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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Watching otters in Scotland

An encounter with an otter in the wild is a magical experience. Helen Webster takes a look at the best places to spot otters, how to boost your chances of a sighting, and tips to avoid disturbing these amazing creatures. Whilst the European otter (lutra lutra) is at home in both fresh and salt water habitats, they are most easily seen along our coastlines – a calm sea often presents the best opportunities to start looking. Where? You could spot otters almost anywhere on the Scottish coast. Although the west coast, Mull, Skye, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland have the

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Posted in Features, Photography

Gear review: Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket

Recommended Price: £220Weight: 185g (large) The Flashpoint 2 is a truly ultralight waterproof jacket. Weighing in at just 185g in men’s size large, the jacket squashes into a tiny stuff sack and is barely noticeable in your pack; runners could even simply attach it to a belt. So where are the compromises? The fabric is 3 layer Pertex Shield. I’ve found it to be surprisingly breathable, and it also seems pretty robust for the weight. I’m sure these qualities are partly down to it having 3 layer construction – I typically find 2 and 2 and half layer waterproofs feel

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Fires – a burning issue

With photos of campfire rings and damage left in the pinewoods circulating on social media, Adam Streeter-Smith, Access Officer for the Cairngorms National Park authority, takes on a hot topic, asking just what is responsible behaviour. Picture the scene – a starry night sky, crickets are chirping and the horses hobbled nearby are munching on the grass, the coffee pot perched on the edge of the fire starts to boil and the aroma mixes with the wild sage. You casually kick a log with your cowboy boot and sparks waft into the night sky…. Now transpose the romanticised notion of

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Posted in Access issues, Magazine, Nature

Gear Review: Sprayway Women’s Escape Shorts

Recommend Price: £50Weight: 175g (size 10) In recent years shorts seems to have morphed into either teeny weeny very short shorts or baggy knee length mountain biker style shorts. These Escape shorts from Sprayway are from the traditional, easy-fit school of design but in a great fabric that makes them both versatile and very comfortable. The lightweight TecWeave nylon fabric stretches in all directions, has a soft feel and a water resistant finish. In practice this means they move extremely well and can cope with scrambling without riding up. The fabric has worn well so far, has proved resistant to

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Posted in Gear reviews, Trousers

Gear Review: Salomon Outline GTX women’s hiking shoe

RRP: £115 (currently on offer with some retailers)Weight: 280 grams per shoe (UK size 6) For summer walking I always prefer to wear lightweight boots or shoes if conditions are dry enough. This year those days have been few and far between but there was a hot week in May and some drier days in between when I’ve been out and about testing these trail shoes from Salomon. Given the rain we’ve had recently I’ve been grateful for the Goretex lining. Designed on a running last, these lean towards lightweight trainers rather than being at the stout hiking shoe end

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews

Gear review: Mammut hiking pants

Recommended Price: £79Weight: 230g (32″) Allegedly we’re now in the middle of summer, the ideal time of year for this pair of lightweight walking trousers from Mammut. The fit is athletic, but the stretchy material (94% Polyamide, 6% Elastane) and shaped knees ensures that these are extremely comfortable to wear. They are very quick drying, and have been treated with a durable water repellent coating that helps to repel light showers. The coating is PFC-free, and the trousers are bluesign certified, so you can be confident that their manufacture minimizes environmental impact. There are two front pockets, both zipped, and

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Posted in Gear reviews, Trousers

Police Scotland launch Bothy Watch initiative

Police Scotland has today launched ‘Bothy Watch’ – an initiative to raise awareness of the issues surrounding remote bothies across the south of Scotland. As well as the MBA, this multi-agency initiative includes partners from Forestry and Land Scotland, Local Authorities and Mountain Rescue Team volunteers with a focus on reducing crime in outlying areas, keeping the bothies free from damage and allowing them to be used for the purpose they are intended for. In launching the initiative, Police Scotland said: “For years these buildings have been a valuable and in fact quite a social resource for hill walkers and cyclists,

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Posted in Access issues, Magazine, News

Confessions of a non runner

It doesn’t matter how you get there or what you call yourself, the hills don’t care. David Lintern escapes the tyranny of team sports and goes for a jog up a ridge. A few years ago you’d have never caught me doing it. I used to run a bit in secondary school, but only as a way of getting out of games. We’d be allowed off school grounds to run around Shirley hills, but we ran only the pavements and not into the woods themselves. We were on a prescribed route. I tolerated it, but it was mostly an escape

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Posted in Features, Magazine

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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.