A major footpath repair programme has been completed on Scotland’s most easterly Munro.
The £200,000 project at Mount Keen, on the Glen Tanar Estate, lasted nearly 18 months.
Although the shortest route to Mount Keen is from Glen Esk in the south, by far the most picturesque is the longer approach from the north through the Caledonia pine forest in Glen Tanar – a route taken by many thousands of people each year.
As a result of the sheer volume of visitors, along with the notoriously cold, wet, windy weather, the popular upland way had fallen into serious disrepair.
It was highlighted as a top priority for repair as part of a project called The Mountains and The People, led by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland in collaboration with Glen Tanar Estate.
Eighteen months after work began, the Mount Keen upland path has been completely upgraded and is once again, ready for hill users.
Around 1900 meters of path has been restored using a host of upland path techniques and locally-sourced material at a cost approaching £200,000.
Keith Mackey, technical projects officer at the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, said: “The remote nature of the site and seasonal challenges presented by the weather, confined the majority of work to summer months.
“The work was carried out using a combination of machine and hand-build path teams with all materials being sourced on site.
“As a result of the teams’ skills and their use of natural materials, the path retains its traditional, rugged, upland aesthetic and with regular maintenance will serve hill users for years to come.”
Outdoors access, recreation and tourism are vital to upland Scotland, with mountain landscape providing one of the most significant national assets.
Officials says restoring the Mount Keen hill path has ensured that continued access to the popular area is not at the expense of the surrounding habitat.
The Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland was formed 20 years ago, to provide an independent organisation of charitable status, that could bring together key partners and develop sustainable outdoors access initiatives.
The main aim of the trust has been to preserve and protect, for the benefit of the public, natural heritage and environment by encouraging, developing and implementing the management of access.