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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Outdoor gear for kids – review

A few winters back we were coming down from a fine day on the hill and came across two people coming up towards us exchanging loud words until they spotted us. We had a quick chat, it was dad and junior making mixed progress in both their ongoing friendship and their ascent up the snow filled gullies and over iced rock. Dad was dressed for the Alps – either Arrochar or further afield – and junior was red faced and unhappy-looking in a damp cotton Gap hoodie. Of course I don’t know the whole story, but that youngster was miserable

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Posted in Accessories, Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Rucksacks

Our first National Park – forever tainted

PERMITS, bans and byelaws, the words that will forever taint the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, and indeed an SNP Government that many people, including myself, thought would take an intense pride in the access provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, legislation that has become the envy of the world.   In an attempt to curb the activities of a minority who engage in anti-social behaviour on the loch-sides of our first National Park, it has been decided that a seasonal blanket ban on camping is the way forward, a ban on camping besides roads and lochsides

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine

Largest ever survey of Scottish wildcats commences

wildcat

The largest-ever survey of Scottish wildcats is now underway with more than 300 trail cameras live as from today. The survey focuses on five of the wildcat priority areas of Scotland, including Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Strathavon, North Strathspey and the Angus Glens. Work will be continuing in Morvern later in the year. As part of Scottish Wildcat Action, these motion-sensitive cameras will monitor cats living in parts of the Highlands over a 60-day period. Survey methods are informed by published scientific studies and a practical hands-on approach. More than 130 volunteers will check the cameras. Data gathered will help inform wildcat

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Posted in Nature

Scottish Government approves Lomond camping ban

The Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod, has approved the controversial extended wild camping ban proposed by the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority Convener Linda McKay, warmly welcomed the announcement: “This is tremendously positive news for all those who, like us, want to protect and enhance some of Scotland’s most precious natural places. “These carefully considered proposals reflect the views of a wide body of interests and demonstrate the delicate balance that needs to be struck when caring for our National Parks. We firmly

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Posted in Access issues, Nature

Walking in Circles

Snow was tickling the inland hills when I arrived at the ruined chapel at Kilmarie on the Craignish peninsula. It was early December and melancholy-grey; the sea and sky stilled after a weekend of violent storms. All was now holding its breath before a proper fall of snow. Overhead the sound of crows’ wing-beats and a curlew’s whoop seemed amplified. Despite planes going over, the fishing boats out again after the storm, a radio playing on a nearby building site, there was a sense of ancientness here amidst the glister of wet rock and mottled gravestones, their ownership gradually being

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Trust launches £50k Suilven path appeal

Following its success last year in a Euro-wide online poll worth £18,000 towards the restoration of the Suilven footpath, the John Muir Trust has now officially launched a wider public appeal to raise the balance of funding. Situated in the spectacular landscape of West Sutherland, Suilven lies on community-owned land managed by the Assynt Foundation. With its distinctive geography and spectacular location, the mountain attracts visitors from all over the UK and beyond. Due to increasing popularity, fragile soils and a harsh climate, the most popular approach to Suilven, beginning at Glencanisp, is rapidly deteriorating. The Suilven path restoration project will set

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Posted in Nature

Mick Tighe wins Mountain Culture Award

Mick Tighe, a guide, rescuer, trainer and pioneer who embodies the spirit of Scottish mountaineering, has been announced as this year’s winner of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2016. Nominated by the public and his peers as a mountain hero who celebrates achievement, accomplishment and the spirit of adventure, Mick joins previous winners such as Hamish MacInnes, Jimmy Marshall and Myrtle Simpson in the Excellence in Mountain Culture Hall of Fame. Those who nominated Mick for the award described him as embodying the spirit of Scottish mountaineering, whether through his work as a guide, rescuer, trainer, pioneer

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Posted in News

Anatomy of a winter hill day

Whilst we’re still fairly early in the season I thought it might be worthwhile to spend a little time examining a specific winter excursion. I’m besotted with the challenges and rewards that winter conditions bring to the Scottish Hills, and I know I’m not alone. But there is a lot that can go wrong, and quickly too, so I think it’s really worth reviewing each time we go out, to see where we could have improved our day, making it safer, more enjoyable, or ideally both. I’m going to use an example of a day out a friend and I

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Slow Marathon planned for River Deveron

Huntly will again be hosting a slow marathon, a 26 mile walk along the River Deveron in April. The organisers, Deveron Arts, say that a slow marathon celebrates the human pace. It is both an endurance event, attracting walkers from all walks of life, and a poetic act, bringing art and walking together. The Huntly event is now an annual event, originating in 2012 when the first Slow Marathon was planned by Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede. Slow Marathon 2016 is a 26 mile/42 km along the River Deveron walking against the flow to Huntly. The route is inspired by artist

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Posted in News

Charity urges more protection for Scottish mountain plants

A leading wildlife charity is calling for more protection for the unique community of plants found on the Scottish mountains. Plantlife Scotland says that many of these rare species are in decline due to factors including climate change and unsuitable land management, and is asking walkers to contribute to their survival by taking part in annual plant surveys. Plantlife says that from the upland mires and springs where plants like starry saxifrage grow to the alpine plateaux of the Cairngorms where mosses and liverworts carpet the ground, these arctic-alpine communities have adapted to survive the harshest of living conditions. These

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Posted in Nature, News


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