Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Carnach Bridge Now Open!

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The new Carnach Bridge was officially opened on 23 August 2019 by Camusrory Estate and representatives from the funding bodies. Knoydart’s lack of roads meant the guests had sailed in from Mallaig and Inverie to the Camusrory pier at the head of Loch Nevis, then walked up to the new bridge below the deserted settlement of Carnoch.

Nestled between Meall Buidhe and Sgurr Na Ciche in Knoydart, the new bridge crosses the River Carnach, and forms part of the Inverie to Glen Dessary Path, the main route for walkers into Knoydart from the south. It is part of the Cape Wrath Trail (Fort William to Cape Wrath).

People standing on a sunlit bridge over a river with a hillside behind
The new bridge

Estate owner Rupert Soames thanked everyone for their help in building the bridge. In particular, he singled out estate staff Robert Cooper and David Edwards who had constructed the bridge onsite as well as ferried all materials from Mallaig. He said, “to erect a new bridge in such a remote location and to such a high specification (which will last a generation and longer!) is a triumph for all concerned.”

David Langworth, a ScotWays Director said, “with all the recent bad news about bridges being damaged by the floods, it is fantastic to be at the opening of a new bridge that replaces one that was washed away.”

The preceding bridge succumbed to the 2017 floods and left a river crossing that was dangerous or even impossible in flood conditions. The replacement bridge was designed by David Narro Associates, fabricated by NEWCo Ltd of Fort William with the support of the outdoor community including the Mountain Bothies Association, Scottish Mountaineering Trust, Mountaineering Scotland and ScotWays. Further financial support came from the Donald Bennet Memorial Fund, Rv & R H Simons Trust, Tim & Patricia Stapenhurst Charitable Trust and several private individuals.

Smiling people clustered around a boulder with a  brass plate on it
Clustered around the memorial plate (L-R) David Edwards (Camusrory), Alan Stewart (NEWCo Ltd), Robert Cooper (Camusrory), David Langworth (ScotWays), Rupert Soames (Camusrory), Alan Bennet, Jim Hotchkis (SMT), Roger Muhl (MBA), Ian Hunter (MBA), Liz Bibby (Corriemulzie Mountaineering Club)

Stuart Younie CEO of Mountaineering Scotland said “Mountaineering Scotland is delighted to have been able to support this project. It is great news for the outdoor community and will ensure an important access point is maintained for climbers and hillwalkers looking to experience one of Scotland’s wildest and most beautiful areas with its challenging and iconic mountains. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

In 1981, St Andrews University Mountaineering Club and the Corriemulzie Mountaineering Club constructed a suspension bridge at the same site over the River Carnach as a memorial to two Corriemulzie members who were killed in a climbing accident.  The late Donald Bennet, past president of ScotWays, was heavily involved in the project as an engineer. In a nod to this history, the ceremonial ribbon cutting was carried out by Liz Bibby of the Corriemulzie Mountaineering Club, following which all present walked over the bridge admiring both it and its beautiful setting.

A woman and two men stand on a bridge cutting a ribbon
David Edwards and Robert Cooper watch as Liz Bibby cuts the ribbon.

ScotWays - Small Grants Scheme 31 Aug 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 August 2019, and a decision on any applications received by that date will be made by mid to end of February 2020.

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


Donald Bennet Memorial Bridge Opening

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Saturday 13 July 2019 saw 19 people meeting at the Allanaquoich Car Park on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate in the Cairngorms for a walk up Glen Quoich.  Family and friends of former ScotWays Honorary President, Donald Bennet, had gathered with representatives of ScotWays and the NTS to formally open the replacement upper bridge on the Quoich in Donald’s memory.

The group walked up to the new bridge, where Ben Dolphin, a seasonal ranger for NTS and recently elected President of Ramblers Scotland, gave an outline of the history and conservation management of the Mar Lodge Estate.   Jo Mould of NTS, Bob Aitken of ScotWays, and Donald’s son Alan described the importance of this bridge and how fitting it is as a tribute to Donald’s passionate and life-long contribution to access and conservation of Scotland’s countryside.  After a toast to Donald’s memory, his widow Anne cut the ribbon to open the bridge.

Donald’s love of the outside wasn’t the only connection to this part of Scotland within the assembled group.  The friends of the Bennet family included a one-time ghillie who had worked out of Mar Lodge in the 1950s and a lady whose brother-in-law had been Factor for the Swiss Panchaud brothers, the owners of the Mar Lodge Estate during the 1960s.

In December 2015 severe flooding hit this part of Aberdeenshire, and amidst great swathes of damage across the catchment of the Dee carried off the three bridges over the River Quoich.  The National Trust for Scotland and the Cairngorm Club replaced the middle bridge at the Punchbowl restoring access to Allanaquoich.  The new Donald Bennet bridge crosses the Quoich in its middle reaches and restores a circular walk which gives impressive views of the river’s scenic rapids, falls and characteristic punchbowls amidst fine pinewoods.

Donald Bennet was a Director of ScotWays from 1989, Chair between 1992 and 2000, and Honorary President between 2000 and 2004.  He played a major part in developing ScotWays to its current level of activity and authority in the field of access influence.  A passionate mountaineer, Donald was heavily involved in writing and editing Scottish Mountaineering Trust guides, including guides to the Munros and Corbetts. But he was also active in Mountaineering Scotland and as a member of the Countryside Commission for Scotland, helping to promote constructive new approaches to access.  All this work earned him the well-deserved award of an OBE.  When Donald passed away in 2013, ScotWays led fundraising efforts by the mountaineering and walking community which raised nearly £30,000 in his memory.

This is the second bridge that the Donald Bennet Memorial Fund has provided on the Mar Lodge Estate. The first bridge, where ScotWays provided the structural girders, replaced one destroyed in the devastating flash-floods of August 2014, close to Derry Lodge, and was installed in 2015.


Happy New Subscription Year!

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Our subscription year started on 1 July. Many thanks to all those who have renewed their subscriptions already.

Every membership not only help us uphold access rights in Scotland, but it also gets you discounts off our books, regular newsletters and the chance to join other members on one of our member walks.

If you are not already a member, why don’t you join us?

ScotWays office shut

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The ScotWays office will be shut on Monday 3rd June 2019 for staff training.