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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Clocks changing – time to be prepared for winter on the hills

As the clocks go back this weekend and darkness falls earlier, walkers and climbers are being reminded that summer is well and truly over in the mountains. Snow is being forecast for the tops this weekend, meaning conditions underfoot could be difficult. A thin covering of snow over bare rock or scree can make footholds extremely slippery, without giving enough purchase for crampon points or ice axes to bite well. Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Adviser for Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Conditions can be very treacherous at this time of year and just having the right equipment isn’t enough: you have to

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Posted in Magazine, News

Nature-depleted Scotland needs new era of rewilding says new book

A sticking plaster approach to conservation is failing Scotlands wildlife – and with species such as red squirrel, wild cat and capercaillie declining or on the edge of extinction, a new era of massive rewilding is needed, says a landmark new book. Scotland has the space and opportunity to take a fresh approach, with people working with nature, not against it, and allowing ecosystems to restore themselves on a large-scale, say the authors of Scotland: A Rewilding Journey, which is being launched in Inverness this evening. “Right now, nature is in steep decline – but Scotland is perfectly placed to

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Posted in Magazine, Nature

Step up for Scotland’s Footpaths as NTS launches repair appeal

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is appealing for donations to its Footpath Fund in a bid to help repair and protect the 440km of upland path it manages. With eight natural heritage sites under its care, including Ben Lawers, Glencoe, Goatfell, Craigower, Mar Lodge Estate, Torridon and Killiecrankie, the NTS plays a crucial role in protecting Scotland’s natural environment and wildlife. Donating just £25 allows the footpath team to stabilise the edge of a collapsing path, £50 will help implement a drainage solution to four metres of path and £60 will help restore up to 10 metres of path.

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Posted in Access issues, Nature, News

Review: The Secret Life of the Mountain Hare

Out of all the creatures with which we share Scotland’s hills, for me there are none that can match the charm of the mountain hare. Whilst on most encounters we walkers only manage to get a fleeting glimpse of their rear end as they skip gracefully away over the snow or through the heather, a close encounter with a relaxed hare reveals their endlessly endearing facial expressions and gestures. When it comes to photographing these magical creatures there’s one man who has risen to prominence as the pre-eminent hare photographer in recent years – Andy Howard – so this book

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Posted in Books, Magazine, Photography

Interview with Claire Mack, head of Scottish Renewables

Controversy over renewable energy projects has raged in the outdoors world for many years, from concerns over the siting of wind farms and protection of wild land to the more recent landscape damage from hydro schemes in some of our most stunning landscapes. Helen caught up with Claire Mack, the Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, the trade body for renewable energy in Scotland, to get the industry view. We understand that you’re a user of Walkhighlands, so I presume you enjoy walking in Scotland’s outdoors yourself. What does getting out in the Scottish landscape mean to you and do you

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Posted in Magazine, Nature

Give a bit of Mountain Magic – Adopt an Acre

Conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) is urging walkers to turn away from the usual consumerist frezy and give an alternative gift this Christmas. The JMT says its Adopt an Acre is the ideal gift for mountaineers, hillwalkers and anyone else, at home or abroad, who has an emotional connection with the mighty mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Four of Scotland’s finest Munros have been offered for ‘adoption’ by the John Muir Trust – with the proceeds helping to fund conservation work on each of the mountains, including footpath repairs, landscape enhancement and wildlife protection. For £25, members of

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Posted in Nature

Obituary: Rennie McOwan

Rennie McOwan was an esteemed outdoorsman, journalist, writer and broadcaster who was steeped in the history, folklore and culture of his native Scotland. Through his newspaper columns, books and television programmes, he shared his knowledge and views of the great outdoors. Above all, he played a key role in persuading the authorities to make freedom to roam in Scotland a legal right. As a young boy, his parents gave him his own personal freedom to roam the Ochil Hills around the village of Menstrie near Stirling where he was born in 1933. The hills, mountains, burns and braes became his

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Posted in Features, Magazine, News

Increase in Tayside beavers leads to call for greater protection

Beaver numbers across Tayside have increased in the past six years, according to a new Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) survey. Whilst welcoming the expansion of the species, the Scottish Wildlife Trust is warning that without legal protection these beavers are at risk of unregulated, and possibly inhumane killing. The SNH report estimates that around 430 beavers live in over 100 active beaver territories in Tayside. A 2012 survey estimated beaver numbers across the region at about 150 beavers in 40 territories. Nick Halfhide, SNH’s Director of Sustainable Growth, said, “By building dams, beavers improve local water quality and help nurture

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Posted in Nature

Signs, sticks and stones

When is a pile of stones a work of art, a historical monument or an act of vandalism, and how much signage do we want in the Scottish Hills? David Lintern considers cairns, signposts, interpretation and other human interventions, both seen and unseen. A pile of rocks Cairns are perhaps the oldest marks in our landscape, but their existence is complex – they have different forms and functions. Some designate a summit or an ancient site, waymark a route, others seem to be more about mark making or decoration. Recently, Skye locals clubbed together to remove rock stacks made by

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine, Nature

Votes needed to help secure the future of Scotland’s red squirrels

An innovative Highlands project offering hope for the long-term survival of Scotland’s red squirrels will be stepped up if conservation charity Trees for Life wins an online vote for a major European funding award. With the UK’s red squirrels at risk of extinction, the charity’s pioneering Reds Return project has been shortlisted to receive more than £25,000 in the European Outdoor Conservation Association’s funding scheme. The winner will be determined by online voting between 8-19 October, and anyone can vote for Trees for Life at www.treesforlife.org.uk/voteTFL. Winning would allow Trees for Life to reintroduce red squirrels to four carefully chosen

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Posted in Magazine, Nature


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