We are sad to note the passing of George MacQuarrie, on 27 June 2017. George was our previous National Secretary, retiring from ScotWays in 2014. There will be a tribute to George in our annual report later this year. His wife, Edith, and family are in our thoughts.
Latest news stories from ScotWays.
This matter has now progressed to the Sheriff Court and ScotWays has just heard that a hearing has been fixed for 6th to 13th November.
A further update will be provided once the outcome of the hearing is known.
The ScotWays office will be closed on Friday 14th April 2017 and reopen on Tuesday 18th April 2017.
General rights of way and access enquiries: We are currently receiving a large number of enquiries, and we are working hard to answer as many as possible before the Easter break. Unfortunately, we will not manage to respond to everyone, in which case we apologise for the delay in our response. If you are concerned not to have heard from us, please do feel free to drop us a reminder via post or email and we will be in touch once the office has re-opened
Rights of way searches for solicitors, land managers and developers: We are currently just meeting our target of responding to all rights of way search requests within 5 working days of receiving them in our office, unless another deadline has been agreed. As our office will be closed over Easter, search requests received after Thursday 7th April may not be completed until after the holiday. If your search request is urgent, please contact us to discuss when we will be able to complete it.
Exciting and varied walks programme announced for 2017
GUIDED walks are one of the great advantages enjoyed by ScotWays members, and this year’s exciting programme may be our best yet, with a superb range of routes for all abilities. For 2017 we have expanded our routes to feature more challenging walks, including a weekend in the Cairngorms. Members benefit from the experience of guides on all these routes, ensuring you get the best from every walk. Why not join ScotWays and come along?
We begin in the west of Scotland on Wednesday 5th April. with an ascent of Knock Hill near Largs, promising spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the Cumbraes and Bute, followed later in the month by an ascent of Tinto near Biggar. Tinto, a small but prominent hill in an isolated position, was historically used as a signal station. Its outstanding location gives superb views from Arran and Kintyre in the west to the Grampians further north.
The beautifully remote but easily accessible Lammermuir Hills will be visited in May, with a breathtaking circular walk starting at Whiteadder Reservoir. The vast rolling moorland here is riven with dramatic river courses and hidden valleys, and it is easy to see why this area was so popular with our prehistoric ancestors - the remains of their ancient stone buildings can still be seen dotted across the landscape.
Our most challenging routes this year, in the Cairngorms, take place over a weekend in June, with dramatic ascents and a ridge walk from Glenmore Lodge amongst some of Scotland’s most outstanding scenery. The second of these two days is easier, for those who prefer to enjoy their walk at a gentler pace.
ScotWays has stretched the term “weekend” for our July outing, which includes a Friday. The rich and varied landscapes around the Angus glens are our destination, and begin with a celebration. It is 130 years since The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society successfully challenged a landowner and proved the existence of a right of way in Glen Doll, and the “weekend” marks this occasion with a ten mile circular walk taking in Jock’s Road, as well as visit to Loch Brandy.
By way of contrast, our varied programme this year also includes a walk near the Fife coast. This circular route from Newburgh, in August, with an easy 200m ascent, offers vistas across the Tay and Earn valley.
We close our programme in September, with two walks, the first of these from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park at Balloch. This route follows the charming River Leven then turns uphill to head past Carman Reservoir to Overton and Bromley Muirs. Dog lovers are welcome to join the final walk on Saturday 23rd September, a circular route taking in Crieff and Comrie. This is the longest walk of the year, at 15 miles, and there is an option for participants to go half the distance if feet (or paws) get tired.
Many ScotWays members have already signed up for this attractive and varied programme - four walks are already fully booked and operating a waiting list. Please see the links to individual walks to find out more:
Members already booked who need to drop out nearer the time are kindly asked to let the ScotWays office know as soon as possible, so we can free up places for others. Those wishing to join a waiting list are encouraged get in touch, in the event places become available.
With such an exciting programme ahead for 2017, we look forward to hearing from you.
Our AGM in November saw the retirement of two ScotWays stalwarts, Honorary Vice-President Philip Lawson and Chairman George Menzies. Over the years ScotWays has benefited from the long and dedicated service of many staff and Directors, but these two have an exceptional record of over half-a-century as Directors between them.
Philip was been a Director of ScotWays since 1981 – yes, that’s 35 years – and Hon. Vice-President since 2010. His role on the Board was always that of a quiet voice of astute judgement, informed by exceptionally wide field knowledge of Scotland. He’s one of those hugely committed activists in the Scottish countryside movement who over decades filled multiple roles in varied organisations – we would mention only Donald Moir, Willie Ferris and Donald Bennet among those associated with ScotWays. Philip was Chairman of the Scottish Youth Hostels Association for over 20 years, earning a hugely deserved MBE along the way, and also served as Treasurer of the Gatliff Trust that runs simple hostels in the Hebrides. We should also record that over the years Philip saved ScotWays a substantial amount of money in room fees, by quietly arranging for us to have access to meeting rooms in successive Edinburgh Youth Hostels. We wish him a very well-deserved and peaceful retirement from ScotWays.
Compared to Philip, George is a mere fly-by-night, having become a Director of the Society in 2001 but rising rapidly through the ranks, as his expertise and commitment deserved, to become Vice-Chair in 2002 and Chairman in 2004. We have benefited hugely from his legal expertise and his genial but always judicious Chairing of Board meetings and AGMs – even though he sometimes couldn’t entirely conceal the fact that his emotions were tied up with events at Murrayfield when body and mind were engaged in the Dewar’s Centre in Perth. George’s exceptional grasp of the law of access, particularly expressed in his role as our representative to the National Access Forum, and the astute legal judgements he brought to thorny issues like Network Rail’s mass closure of access over level crossings, have earned much respect for him and by association for ScotWays. We are grateful that George has consented to accept the role of Honorary Adviser, so that we can continue to tap into his specialist knowledge and incisive legal insights, which have been of so much value to the Society.
We extend our warmest thanks and best wishes to both.
John Pope has provided an updated route description for Crichton Castle to Borthwick Castle.
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