvements to our paths around Rannoch wouldn’t have happened. 

In 2012 I gathered around me several locals who now form Rannoch Paths and Open Space group. A name we chose to reflect that we don’t just deal with designated paths around Kinloch Rannoch but work on various sites around Rannoch such as an overgrown graveyard and space at Rannoch Station.  

Annie Benson (Chair of RPOSG), Bob Benson, and Bid Strachan (PKCT Communities Officer) on newly upgraded path © Ian Biggs

PKCT's Bid Strachan with Annie Benson and Bob Benson at the All Abilities Riverside Path opening © Ian Biggs

I am a happy volunteer - as I live outside the village with no near neighbours, volunteering over the years has made a big difference to my integration into this community. I am the leader of the paths group, in charge of admin, grant hunting, tool buying and rallying the troops on a regular basis; Monday mornings about three times a month. Our group has grown to 14 strong men and women, most of us are over retiral age! Some Mondays there is a large turnout with people who can dig ditches, strim bracken and hammer in marker posts.  Other times there may only be four.  We choose tasks to match abilities but always have a good catch-up natter.  Sadly, the café isn’t open on Mondays, so we look forward our community HUB, opening next year.

This month we celebrate the first birthday of our new all abilities Riverside path. Although dreaming for 10 years of improving a rough path and steps down to our riverside it wasn’t until Bid Strachan PKCT stepped in to help us that things began to move. Due to Covid it took two years for her to obtain permissions, grant money and then contractors to complete the path which, while short has transformed the lives of visitors and locals who can now safely cycle, walk, wheel, run, and picnic on a riverside through woodland with birds, wildlife and wildflowers away from the log lorries driving through the village. The local health walk uses it regularly and our volunteers maintain it, clearing leaves and strim around the picnic area.

Annie Benson (Chair of RPOSG) with new Explore Kinloch Rannoch leaflet ©Bob Benson

Annie Benson, Chair of RPOSG, with the new Explore Kinloch Rannoch leaflet © Bob Benson

PKCT have helped us with several paths over the years. The latest “adventure” has been the creation of a village map “Explore Kinloch Rannoch Village Path Network.”  which shows eight paths covering 7 miles of different terrains all from the village. Visitors have been hungry for these and distribution to our tourism sites has only just started.  The paths are colour coded on the map and this week four of us started to fix colour coded directional discs out on the paths.