News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Public Inquiry for Coul Links Golf Course Proposal

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Scotways and Ramblers Scotland have announced we will join forces at a public inquiry in late February 2019, to object to plans for an 18-hole golf course on beautiful dunes at Coul Links in Sutherland.

Impacting recreation
Together, we will highlight the major negative impact of the golf course upon the enjoyment of the outdoors for residents and visitors.

The site at Embo near Dornoch is highly valued for recreation, due to the wild qualities of its pristine dune system and beach, set within the stunning coastal seascapes of eastern Sutherland. 

We have concerns about the impact on the informal recreation which is already taking place, and on Scottish access rights.  The public has a right of access to cross golf courses, as long as they avoid interfering with play and keep off the greens. The developer has drawn up a Recreation and Access Management Plan to set out how formal and informal access will be managed in future, but we are concerned about the worrying limitations on access it is proposing.

For example, a core path runs through the site along the route of a former railway line. This path forms part of the John o’ Groats Trail, a new long-distance route from Inverness along the north-east coast which is being rapidly developed by volunteers. The route has been praised in a parliamentary motion, is already growing in popularity with walkers even though it isn’t fully opened yet. It has the potential to boost the region’s tourism, health and the local economy.

We are concerned that the design of the golf course means that seven holes will be played across this core path, creating an unacceptable risk for people walking or cycling along the path.

You can read our initial joint statement to the inquiry in full here.

Damaging nature
As well as Scottish Natural Heritage objecting to the plans, there is a coalition of seven organisations working together to highlight the serious threats to the area’s biodiversity and wildlife. This includes RSPB Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society and Plantlife. 

The area is subject to national and international protections due to its special nature and wildlife. If the golf course goes ahead, two holes will intrude on to the beach in an exposed setting on the frontal dune ridge.

We generally support the nature charities’ compelling arguements, which they will outline jointly during a separate phase of the inquiry. 

Background
In August 2018, the Scottish Government took the correct decision to ‘call in’ the application for further scrutiny. 

This decision followed Highland councillors voting in June 2018 to grant planning permission for the course despite their own planning officials, concerned residents and a range of environmental groups urging them to refuse the application. 

Christmas and New Year at ScotWays

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The ScotWays office will close on Friday 21st December 2018 and re-open on Monday 7th January 2019.

General rights of way and access enquiries: We are working hard to answer as many enquiries as possible before Christmas, but unfortunately as we are very busy at present some of you may have to wait until the New Year to receive a response.

ScotWays webshop: Once the office is closed, we will not be processing any more orders until we re-open in the New Year. The good news is that there'll probably then be a sale offer on our remaining Christmas cards!

Rights of way searches for solicitors, land managers and developers: We aim to respond to all formal search requests within 10 working days of receiving them in our office, unless another deadline has been agreed. As our office will be closed for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, any search request received after 5pm on Friday 7th December 2018 may not be completed until after we re-open on 7th January 2019. If your search request is urgent, please contact us before we close for the holidays to discuss when we will be able to complete it. 

Office volunteers: The office will be closed for two weeks over Christmas and the New Year, so please take a well-earned break! Very many thanks for all your hard work, we look forward to seeing you in 2019.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at ScotWays!

ScotWays Members Walks Programme 2019 announced!

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Our walks programme for 2019 is announced!

 

GUIDED walks are one of the great advantages enjoyed by ScotWays members, and next year’s exciting programme has a superb range of routes for all abilities.

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?

 

The 2019 programme offers walks in Fife, heritage walks around Milngavie and around Muckhart, a chance to see the replacement Sawmill Bridge on the Airlie Estate, a visit to Blair Atholl and the Falls of Bruar, a city walk in Edinburgh and much more!

 

ScotWays members are already signing up for this attractive and varied programme -  however, there are still walks available.

 

Thursday 11th April – Linear walk along the Fife Pilgrim Way  

 

Saturday 27th April - A circular Heritage walk around Milngavie

 

Friday 24th May – A circular walk – Glen Quoich and Glen Lui

 

Saturday 25th May - A circular walk through Ballochbuie Woods

 

Tuesday 4th June – A circular walk – Sawmill Bridge, Cortachy by Kirriemuir

 

Saturday 20th July - Linear walk - Mindful Walk from Elie to St. Monans

 

Saturday 24th August – A circular walk exploring Clackmannanshire

 

Sunday 8th September – A circular walk in Blair Atholl

 

Saturday 26th October – Dean Valley and Water of Leith linear walk – Edinburgh

 

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 for 2019, we look forward to hearing from you.

 

Cairnbank Road, Penicuik – appeal

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Further to our news item on 2 November 2018, we have now heard that a procedural hearing has been fixed for 21 January 2019.

ScotWays - Small Grant Scheme December Deadline

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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.

The next submission date for applications is 31st December 2018, and a decision on any applications received by that date will be made by the end of February 2019.

For further details please visit our downloads page where you’ll find an explanatory letter and the application form.

Cairnbank Road, Penicuik – case appealed

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We reported on 10 September that the Sherrif Court had ruled in favour of the access dispute at Cairnbank Road, Penicuik, but that there was a chance that the owners may appeal that decision.

We have just heard that on 22 October the landowners did lodge an appeal with the Sheriff Appeal Court against the Sheriff’s judgement of 6 September and that Midlothian Council intends to defend it. Until the appeal process has been finalised, the Council is unable to take steps to have the obstruction removed.