New role to help develop the ‘trip of a lifetime’ John O’Groats Trail which runs through part of Ross-shire

The John O’Groats Trail follows a coastal route to the far north. Photo: 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 trip of a lifetime”.

The village is a magnet for hundreds of ‘end to enders’ each year, but the successful candidate will need to broaden its appeal.

The fixed, full-time two-year contract is worth £31,907 to £35,000 a year – “with the potential for extension if successful”.

The Association of Northern Trails Scotland (ANTS) is asking 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 hiking trail. Help complete the ‘missing link’ in the walking trail to John O’Groats,” reads the advertisement from Friends of the John O’Groats Trail.

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

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

“The goal now is to advance the current base installation to achieve a safe, accessible and welcoming route with broad appeal not only to end-to-end users (Land’s End to John O’Groats) and users long distance, but also for weekends and day trips and for residents and visitors.

“This will require some sections with signage and interpretation, while others will require complete solutions, including the construction of paths, bridges, signage and interpretation/promotion, and the development of a control program for the vegetation.”

The successful applicant will “help promote the route to a wider audience” and “enhance engagement and joint working by building partnerships with land managers, farmers, smallholder farmers, communities and d ‘other affected groups’.

They will also need to “investigate options to maximize the route’s appeal to different user groups as the physical character changes from south to north and grow the membership base by building on current supporters, taking into account the potential benefits to members and the trail”.

Promotion of the trail through the press and media, social media, briefings and articles, and occasional discussions is a must, along with “walking (and possibly cycling) portions of the trail to identify needed improvements and plan projects.

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

The successful candidate must also be “ideally familiar” with the North East of Scotland and the trail, have experience of working with volunteers and experience or knowledge of Scottish access rights and responsibilities under land reform legislation.

The application deadline is April 4.

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