News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Scottish Six Day Trials - offroad motorcycle event

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The annual Scottish Six Days off-road motorcycle trial will be taking place from Monday 2 May to Saturday 7 May 2011. Our attention has been drawn to the use by the trial of the asserted right of way from Innerwick through Rannoch Forest to Dall on Loch Rannoch on Thursday 5th May. It is likely that other popular routes in Lochaber will be affected during that week, so if you will be in the area we highly recommend looking at the Six Days Trial website at www.ssdt.org. The routes for each trial are available as downloadable maps.

The right of way from Innerwick to Dall forms part of Scottish Hill Track 138. It also features on the Heritage Paths website as "the Kirk Road through the Lairig Ghallabhaich", see http://www.heritagepaths.co.uk/pathdetails.php?path=101.

Fife walks - two new downloads added to the ScotWays website

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Two new items have been added to the Downloads section of this website.

Cupar Walks is a leaflet that describes 14 walks around Cupar. Many of the paths used have been kept open by ScotWays volunteers, who have also installed lots of way markers to help you find your way. Cupar is surrounded by some of the most fertile farmland in Fife, and was once an important market town. Paths and rights of way are a great way to explore the farming heritage of this beautiful area of Scotland.

The Lindores Loops are routes around Lindores Loch, near Newburgh, Fife. They were developed and waymarked by ScotWays volunteers, who also drew an excellent map and provided some useful notes to go with it.

ScotWays is now on Twitter!

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You can now follow us on Twitter. Find us at www.twitter.com/scotways or click on the button on the left hand side of this page. We hope it will become a great way for people to keep in touch and find out what we're up to.

Jim Cosgrove, 1913 - 2011

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James (Jim) Cosgrove died at the beginning of February, in his 99th year. ScotWays was saddened to learn of this and is grateful for the time he spent supporting the work of the Society.

He was appointed a Director of the Society at the 1984 AGM and served until 1993. For many years, he lead walks and was vigorously involved in signposting. Jim was also heavily engaged in the cross-Scotland challenges. He became known as a superb raconteur and conversationalist and found time to be greatly interested in music. Jim had been a gents' hairdresser and, after retirement, lived in Letham, Angus, with his wife. Following the death of his wife, he moved into Benholm Care Home in Forfar, which is where he died peacefully.

Visit Woods - new online resource to help you find new places to explore

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After a long cold winter most of us can hardly wait for the first signs of spring and woodlands are a great place to see them. Thanks to the Woodland Trust and a new website it is now easy to find woodlands to explore.

VisitWoods.org.uk is a website where you can find almost all of the woods in the UK where you are welcome to visit. Search the interactive map to find a wood to visit, no matter who owns it.

Working with other landowners such as the Forestry Commission, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, local authorities and private owners, the Woodland Trust has mapped almost all woods across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This website is part of a wider VisitWoods project. The project's aim is to inspire people to discover woods and the many benefits they have to offer. 

VisitWoods is a partnership project, led by the Woodland Trust which receives funding from Natural England (through their Access to Nature programme, part of the Big Lottery Fund Changing Spaces Programme), the Forestry Commission England, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and People's Postcode Lottery.

Go to www.visitwoods.org.uk to find out more.

A Signposter's Tale

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Many of our signposts were installed by Alistair Lawson, our former Field Officer, and now one of our most active volunteers. He recently told us about an encounter he had when he was installing a signpost on the John Muir Way in East Lothian a number of years ago.

"I was busy digging a hole, intent on what I was doing and taking no notice of what was going on around me, which was not much, in that I was in a rural location, with only fields and cattle for company.  As I looked up momentarily to take a breath and rest an aching back, I caught sight of a rustic ancient, who had sidled up quietly, his approach muffled by the noise of my spade.  We caught each other's eye and exchanged the universal “Aye, aye” of greeting.  This local worthy was dressed in a farm worker's dark grey suit, together with farm worker's cap and farm worker's boots, all typical of the period from Victorian times through to the 1950s.  All he lacked was a working horse and plough.  He took care not to come too unsociably close, but established himself comfortably against a nearby dyke and busied himself with the important business of getting his pipe going, in between which I was aware that he was keeping a close eye on what I was doing.

When the hole was sufficiently deep for my purposes, I moved on to the next stage, unloading the pole and beginning to fix the metal base-plate to one end and the plastic top-cap to the other, followed by the sign.  My sixth sense told me that all this was being closely watched by my silent companion and, as I rose from my duties and faced him again, he ventured, “Aye, aye - putting up a sign then, are you?”  “Yes”, I confirmed, glad that my efforts had been accurately identified.  Further silence followed, he with pipe, I with the final act of my little drama, preparing the concrete, adding water, “planting” the pole, hammering down broken bricks into the concrete, fussing about with spirit level and generally attending to the fine detail of quality control.

My observer missed nothing, as revealed by his next remark, “Aye, aye – that'll be you finished then?”  I confirmed that that was so, which satisfied him for the moment, as the pipe was needing more attention.  I busied myself with filling in the rest of the hole, chucking the rest of the spoil over the dyke, packing up the tools and generally making ready to leave, conscious all the while that this rustic ancient had probably done a thousand times more days of manual labour than I ever would and was probably noting critically all the things that betrayed my city-boy origins.

In order to rinse my muddy hands in the nearby burn, I had to pass close to where he was sitting, and it was clear that we should speak again.  Somewhat to my surprise, because I had gathered over the course of our time together than he wasn't exactly an effusive conversationalist, he took the initiative.  His body-language betrayed that, during the whole period of observation, something had been increasingly bothering him, and now he had prepared himself and was ready to come out with it, before I left.

“Aye, aye, laddie, that's an awfu' braw bit sign, but – dae ye ken whit?” (and this was delivered with a slow shaking of the head, as if to convey total incredulity)
“A'body kens whaur that path gaes”.

I felt it would be a kindness to him not to trouble him with the finer points of local authority policy on outdoor recreation, national strategic objectives on healthy living and all those other obscure concepts which had not been invented in the days when he followed his horse and plough up and down the furrows.”