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New role to help develop 'journey of a lifetime' John O'Groats Trail which passes through swathe of Ross-shire

By John Davidson

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The John O'Groats Trail follows a coastal route to the far north. Picture: John Davidson
The John O'Groats Trail follows a coastal route to the far north. Picture: John Davidson

A "rare opportunity" has arisen for a trail developer to help improve a long-distance route to John O'Groats to "complete the journey of a lifetime".

The village is a magnet for hundreds of "end to enders" each year but the successful applicant will be expected to widen its appeal.

The fixed, full-time two-year contract is worth £31,907 to £35,000 a year – "with potential to extend if successful".

The Association of Northern Trails Scotland (ANTS) requires a John O’Groats Trail developer to work on the next stages of the 147-mile walking route from Inverness to John O’Groats.

"A rare opportunity to build a new long-distance walking trail. Help complete the 'missing link' in the walking route to John O'Groats," says the advert by the Friends of the John O'Groats Trail.

"You will lead a small charity’s efforts to make the John O'Groats Trail ready for a generation of walkers from around the world… to explore the far north of Scotland and to complete the journey of a lifetime.

"Prior experience in trail development, charity management, fundraising, and volunteer coordination desired. Residency in the region of the trail will be a practical necessity.

"The goal now is to progress the current basic facility to achieve a safe, accessible and welcoming route throughout with wide appeal not only to end-to-enders (Land’s End to John O'Groats) and long-distance users but also for weekenders and day trips and for both residents and visitors.

"This will require some sections with waymarking and interpretation, whilst others will need full-build solutions including path construction, bridges, waymarking and interpretation/promotion, and the development of a programme of vegetation control."

The successful applicant will "help promote the route to a wider audience," and "improve engagement and joint working building partnerships with land managers, farmers, crofters, communities and other relevant groups".

They will also have to "investigate options for maximising the appeal of the route to different user groups as the physical character changes from south to north and increase the membership base building on current supporters, taking account of potential benefits to members and the trail."

Promoting the trail through press and media, social media, briefings and articles, and occasional talks is a must as well as "walk (and possibly cycle) portions of the trail in order to identify needed improvements and plan projects".

Considered essential are "a self-motivated individual with a strong background in complex project management, experience of trail development or comparable, e.g. countryside access or visitor management, proven track record in fundraising and good working knowledge of public and private funding sources, evidence of successful partnership working and community engagement, experience of trail promotion and marketing or comparable work as well as excellent verbal and written communication with experience of public speaking."

The successful candidate should also be "ideally familiar" with the north-east of Scotland and with the trail, have experience of working with volunteers and experience or knowledge of Scottish access rights and responsibilities under land reform legislation.

The deadline for applications is April 4.

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