Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Phase 2 of Lockdown Easing and Outdoor Access

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We are now in Phase 2 with more freedoms and best of all, the ability to travel further for leisure activities.  In using the new freedom remember that the Coronavirus is still active and you will need to take precautions.  Whilst local shops may be open, other facilities such as toilets, cafes, pubs, restaurants and cafes are still restricted.  Check before you go to see what is available at or near your destination.

Social distancing is still critical so keep up to date with the latest requirements in the Scottish Government guidance document Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)  In all cases, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code on your outdoor journey.

Appeal for New Directors

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We are recruiting new Directors from our membership to play key roles in steering the strategic direction and the ongoing governance of the organisation whilst ensuring members' interests are fully considered in everything we do.

We seek nominations of, or applications from, members who have skills in practical access issues, in strategic management, in public relations and external communication and in law, government or human resource management. This sounds a long list, but if you have, or know of a member who has, any of these skills as well as a determination to uphold public access we'd love to hear from you.

We've made some exciting changes over the last couple of years ·to prepare ScotWays for the future. We need a Board with a range of skills and experience to continue to move us forward. We aim for diverse Board membership and geographical location is no barrier to playing a valuable role. 

We look forward to hearing from you. Please take. a look at our Board recruitment pack on our downloads page.

ScotWays Small Grants Scheme 31 Aug 2020 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 August 2020, and a decision on any applications received by that date will be made by mid to end of October 2020.

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

Phase 1 of Lockdown Easing and Outdoor Access

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Today, Friday 29 May, sees Scotland moving into the Phase 1 of the Scottish Government Road Map for relaxing lockdown.  What does this mean for outdoor access?

As during the lockdown, there are no restrictions to the use of rights of way, core paths or the right of access to land.  However, there are controls on what people may do.

Phase 1 sees an increase in the reasons for which you may leave your house and the activities in which you may participate. You can do things like golf, hill walk, horse ride and cycling, activities where you do not need to come into physical contact with others. You can meet people outdoors, whether in a public place or private garden, but only from one other household at a time and in groups of no more than 8.  You must remain socially distant and must not go into people’s houses.

There is a preference for walking, cycling and wheeling (wheelchair use) for travelling to your recreation place rather than using a car and people are asked to stay roughly within five miles of their residence.  Public transport and car use are discouraged. People are asked to think carefully before visiting popular areas and be flexible about their plans if they find their intended destination is busy. Be aware that facilities such as toilets and cafes will be closed, so please plan accordingly.

You can find out the full list of changes in the Scottish Government guidance document Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)  In all cases, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code on your outdoor journeys.

The Resumption of Golf after Lockdown

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During lockdown, golf courses provided invaluable areas of open space for people to safely take their daily exercise. Their contribution to local collective well-being has been greatly appreciated. Inevitably, as lockdown eases and the playing of golf resumes, golf courses will become less available to the general public.

Whilst the resumption of playing golf will reduce the availability of this type of open space, there continue to be specific statutory access rights which still apply to golf courses. Any measures to manage public access alongside the playing of golf must respect these rights.

There is a public right to cross land (not the greens) which forms part of a golf course, provided this is done so responsibly. However, unlike other areas of land to which the public right of access applies, there is no right of recreation on a golf course. As each person only has access rights if these are exercised responsibly, it may be useful to consider the following non-exhaustive list of what responsible access looks like in a golfing context:

  • keeping off greens at all times to ensure there is no damage to playing surfaces
  • not interfering with games of golf
  • allowing players to play their shot before crossing a fairway
  • being still when close to a player about to play a shot
  • being aware there may be hazards such as “blind shots” where a golfer will not have sight of anyone ahead of them, so paying attention to golfers, signage and/or advice from marshalls
  • walkers should follow paths where they exist; cyclists and horse riders need to keep to paths at all times
  • keeping dogs on a short lead
  • as the access right is to cross land, not more generally recreational, there is no picnicking, no kite-flying etc. and certainly no building of sand-castles in bunkers

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 places a duty upon landowners to use and manage land in a way which as respects access rights is responsible. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) provides a practical guide to responsible behaviour for both land managers and the general public regarding access rights and golf courses. Wherever possible, paths should be provided around or across the course and/or advice given to people on the safest way through the course. The SOAC website also provides guidance on suitable signage to help clubs manage public access to golf courses.

In addition to statutory access rights, some golf courses may have core paths, public rights of way and even public roads crossing them. Public access along any of these may not be restricted.

Should golf courses be concerned about managing potentially increased levels of public access they can contact their local council or national park authority access officer for advice.