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Monthly Archives: November 2018

More Scots heading to the great outdoors

Visits to the outdoors have hit record levels in Scotland, a new survey suggests…

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Posted in Access issues, Magazine, News

Discovering the natural world – to infinity and beyond!

My fleece trousers and woolly hat insulated me from the first icy breath of winter but it was still cold at the loch’s edge. I’d been sitting there for an hour, having deliberately got up before sunrise to see some geese. That probably sounds underwhelming but these were pink-footed geese. I’ve written about them before so won’t go into the ecology, but suffice to say they spend winter here in enormous numbers and their daily morning exodus is worth setting the alarm for. While listening to the geese waking up and readying themselves for departure, the first rays of sunshine

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Gear Review: Alpkit Keeshond women’s fleece

Recommended Price: £55 Weight: 410g (size 10) This is a very warm and comfortable fleece from Alpkit. Most of the material is a high pile, fluffy fabric, with a much stretchier gridded fleece down the sides including armpits and around the cuffs. This combination seems to work well, with reasonably good wicking properties. A single chunky full-length front zip has a baffle behind it and there are two generous non-zipped hand warmer pockets. A smaller Napolean pocket at the chest will take a mobile phone or GPS but I don’t find this the most comfortable place to store these items,

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Posted in Gear reviews, Midlayers

Book Review: Scotland – a Rewilding Journey

It’s not often that a book is stunningly beautiful to look at but also conveys an important message – but “Scotland – A Rewilding Journey” may be one such. This new book is published by Scotland: The Big Picture, a not-for-profit social enterprise set up by a group of Highlands-based conservation photographers. Their track record is a strong one, with previous books including a study of the red squirrel, and – earlier this year – ‘The Lynx and Us’ which took an in-depth look at what it might be like if Scotland decided to reintroduce the lynx. This new book,

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Posted in Books, Gear reviews, Magazine

Who goes there? Mapping ‘Extreem Wildernes’

On the summit of Ben Hee, with a cloud bank surfing over rock-swell and waves of snow-sharpened ridges and summits heaving up close by, I saw the three coasts of Scotland. Hills revealed themselves to the west; Ben Stack, Quinag, Ben More Assynt, baring unfamiliar sides to me in a complex fresh architecture backed by a blue line of Atlantic. To the north, Ben Loyal and Ben Hope guarded watery ingresses from the Pentland Firth. And to the east the twin cones of Morven and Scaraben rose above low bog near Dunbeath and the North Sea. Climbing Ben Hee, perhaps

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Review: Berghaus Kanaga GTX women’s walking shoe

RRP: £125 (currently available at just under £100 in many places) Weight: 750g per pair (size 5.5) I’m a big fan of lightweight trail shoes, particularly for summer walking, so was happy to see whether this sturdier waterproof trail shoe from Berghaus would carry those lightweight benefits through to enable them to be worn for a longer season. The shoe is very traditional looking with a brown nubuck upper, small mesh panels and a traditional tongue and lacing system on top of a vibram sole. The construction is robust with no signs of wear at the flex point at the

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Hill tracks – why is the SNP Government blocking progress?

POLITICS is a strange business. Much of it is carried out in committee rooms where elected representatives of the people make decisions on subjects they often know very little about. About four years ago Helen Todd of Scottish Environment Link and I had a meeting with the erstwhile Planning Minister Derek Mackay on the subject of bulldozed tracks in the hills. I had been encouraged to have a chat with Mackay by Alex Salmond who was First Minister at the time. I had been meeting with Alex to discuss various issues about landscape protection and generally he was very helpful.

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine, Nature

Scottish Avalanche forecasts to start 14 December

The SportScotland Avalanche Information Service will start publishing its detailed forecasts for the Scottish Mountains on Friday 14 December. The six mountain areas covered are Northern Cairngorms, Southern Cairngorms, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, Glencoe and Torridon. Each report covers snow, avalanche, and climbing conditions. The reports are available from the website or via mobile phone app. Avalanche hazard forecast will be issued at the weekends for the two highest mountain areas: Northern Cairngorms and Lochaber, in the run up to 14 December if conditions require it. With over 210 avalanches recorded in Scotland last winter the SAIS is again asking any

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Posted in News

Gear Review: Rab Microlight Alpine down jacket

Price: £190 (currently on offer for less with various retailers) Weight: 420g (women’s 10) I’ve worn a Microlight Alpine down jacket both on the hills and in town for the past 3 winters. It’s a versatile jacket that has proved harder wearing than I expected and I anticipate having several more years wear out of it. The jacket has had a redesign for its 10th anniversary so I was keen to check out the new version as well as giving my long-term verdict on the original design. The jacket is made from an outer of water resistant Pertex Quantum material

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Mountain Rescue teams criticise search and rescue helicopter contract

In a joint press release four of the largest Scottish Mountain Rescue teams – Glencoe, Tayside, Lochaber and Cairngorm – have gone public with shared concerns about the level of support they receive under the privatised but publicly funded Search and Rescue Helicopter contract. We’ve included the complete text from the four teams below. “This weekend gone we saw the first real snows of winter hit Scotland’s hills. Heralding the start of the busiest season for the independent Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams of Cairngorm, Lochaber, Glencoe and Tayside. As the teams prepare to undertake difficult and potentially dangerous rescues in

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Posted in Access issues, Magazine, News


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.