News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

2019 Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum Walks Programme announced

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The Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF) has announced it’s Walks programme for 2019.  They are open to anyone who enjoys walking and would like to learn more about the SPRF Priority Pilgrim Walking Routes.  There is no cost for the walks which are generally between 5 and 8 miles in distance.

This years walks include the Three Saints Way, Whithorn Way, St. Cuthbert’s Way, Kentigern Way, Forth to Farne and the Fife Pilgrim Way.  You can find more details over on the SPRF website.

Coul Links Public Inquiry Starts

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The public inquiry into the proposed 18 hole golf course at Coul Links, Embo, near Dornoch, Sutherland has started.  The inquiry is scheduled to last for four weeks and will see a range of experts, both for and against, present their cases for the Reporter to hear.

ScotWays and Ramblers Scotland will highlight the major negative impacts the proposed golf course would have on both residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the outdoors.  The first phase of the Inquiry will deal with the conservation aspects and the outdoor access arguments is scheduled to be heard during the fourth week.

Once the inquiry has finished, the Reporter will consider all the evidence presented and make a recommendation to the Scottish Government who will, ultimately, make the final desicion.  This process make take a number of months.

If you want to know more of can find all the inquiry papers on the DPEA website.

ScotWays - Small Grant Scheme 31 May 2019 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 May 2019, and a decision on any applications received by that date will be made by the end of July.

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

Cairnbank Road, Penicuik – Path Open!

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The appeal to Sheriff Court decision due to be heard on 21 January 2019 has been cancelled.

This means that the court case to protect the public’s right of access to the Peniculk Estate via Cairnbank Road is now complete.  The gate that the owner had installed was unlocked before Christmas and we have just heard that the fence has now been taken down.

You can find out more about this case in this news article on our website and also on the Midlothian Council website.

 

 

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 and 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 arguments, 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!