Supporting the Dava Way
The Dava Way only exists because of the dedicated work of an enthusiastic band of volunteers who have given their time and skills freely over many years. However, volunteer work only goes so far and these folk need tools, equipment and materials and all these costs money – lots of money!
Volunteer with the Dava Way
The Dava Way needs people first – people to go on work parties to clear under growth, remove fallen trees, repair gates, smooth surfaces and maintain the drains. This last is one of the most important as water is an ever-present problem which turns the surface to mud and sometimes causes the whole surface to erode when heavy rain leads to running water across or even along the path.
In addition to the Work Party volunteers we are also very grateful to the “back room” people who complete funding applications, liaise with landowners, raise funds, liaise with regulatory bodies, manage the meetings, take minutes, complete Charity returns, give talks about the Dava Way, create and maintain this website and the active Facebook group, arrange and organise the work parties. If you would like to help with this sort of work please do get in touch – you would be very welcome indeed!
You can find out more about volunteering with the Dava Way here and on our Facebook Group. We always need more people – both on our work parties but also for the other jobs such as event volunteers and fund raisers. If you would like to offer your time and skills please do get in touch we really, really need to hear from you! That means anything from some occasional time on a computer maintaining records, promoting the Dava Way on social media, updating the website and keeping in touch with well-wishers and even raising funds in various ways. Of course if you feel able to come along and get hands-on with a Work Party that would be wonderful.
Funding the Dava Way
The Association does not receive any support from the Council or Government though it does seek funding from various sources for improvement projects and substantial funds are required to maintain the path. For example, to improve around 100m of the rougher sections of the track or repair those bits which have been scoured by heavy rain takes a team of 5 or 6 volunteers around a day and costs over £300 (materials and volunteer time). Worn steps at the Skurrypool Bridge were replaced with a new ramp 4 years ago at a cost of almost £10,000 and in 2022, fitting a solid floor to cover the metal lattice on AJs Bridge cost £2,000. In 2023, depending on funding, the Association is looking to replace the access path at Dallas Dhu Distillery with a disabled-friendly ramp that will cost over £80,000: maintaining and improving the Dava Way is a never-ending task, much like painting the Forth Bridge and the Association needs your support, both financial and volunteer effort.
In addition to materials, the Association needs funds to buy and maintain equipment such as spades, brush cutters, chain saws, loppers, strimmers, the whacker plate (it has a flat plate underneath and hammers the path flat after we have laid the subbase material). Moving all this equipment to the places it is needed requires a big four wheeled trailer towed by four wheel drive vehicles owned by some of our volunteers. There are times when the work that needs doing is on a scale where volunteer work is not enough and we commission contractors but they cost serious money, even when we are offered favourable rates by friendly local firms. In October 2022 we trialled a week long work party using a hired Bobcat digger to get to grips with the drainage issues in the Clashdhu Cutting. This was a success but required a lot of man power to keep up with the work the digger was doing. Currently we are investigating using the equipment owned by our volunteers but this is proving an insurance minefield!
The Dava Way is hugely grateful to the various funding bodies that have been so generous over the years and without whom the Dava Way would not exist. They have provided large sums of money, often over many years, and allowed us provide better signage, purchase equipment and large amounts of materials. These materials include a special mix of graded stones (called sub base) that we spread on the path and whack down to top off with a smoother quarry dust surface. We use tonnes of sub base every year!
The Dava Way is also very grateful for the excellent relationship we have with the landowners who actually own the Dava Way and the land around. These estates have often gone out of their way to help and support the work we do including providing staff time and equipment, allowing us to store materials in strategic places and giving us access across their lands to get on to and off the path with our vehicles.
If you are short of time to support the Dava Way directly, then we would really appreciate your donations to continue funding improvements to the route to a standard befitting one of Scotland’s Great Trails. If you are able to make a donation you can make it worth even more by letting us claim Gift Aid. Please download and fill in this Gift Aid form and send it to us.