News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Come and Help us Uphold Access Rights!

on .

We have two vacancies for people to come and join our team. Both will be based in our Edinburgh office but will be subject to our Hybrid Working Policy meaning they will be able to work from home or another location.

Access Officer part-time (3 days a week).

This post plays a key role in our enquiry management process.  You will receive, record and answer enquiries from the public and solicitors about rights of way and public access issues across Scotland. You will have good communication skills, both verbal and written, and an eye for detail.  You will be computer literate with experience in data management.  Knowledge of customer relations, CRM systems and outdoor access in Scotland will be beneficial.

You can find out more by reading the Access Officer: job description and person specification.

 

Access Officer (Outreach) (full-time).

This post will suit a person skilled in volunteer management.  You will be responsible for the development and management of our volunteer network across Scotland.  You will have practical conservation/outdoor access skills that will enable you to monitor and maintain our signposts through our volunteer network.  A good understanding of PR, and social media, in particular, will enable you to promote the work of ScotWays and increase both our membership and volunteer network.  You will be computer literate and experience in data management and outdoor access in Scotland will be beneficial.

You can find out more by reading the Access Officer (Outreach): job description and person specification.

 

Interviews: By Zoom, currently planned for the week beginning 4 October 2021

 


How To Apply

Please send your CV, accompanied by a covering letter, setting out:

• How your skills and experience would enable you to meet the requirements of this post, as outlined in the person specification and job description, providing specific examples,

• Why you want this job (in no more than 100 words),

• Details of two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer - please state whether we may contact them prior to the interview,

• Whether you are currently eligible for employment in the UK - please state what documentation you can provide to demonstrate this, e.g. British passport, European Economic Area identity card, full birth certificate/passport or travel document showing an authorisation to reside and work in the UK.

Please submit your application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 17:00 on the closing date of Monday 27 September 2021.

Applications received afterwards may not be considered.

If a job offer is made, the candidate will be required to fill in forms covering any relevant health issues and criminal convictions. Referees are not normally contacted prior to a job offer. Thus, any job offer will be subject to satisfactory references and no issues under health and criminal convictions.

Thank you for your interest in this post. If you do not hear from us within three weeks of the closing date, please assume that your application is unlikely to have been successful on this occasion.

 

Dalwhinnie Level Crossing Closure

on .

 

The Ben Alder level crossing, south of Dalwhinnie station, was closed unilaterally by Network Rail on 28th July 2021. This level crossing has long been in public use and is recorded as a public right of way. An historic route from Loch Rannoch and along Loch Ericht to Dalwhinnie is shown on the Roy Military Survey (1747-55), which is testament to its importance and long-standing use. In present times, as well as the level crossing remaining useful for long distance travellers, it provides a vital link in Dalwhinnie's signposted local path network. This closure is of great inconvenience to Dalwhinnie's residents and visitors alike. And if this level crossing can be unilaterally closed without consultation, where will be next?

ScotWays heard of the level crossing’s imminent closure shortly before the gates were locked, so wrote to Network Rail reminding them that a route across it is a recorded public right of way. ScotWays consider that the restriction to the level crossing’s use by the general public is an unauthorised obstruction of the public’s right, so strongly object to its closure. We have recommended that Network Rail consult with the local community, affected land-owners and relevant interested parties, such as recreational access organisations and the emergency services. 

Network Rail disagrees with ScotWays’ position, instead asserting that the level crossing is private. As a result, ScotWays has been consulting with legal experts. We are also in touch with The Highland Council and Cairngorms National Park access teams, Dalwhinnie Community Council, recreational access bodies and many others to find a way forward, but for now the level crossing remains closed.

Currently, it appears the lack of consultation ahead of the level crossing’s closure may have exacerbated any potential safety issues here. For example, it is not clear that any signage about the closure has been erected by Network Rail other than at the level crossing itself. We consider there may be opportunities to improve both safety and public access at Dalwhinnie, but this will necessitate Network Rail engaging with the local community and other interests. ScotWays asks that, as a first step, Network Rail re-opens this level crossing.

In the meantime, we need your support in our efforts to re-open this level crossing. Ramblers Scotland have created an e-petition urging Network Rail to reconsider, supported by British Horse Society Scotland, Cycling UK in Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland, Scottish Canoe Association and ScotWays, as well as thousands of individual signatories - please sign and add your voice too.

 

A crowd summit and the remains of a large fire

Onslaught or Opportunity? TODAY

on .

Finding solutions for our post-lockdown countryside

TODAY 16 April 2021, 12.30 – 2pm, Facebook Live.

Last summer, with the release of long pent-up demand, we saw unprecedented, chaotic and hugely disruptive pressure of visitors seeking to enjoy Scotland’s countryside.  Sadly, that pressure was exacerbated by the damaging behaviour of a minority, ranging from simple ignorance of responsible access to blatant criminality.

