News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

How the snow is affecting ScotWays

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Our office is in Edinburgh, however, our Secretary, George MacQuarrie, Our Access Enquiries Officer, Catriona Davies and our Heritage Paths Officer, Neil Ramsay all live outside the city. As a result, we have all had difficulties getting into the office. George and Catriona have made it in today (Tuesday 30th November) but Neil is still snowed in.

Enquiries by email and post - As always, we will respond to your enquiry as soon as we are able, but there may be some delays.

Enquiries by telephone - If there are no members of staff in the office when you call, please leave your name, telephone number and a short message on our voicemail and we will get back to you. Alternatively, try again later or send us an email.

Office volunteers - We advise all our office volunteers to call the office before you leave home to check that the office is open. If you would prefer not to make the journey into the office please stay at home - we completely understand!

ScotWays Christmas Cards - Now on Sale

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ScotWays Christmas cards are now on sale.

We have four new designs for 2010 and we hope you like them. Each design is available in packs of 10 cards with envelopes. Our cards often sell out fast, so why not visit our online shop now?

We also have four different notecards available, also in packs of 10 cards with envelopes. They make great stocking fillers, or you could use them to thank all your friends and relatives fo your Christmas presents!

ScotWays AGM 2010

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The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society (ScotWays)
Annual General Meeting
Saturday 20th November 2010

Our AGM will be held at the Dewars Centre, Perth, PH2 0TH. The Centre is a short walk from Perth Train Station and there is plenty of parking.

Lunch will be available at 12.30, for those who have booked.

The AGM will start at 2pm. The formal business will be follwed by a presentation from Billy Bodles, Project Manager, Action for Mountain Woodlands.

If you would like to attend our AGM, please contact the office for full details and a booking form.

ScotWays members will receive an AGM notice and booking form, along with an Annual Report, in the post.

New ScotWays Publication - Summaries of Court Case Decisions

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A free ScotWays publication – Access to the Outdoors in Scotland: A summary of relevant court decisions – can now be downloaded from the ScotWays website.

This publication provides summaries of 132 court decisions in various fields that have a bearing on outdoor access: access rights, public rights of way, private rights of way (servitudes), liability, and navigation and foreshore rights. It includes cases from a previous ScotWays publication (Rights of Way: the authority of case law) and summaries of cases that have previously appeared on the ScotWays website. But all these cases have been reviewed and updated, and many other cases of interest have been added.

The bibliography at the end of the publication provides links to other useful downloads and websites.

You can download the publication free of charge from the ScotWays website (just click on the link below). It is designed to be used as an electronic publication, but ScotWays can provide printed versions at a cost of £20 to cover printing costs, plus £1 postage.

New online resource for walkers & cyclists in Fife

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Walkers and cyclists in Fife can now share their favourite routes and paths, thanks to a community website www.smartcommunityfife.org.uk, where they can upload previously unpublished walking and cycling routes. This new online service was recently launched by local MP, Ming Campbell, at the start of one of the online routes in Falkland.

 

Each route is accompanied by a photo and description. The resource includes varied routes of different lengths and difficulties, from a short hidden walk in Falkland, to a challenging, but beautiful, walk along the old drovers’ road between Auchtermuchty and Abernethy.

 

Peter Winterborn, Chairperson of Smart Community Fife, says: “www.smartcommunityfife.org.uk provides the latest locally-written news and events, as well as a frequently updated guide to what’s on and what to do in the area. Now we want to build on the success of the site by responding to recent survey results, requesting maps of local walking and cycling routes. Our free, easy-to-use on-line system allows site users to share favourite routes with others. We are keen for people to continue uploading their favourite routes in the future; with their help, we can keep the information on Fife routes both relevant and interesting.”

 

Routes can be seen and uploaded to www.smartcommunityfife.org.uk/routes

Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill Consultation - ScotWays response

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ScotWays have commented on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. In particular, we are concerned that the proposed new duty on land owners to manage deer stocks in a sustainable way may lead to more constructed tracks and more fences in Scotland's hills. We believe this could diminish the wild character and beauty of these places that so many people enjoy and, in the case of fences, have an adverse affect on statutory access rights.

Our full consultation response is set out below.

   

Thekla Garland,

Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill Team

Landscapes and Habitats

The Scottish Executive

1A–North

Victoria Quay

EDINBURGH
EH6 6QQ                                                                                                                                          

 

Dear Ms Garland

 

WILDLIFE AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT BILL

 

Thank you for consulting ScotWays on the content of a proposed Wildlife Bill. Most of this consultation lies beyond ScotWays’ remit, so we do not respond to your long list of questions. Many of the proposals could have beneficial effects for public enjoyment of the outdoors, however, there is one main point that we wish to make from our own role in securing, protecting and promoting the enjoyment of public rights of access to land.

 

Underlying the proposals relating to deer, there is a degree of tension between nature conservation and upland land management, but it is possible that action on these tensions could bypass the values held by the wider public for enjoyment of open-air recreation in Scotland’s hills. Thus, the proposal for a new duty on owners for the ‘sustainable’ management of deer stocks implies more intensive management, which could in turn lead to more estate-road construction in the hills, and more fencing. Both would be unwelcome to those who resort to the hills, as diminishing the wild character and beauty enjoyed there.

 

More intensive management of moorland for grouse shooting is already having this kind of effect – including a surge of road building and fence construction in parts of the eastern Grampians. Many of these fences, constructed ostensibly to control deer (and thereby the tick and the louping-ill disease), are electric and constitute very unwelcome barriers to public access. A good number of these fences are not compliant with Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. So the outdoor recreation community would want to be involved in debate about how proposals for deer are to be implemented, were they to become law. More generally, action on all these proposals should have regard to statutory access rights.

 

It would be wonderful if care for Scotland’s great natural beauty were to receive the same level of administrative and legislative effort put to nature conservation.

 

You may put this response on the open public record.

 

Yours sincerely,

  

John W Mackay

Vice-chairman