Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Old Tracks In The Lammermuirs

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Lothian Broadband is hosting a series of talks at Humbie Hub, Humbie, East Lothian. On Sunday 4th December, the subject is Old Tracks In The Lammermuirs. The talk is being given by Eleisha Fahy as a volunteer on behalf of the Heritage Paths project - this is only the second time she's done a talk, so please come along and give her your support! Our new Lammermuirs map will also be available on the day and afterwards.

Eleisha writes "An extensive network of routes is marked on old maps of the Lammermuirs. The most famous of these is the Herring Road, via which fishwives brought herring from Dunbar to market in Lauder in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This route and others across the hills can still be found today and they are a tangible trace of the lives of those that travelled the routes in times gone by. In recognition of the cultural and recreational value of these old routes, ScotWays has produced a new map to promote public access to this area considered remote by many. This talk will share some of the stories of the Lammermuirs - we hope that you will see these hills in a new light and have your appetite whetted to explore them further".


Cairnbank Road, Penicuik - update on access

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In early July a deputation from Midlothian Access Forum visited the Cairnbank Road area, including the alternative route suggested by the residents. They found the alternative was unsuitable for most users, and discounted it. The deputation noted that the obstruction, painted with anti-vandal paint and a CCTV camera, constituted an impregnable barrier.

At the subsequent Access Forum meeting later in July, two of the residents made a presentation to the members and gave each member a folder with additional information before answering questions.

The Access Forum met in committee in late August to consider all the information they had received, which included over seventy letters from members of the public, complaining about the barrier on this well used route into Penicuik House Estate.

Thereafter the Access Forum decided to request the Council to take steps to re-open the route.

Since then the Council has been in negotiation with the residents and their lawyers, and made them aware of the advice they had received.

We understand that the Council's Corporate Management Team has given approval to a Section 14 Notice being served if the obstruction and signage are not removed within the near future.

NOTE: A section 14 notice under the Land Reform Act would request that the obstruction and the notices are removed within 21 days; thereafter the Council could and will remove them at the expense of the residents. The residents can appeal to the Sheriff Court to have the Notice rescinded.


Scotways AGM - 19th November 2016

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This year's ScotWays AGM will be held at the Dewars Centre, Glover Street, Perth PH2 0TH on Saturday 19th November at 2pm.

For more information on the Dewars Centre location, please view details here.

The centre is a short walk from Perth railway station, and has plenty of parking.

Lunch will be available at 12.30pm, for those who have booked. If you are wanting to attend and have lunch, we will need to know via the ScotWays office no later than Friday 11th November.

For those not joining us for lunch, tea and coffee will be available before the AGM starts at 2pm.

We look forward to welcoming you on the day!

A copy of last year's draft AGM minutes are available to download.

Lammermuirs Project - new map published!

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ScotWays is pleased to announce that the first stage of its Lammermuirs project has been completed with the publication of its new Lammermuirs map leaflet. The new map includes not only the Scottish Hill Tracks routes across the Lammermuirs, which were the focus of the previous version, but also shorter and circular routes onto and around the hills to appeal to a wider audience interested in enjoying the area but who lack the time, inclination or ability to tackle a longer or linear journey. Pleasingly, the larger size of the new map has allowed the addition of many more historic features, including old routes promoted by our Heritage Paths project. The Ordnance Survey's trig pillars are also now marked in honour of their 80th birthday year. We hope that our new map will encourage exploration of this special landscape, which is generally under-appreciated, but is well-loved by those who have succumbed to its charms.

Paper copies of the new map are being distributed around East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, so should be available locally. ScotWays members will receive a copy with their autumn mailing. As with all our free leaflets, we'll be pleased to post the Lammermuirs map out on receipt of an SAE. The project has also produced a special online version, downloadable here. It is intended that the online version will also be available from the Council websites. If anyone else would like to help with either paper or digital distribution, we will be very pleased to hear from you!

The Lammermuirs project has also aimed to improve the signposting of routes, so ScotWays volunteers have been auditing, repairing and replacing existing signs and noting potential locations for new signage. Although the resultant signage repair and negotiation regarding new signs is underway, signposting is an ongoing part of ScotWays work, so updates and suggestions will continue to be very welcome.

The leaflet was funded by ScotWays, East Lothian Council, Scottish Borders Council and Gifford Community Council. The project was also supported by the Lammermuirs Moorland Group and Lammermuir Community Council. Many thanks to all the land owners and land managers who have contributed their time and energy – the support of those living and working in the Lammermuirs is especially appreciated. Last, but not least, thankyou to the many volunteers who contributed to the project – surveying routes and auditing signposts, sharing photos and simply letting us know their favourite spots in these lovely hills.

Job Opportunity - Development Officer

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ScotWays is recruiting for a newly created post of Development Officer. With experience of access or a keen interest in the outdoors, the Development Officer will work to strengthen our member and volunteer networks and increase the profile of the Society. The successful candidate will work closely with the volunteer Board and with other staff (3 full time equivalents) and will represent the Society when dealing with a wide variety of stakeholders: Local Authorities, members, volunteers, local access forum reps, land owners and managers and other organisations in the same arena. The scope of the role covers member and volunteer engagement, investigating and resolving access and sign post problems, increasing public awareness, internal feedback systems, handling disputes and identifying and helping to deliver funded projects which develop, enhance or preserve access in Scotland. 

The role may be based from home with regular contact with our office in Edinburgh and could be undertaken part time (3 days a week minimum) or full time. 

For a full job description, person specification and details of how to apply click on these text links.

Closing date Monday 8 August 2016 at 9am, interviews in Edinburgh on 24 or 25 August 2016.

Access Issues at Cairnbank Road, Penicuik

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ScotWays has been contacted by many people concerned by the recent installation of a fence and locked gate at Cairnbank Road. Access is presently blocked along the route which links Cairnbank Road to the network of paths in the Penicuik House estate. Although this route does not appear to meet the criteria to be a public right of way and is not designated by Midlothian Council as a core path, it is promoted as a local walk and is clearly popular given the volume of complaints we have received. We consider that access rights under the terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 apply. Such access must be exercised responsibly, which includes not interfering with occupants' reasonable privacy.

Midlothian Council has power under the above Act to do something about the removal of the blockage.  As such, we encourage anyone affected by this issue to contact the Council’s Access Officer, John Park, to express their concern - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The latest information we have received is that the Council has written to the owners of the fence requesting its removal, and they are also contacting the owner of the gate at the other end of the route to ask for the signage which does not comply with the Land Reform legislation to be removed. As at least one of the owners is contesting the right to responsible access on grounds of privacy, this will have to be considered by the Council’s lawyers. As a result, the Council does not expect the matter to be resolved quickly, but in view of the amount of correspondence received, they are actively working on this case.