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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Politics of the Hills

I have the 18th September marked off in my diary. A reminder to go and vote, not that I'll need any reminder. I want to mark off the 19th as well, to take a day off and, hopefully, enjoy the biggest party Scotland has seen for 300 years. But then it might be the most depressing day ever, depending on your view. It could be a day for escaping to the hills. I’m all too aware that for many hill-goers politics and the hills don’t mix. I respect that view. For most of us the hills represent a release from

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Isle of Skye and Trossachs projects need your votes

Conservation projects in the Trossachs and on the Isle of Skye are in the running to win funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association in a public vote which closes tomorrow. The Skye project is in the running in the Alpine category of the awards, and would see the John Muir Trust win cash to pay for repairs to the path up the iconic mountain, Bla Bheinn. The mountain guards the entrance to the Black Cuillin range on the Isle of Skye, and stands in rugged wild land ringed by coastal villages, sea lochs and native woodland. Chris Goodman, the

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Posted in Nature

Scots Pine returning to Ben Lawers

The iconic Scots Pine is making a return to the lower slopes of Ben Lawers thanks to the combined efforts of the National Trust for Scotland, some local young naturalists and small group tour operator Rabbie’s. Local children from the Killin Green Team planted 15 individually protected Scots Pines at Cragganester on the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve which is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Around 50 trees will be in place by the end of the project. Ben Lawers Property Manager Helen Cole said: “It is fantastic to have the next generation of conservationists helping

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Posted in Nature

Isle of May opens for the season

The first puffins have already started to arrive at the popular Isle of May national nature reserve, as it gears up for visitors this year, beginning 3 April. The island is renowned for its bird populations, its seals, its history and its carpets of flowers. The reserve, at the mouth of the Forth, has a boat service from Fife and East Lothian during the visitor season. David Pickett, the Isle of May reserve manager, said: “The Isle of May is a wonderful place to see seabirds and seals – and it’s certainly the best place in Scotland to see puffins.

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Posted in News

2014 Mountain Writing Competition open for entries

Writers with a taste for the high life are being sought by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland for its long running literary competition. The MCofS Mountain Writing Competition 2014 seeks out the best in mountain writing, whether fact or fiction, prose or poetry. Entries should have some connection with mountains and mountaineering, rock or ice climbing, walking or ski-mountaineering, and winners will receive a cash prize and the chance to see their entries in print in the Scottish Mountaineer, the quarterly MCofS magazine which goes out to its more than 12,000 members. The first placed winners in prose and poetry

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Posted in News

Loch Lomond camping ban may be extended

The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority is to consider further measures to deal with antisocial behaviour and pressure from high visitor numbers which may include more wild camping bans. Wild camping on the east side of Loch Lomond between Drymen and Rowardennan during the summer months is currently banned under a byelaw introduced in 2011. The ban was enforceable with a £500 fine and regular Police and ranger patrols were implemented as well as other measures such as an alcohol ban. The Park Authority has now issued a report which shows that experience in the East Loch

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Posted in Access issues, News

New action for threatened Highland woodlands and species

With concerns over the state of many Scottish woodlands – and fears for the long-term survival of iconic species including red squirrel, pine marten and capercaillie – conservation charity Trees for Life is marking its 25th anniversary this year with a significant expansion of its forest restoration work across the Highlands and with new projects focusing on the recovery of endangered species. Trees for Life is now extending the geographical range of its forest restoration activity from its previous project area of 1,000 square miles west of Inverness and Loch Ness, and is exploring opportunities to restore neglected and derelict

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Posted in Nature

Six birds of prey found dead near Muir of Ord

The bodies of five red kites and a buzzard have been found in the Muir of Ord area of Ross-shire in the last week. The birds of prey were found dead at several different nearby locations. Police Scotland it that at this stage in the investigation it was not clear how the birds died, but said it was likely the deaths involved “some form of criminality”. Det Insp Scott McDonald said: “I would ask anyone who has been working on the land or using the area for recreational purposes to contact us if they have seen anything suspicious that may

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Posted in Nature

Gear Short: SteriPEN Ultra

We’re lucky to have probably the world’s finest water in Scotland, so most hillwalkers think nothing of swigging straight from the burn – in fact, it’s one of my greatest outdoor pleasures (especially when combined with a local single malt…). Even in Scotland precautions need to be taken though, extracting water downstream of a dead sheep is never wise, and ensuring that you’re well above farmland and any surface run-off is a good move. Risks from contaminated water include waterborne pathogens – protozoa (causing, for example,  cryptosporidiosis), bacteria (eg. dysentery) and viruses (eg. hepatitis). There’s also the matter of particulate

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Posted in Accessories, Camping, Gear reviews

Appeal to save Glen Licht House

Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club (EUMC) has put out an urgent appeal for donations to repair Glen Licht House. The hut, which is nestled among the Five Sisters of Kintail, is normally available to individuals and clubs by advance booking. Unfortunately, Glen Licht House’s roof was badly damaged in a storm last winter and the building is now falling apart. The EUMC is looking to raise both awareness of the issue and money to help repair it. The Club says that as well as essential structural repairs, they will also be able to improve the house’s interior with a better stove,

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Posted in Access issues, News


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