News

Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Crichton-Borthwick Right of Way – Update

on .

Following on from our summer newsletter, we’d like to update our members on the current situation regarding the Borders Railway and Crichton-Borthwick Right of Way.

Although issues resulting from the construction of the Borders Railway did look to have been satisfactorily addressed via communication with BAM Nuttall (the contractors for the Borders Railway) throughout the construction phase, we have learned that an agreed metal kissing gate for walkers has not been installed on the west side of the railway. We have e-mailed a letter to Borders Railway and are now awaiting a response. 

 

As many of you are already aware, there is a further problem with a deer fence currently preventing access and blocking the Right of Way on the Borthwick side of the railway.

 

We would like to encourage anyone that encounters problems with the route to report these directly to Midlothian Council’s access officer John Park at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (0131 561 5386) - and please copy us into any e-mail correspondence. If the Council are receiving complaints about this route, it may incline them to up the priority of this issue.

We will, of course, keep you all updated on further developments.

Ramblers Scotland - LINK Hill Tracks Campaign

on .

Our friends at Ramblers Scotland have started a new campaign and are asking for help with keeping an eye on Scotland's upland landscapes.  Working with the Scottish Environment LINK campaign, Ramblers Scotland have asked their members to keep an eye on our hills and monitor any new hill track constructions. 

We, at ScotWays, would like to extend this news to our own members, as many of you I'm sure would also like to help with this monitoring while you're out and about.

 

A change in permitted development rights legislation now ensures that all landowners must now notify local authorities in advance of any new hill track construction. In order to ensure this new legislation is working, Ramblers Scotland are keen for people to keep an eye out for any new tracks while out walking in the Scottish hills this summer.

 

If you come across such a track, please send a photo of the track plus its location and any other information you can gather, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  This can then be checked to ensure that the planners have been informed of the track, and in that way monitor the effectiveness of the new legislation in advance of the government’s own review in December.

 

In addition, Ramblers Scotland are putting together a team of ‘trackers’ to monitor local authority weekly planning lists for any new track notifications.  If anyone would like to join the team, please email them directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  This shouldn’t be a lengthy or onerous task, but it’s likely you will be assigned a specific local authority to monitor regularly - and given full instructions! If you're interested then please see more on the Ramblers Scotland webpage.

Donald Bennet Memorial Appeal

on .

After considerable effort by various staff, directors and volunteers of ScotWays, we have at last identified a location as a focus of our fundraising for a memorial to our late president, Donald Bennet. Many of you will be aware of the extensive damage on the Mar Lodge estate in the Cairngorms resulting from widespread flooding last summer. The destruction included the bridge over the Derry Burn beside Derry Lodge, which forms a key link in access to the Lairig Ghru and the Lairig an Laoigh.

The Mar Lodge Estate belongs to the National Trust for Scotland so we have been in discussions with them about the project. They will have the final say on the type of bridge which is put up, and it will not be in exactly the same place as the one which was lost as the banking has also been damaged by the floods, but we understand that it will be in the vicinity. They advise us that the cost of the bridge, including abutments, is likely to be in the region of £40,000, so this is our target. 

The Derry Burn crossing is an ideal location for a bridge in memory of Donald since it is on a right of way described in our book Scottish Hill Tracks and enables access to these two major routes. In addition to our own membership, we hope that members of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Cairngorm Club and other similar organisations will be willing to support the replacement of the Derry bridge. As well as being a key figure in ScotWays history, Donald was of course one of the founding members of MCofS, a keen mountaineer and editor of Scottish Hill Tracks.

If you would like to contribute towards the replacement of this important link, there are various ways in which you can do so. 

You can send a cheque or CAF voucher, payable to ScotWays, to our office. Please make it clear that your donation is intended for the Donald Bennet memorial fund.

If you use online banking, payments can be made to our Donald Bennet Memorial Appeal account. Please contact the office for the account details.

  You can also donate by card right here on our website. 

If circumstances permit you to complete a Gift Aid declaration, please do so as this enables us to increase the value of your donation at no additional cost to you, by reclaiming the tax you have paid on it. Gift Aid forms are available on request from the office

Many thanks from ScotWays to all who are able to contribute to the Donald Bennet Memorial Appeal.

 

 

***STOP PRESS***

ScotWays is pleased to announce that a temporary bridge has been installed over the Derry Burn. This temporary replacement was sourced by ScotWays and bought with the support of the Brown Forbes Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage; we understand that the National Trust for Scotland is likely to use it elsewhere on the Mar Lodge Estate once a permanent bridge is in place. ScotWays is continuing to raise funds for the permanent replacement -  we are now more than half way towards our fundraising target and all donations are very welcome. We anticipate the Donald Bennet memorial bridge over the Derry Burn will be installed next year. 

Welcome to Our New Website

on .

So here we are with our new website.  All the old features are here, but in a modern and new interface.

Thanks to Digital Routes for all the hard work in making it a reality.

Hope you all enjoy it.

Changes at ScotWays

on .

The Directors of ScotWays are delighted to announce the appointment of Alison Riddell as National Secretary. 

Many of you may know Alison as our Treasurer, where she has performed an excellent job.  Moreover, Alison is a qualified solicitor.  In short, she makes for a very well qualified National Secretary and her appointment also provides excellent continuity.  Alison has played a key role in helping ScotWays progress to financial stability and this experience will be vital in taking the organisation forward.   

Alison started her new duties in November 2014.

George MacQuarrie retired as Secretary after a diagnosis of terminal cancer and the Directors thank him for his work with ScotWays.  We wish him and his family well for whatever the future holds.

 

George Menzies

Chairman

George MacQuarrie, National Secretary

on .

ScotWays is very sad to announce that George MacQuarrie, our National Secretary, is retiring on health grounds.

 

George himself says “I have enjoyed working with ScotWays, whether it be with directors, office colleagues or volunteers.  All have been essential to me.  I have always said that ScotWays could not exist without its volunteers.  The truth is that even though the inter-action between National Secretary and volunteers is not always obvious, I depended on you and I never forgot it.  Thank you.”

 

 

All of us at ScotWays thank George for his hard work on our behalf and heartfeltedly wish him all the very best.