Assurances have been given that works to upgrade a path from Falkland to the summit of East Lomond will be sympathetic to the natural landscape.
Local man Bob Beveridge had expressed fears that a project to lay hardcore on the path he has taken from the rear of the Smith Anderson factory on to the hillside for years, could “desecrate” the landscape and could, potentially, prove dangerous if iced over in winter.
He was also concerned that the work was going ahead without any consultation with the community.
The hillrunner who is now in his 70s said: “I have used that path every day for years and never had any problems. Not that long ago they created proper steps which filled with water and iced over in the winter. This is a steep path and that will happen again if any hard flat surface is laid.”
However, Ed Heather-Hayes, programme manager for the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership (LLLP) which is carrying out the works, said the material causing concern to Mr Beveridge was only going as far as the Falkland steps.
He said: “This path was selected for upgrading as part of the LLLP project. We recognise that this is a sensitive environment and do not wish to cause any unnecessary damage or leave an eyesore. The path was badly eroded and treacherous in wet conditions. This was unsafe and led to users by-passing the bad bits causing further erosion or braiding of the hillside.
“Our objective is to create a safe and durable path that is fit for purpose and accessible to as many users of varying abilities. By creating a narrow surfaced path with adequate drainage, we are removing barriers, protecting the wider area from erosion and the user from injury.
“The whinstone Type 1 material is only being laid as far as the top of Falkland steps. Across the open hill from here we have selected a quarried material of a colour that is more in keeping with the natural surroundings.
‘‘So it will not stand out to the same degree.”