Join our panel, under the watchful eye of our independent chair, award-winning journalist and special correspondent for BBC News, James Naughtie, as they discuss these issues and search for both short term and long-term solutions.

Our Panellists are:

Graham Simpson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party candidate for East Kilbride and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity

Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green Party candidate for Inverness & Nairn

Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour Party candidate for Mid Scotland and Fife

Molly Nolan, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Caithness, Sutherland & Ross

Ben MacPherson, Scottish National Party candidate for Edinburgh Northern & Leith

 

The Hustings will be broadcast live TODAY on our Facebook via Facebook Live.  You don’t need an account to watch, but you will need one if you wish to leave a comment.

If you missed it ...

Fear not, the hustings was recorded and you can find it under videos or events on our Facebook Page for you to enjoy at your leisure!

 

A crowd summit and the remains of a large fire

Onslaught or Opportunity?

on .

Finding solutions for our post-lockdown countryside

16 April 2021, 12.30 – 2pm, Facebook Live.

In response to the unprecedented pressures on Scotland's countryside last summer and the similar situation anticipated this year, ScotWays is hosting an online election hustings on 16 April to seek possible solutions. Candidates from the five main parties will be asked to discuss their thoughts and solutions to the immediate and long-term problems, and the associated challenges to Scotland's world-famous access rights.

Scotland is blessed with a rich natural environment of breath-taking beauty that we must nurture for the benefit of all. But with the right of access, long championed by organisations such as ScotWays, come responsibilities too.

Last summer, with the release of long pent-up demand, we saw the unprecedented, chaotic and hugely disruptive pressure of visitors seeking to enjoy Scotland’s countryside. Sadly, that pressure was made more acute by the damaging behaviour of a minority, ranging from simple ignorance of responsible access to blatant criminality.

As the country prepares once again to emerge from lockdown and restrictions are set to be eased on where we can travel for leisure and pleasure within Scotland, there is an urgent need to be better prepared for the months ahead. Indeed, if international travel remains restricted, many more people on these islands are likely to want to holiday here in Scotland.

These immediate challenges are not temporary. We need to face the fact that parts of Scotland don’t have the infrastructure to cope with the demands we put upon them in normal times. Tourism brings huge economic benefits to Scotland, so longer-term solutions need to be found. But those solutions should not endanger our hard-won access rights.

In the search for answers, ScotWays, on behalf of the Scottish Outdoor Recreation Alliance (SORA), is hosting a major Holyrood Election Hustings at lunchtime on 16 April which will be broadcast live. We will pose some provocative questions to the panel of politicians and try to forge a path ahead.

Our independent chair, ensuring that all voices get a hearing, will be the award-winning journalist and author, James Naughtie, special correspondent for BBC News.

The Hustings will be broadcast live on our Facebook via Facebook Live.  You don’t need an account to watch, but you will need one if you wish to leave a comment.  

 

Launch of the SORA Manifesto 2021

on .

Commenting on the launch of the Scottish Outdoor Recreation Alliance (SORA) Manifesto issued today, Chief Operating Officer, Richard Barron said: “Our country is, we hope, on the cusp of being released from the grip of lockdown. 

“The great outdoors has played an important part in the health and well-being and sheer enjoyment for so many across Scotland. In the weeks, months and years to come, we all want to be able to experience these simple pleasures again. 

“Everyone has the right to access our countryside and the great outdoors. ScotWays is committed to upholding Scotland's excellent public access rights. But these rights only apply if people behave responsibly. Last summer, with the release of long-pent-up-demand, we saw unprecedented, chaotic and hugely disruptive pressure of visitors seeking to enjoy Scotland’s countryside.  Sadly, that pressure was made more acute by the damaging behaviour of a minority, ranging from simple ignorance of responsible access to blatant criminality. 

There is a need for education, but also for information and infrastructure to help people make the right choices.

“The SORA manifesto is packed with ideas about how to improve the experience of visitors to Scotland's countryside. 

“We hope that our politicians are listening.”

The manifesto was developed by Ramblers Scotland, British Horse Society, Cycling UK Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland, ScotWays and Scottish Canoe Association. It is also supported by The Outward Bound Trust, Scottish Adventure Activities Forum, Scottish Countryside Rangers Association, Scottish Wild Land Group, HorseScotland and Scottish Orienteering.

Small Grants Scheme - new deadline

on .

The next deadline for our small grants scheme is 31st May.

The ScotWays small grants scheme aims to help organisations fund a project up to 50% of the total budget for the project.

The scheme will award grants of between £500 and £1,500. It is hoped that this might enable organisations to achieve the completion of a community-based/access-related project which might not otherwise be able to proceed.

Applicant organisations should be members of ScotWays.

For further details please visit our downloads page.