Tough year for John O'Groats Trail as it looks forward to 2021
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The chairman of the John O’Groats Trail (JOGT) walking route talked about 2020 as a "trying year" but looks forward to increasing membership and employing a full-time trail manager next year.
An end-of-year round-up by Jay Wilson – chair of JOGT – included an admission that walking holidays had to "take a back seat" as more urgent priorities took hold.
"2020 was a tough year for the JOGT, as it was for almost everyone," said Mr Wilson.
"A few hardy souls did walk the trail long-distance – while the trail provided a welcome escape for locals wanting to go for a longer walk.
"Volunteer days were few, but we managed to do some good work. We hope to make 2021 a special year of renewal and advancement, and we would love to have your help."
Mr Wilson said that the organisation was looking to strengthen its membership and welcomes new members and area volunteers to help with maintaining the route.
"We're also working to fund a full-time trail manager position that will take pressure off our volunteers and add a more professional element to our organisation. This would be someone to perform both administrative functions such as overseeing contractors as well as coordinating volunteers and finding new sources of funding."
He went on to say that one of the "miracles" of 2020 was that several volunteers just appeared out of the blue – bringing inspiration and perspiration to keep the trail open.
"Due to current restrictions of course it's difficult to travel to the trail, and many accommodation providers may have shut down. But for people who live locally, the trail will provide a welcome location for exercise and a break from home life.
"Please exercise caution when walking the trail, as emergency services are stretched thin as it is. Respect any signs or requests from landowners. If you happen to meet someone on the trail, try to keep a two metre distance as you pass them."
For more information on JOGT please visit www.jogt.org.uk/
The group has also created a new funding page that donations can be sent to at www.jogt.org.uk/make-a-donation/