News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

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.” 

How the snow is affecting ScotWays - update

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The snow is still making things difficult for us here at ScotWays, but we're starting to get the hang of it! Some members of staff have been working from home, and others have found alternative means of getting into the office.

Enquiries by post - As always, we will respond to your enquiry as soon as we are able, but we now have a backlog, so they may be some delay. Also, our mail deliveries seem to have been disrupted. If your enquiriy is urgent, you may want to send us an email instead.

Enquiries by email - As with postal enquiries, we will respond to your email as soon as we are able, but we now have a backlog, so their may be some delay.

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 - A big thank you to our office volunteers who have made it into the office, or who have worked from home. We continue to 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!

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!