News Roundup

Lend me a T-Shirt: Write me an Article

(Editor’s note: When Eric contacted me for an NEMT T-shirt to illustrate local wildcat imagery as part of the launch of this survey I agreed – in return for an article for Mountain Views – hence the title!)

NEMT 2008 Summer Social Event

At the time of going to press we are finalising details for our promotional and recruiting NEMT summer social event. The last time we did this was in Summer 2004 when we held a BBQ in the Westburn Lounge and it was very successful.

If you are interested in learning about what we do in NEMT, and especially if you would like to play an active part, whether as an individual or a hill-walking club representative, please come along. To help us keep a check on numbers all we ask is that you drop us an email to to say you hope to be joining us.

Should there be any changes to the following we will advise you what these are by return. We will also put details up on our website as they are finalised.

DATE: Thursday, 26th June, 2008
VENUE: Aberdeen Grammar FP Club,
86 Queens Road, ABERDEEN

We will be providing a light supper and giving a short presentation on what NEMT is all about. We will also give you a short illustrated talk on our
Hilltracks Project.

A Track too far

Almost as a conspiracy to stop this edition of Mountain Views ever getting to print, in comes another highly controversial and on-going track building development happening even as we speak through a hitherto un-scathed-by-tracks part of another beautiful Deeside estate. This time the track is being built by the Glen Dye Estate on the Glen Dye side of the Water of Aven from opposite the tree plantation, with map co-ordinates NO610895 to 595883, running along the south side of the river, mostly within 20-30m of it.

This time the ingredients are:

Yes, this is a sorry state of affairs. NEMT will continue to play its part as an NGO to see if we can get the professionals to get the legislation onto a more sensible basis – before our hills start looking like a game of snakes and ladders.

Cairngorms Park To Be Enlarged

It has been reported that Scottish Environment Minister Mike Russell has announced that the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park would be extended to include Blair Atholl and parts of eastern and Highland Perthshire. When the Park was created, the previous Scottish administration disregarded the advice of SNH and others and drew its south-western boundaries according to political rather environmental criteria. Ever since, campaigners have sought to correct this error and their efforts have now borne fruit. SNH will be taking forward this boundary review in the near future. The new boundary is expected to include the Forest of Atholl, Blair Atholl, the Beinn Udlamain mountain group to the west of the A9 and an area around the A93 including Glas Tulaichean and the Spittal of Glenshee.

Mr Russell has also announced a general review of the administration, powers and boundaries of both Scotland's National Parks. The original legislation provided for such a review after the Parks had been in operation for five years. Mr Russell's announcement also follows the publication of a damning report on the Parks' management structure by University of Strathclyde economics professor Neil Kay. He accuses the Park authorities of being a "clunky, cumbersome, formal and bureaucratic muddle" and recommends that they be abolished and their powers transferred to SNH. The Park Boards and SNH have responded cautiously to the report.

MCofS Needs You!
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland is currently compiling a list of priority upland paths for repair. The Council is concerned that the current focus by local authorities on Core Paths could lead them to neglect the equally important issue of upland path maintenance.

MCofS Access and Conservation Officer Hebe Carus would like hillgoers to contact her with details of upland paths they believe to be in need of repair. This will allow MCofS to to compile priority lists of such paths for different areas. The information should include grid references for the start and finish of the area of path and, if possible, details about the severity of erosion, the type of substrate, photographs and the relevant Council area. Information should be sent to Hebe by email at or by post to Mountaineering Council of Scotland, The Old Granary, West Mill Street,Perth PH1 5QP.

Schiehallion Path Disagreement

The John Muir Trust has objected to Perth and Kinross Council's proposal to include the path up Schiehallion in its Core Path Network. "While we completely support the development of a Core Path Network in Perthshire, we do not think that this route fits the Council's own criteria of what makes a core path," commented Andrew Campbell, Land Manager for the John Muir Trust. The Trust is also concerned about the safety implications of designation. Mr Campbell went on to say "To many people a Core Path Network gives the impression that the routes are relatively easy, fairly low level and not too arduous. Routes to the tops of mountains do not fall into this category." The detailed grounds for JMT's objection can be found at

Industrial Wind Farms Threaten Scottish Tourism
Leading eco-tourism business Wilderness Scotland has raised serious questions about the accuracy and relevance of a recent Government-funded study into the impact of land-based wind power developments on Scottish tourism. Enterprise Minister Jim Mather has claimed the study demonstrates that the development of large-scale wind farms in Scotland would not adversely affect Scottish tourism. These findings contrast sharply with studies carried out by two leading Scottish tourism industry bodies. A study carried out in April 2006 by Wild Scotland, the association of wildlife tour operators, showed that 61% of operators in Scotland feared the impact of wind farms on Scottish Tourism would be negative. A further survey in the same month by Activity Scotland, the association of activity holiday operators, revealed that 88% of operators similarly believed that the likely impact would be negative.

Landowner's Grant Cut After Raptor Poisoning
Borders farmer James McDougal had almost 8,000 Euro cut from his EU subsidy payments after his gamekeeper was recently convicted of setting traps holding live pigeons and placing poisoned pheasant carcasses on moorland near the Southern Upland Way to catch birds of prey. George Aitken was sentenced to 220 hours community service. Mr McDougal is the first landowner is be penalised under powers which have existed in European law for the last four years for failing to protect wildlife. Scottish Environment Minister Mike Russell has asked officials to make more use of their powers. "It's absolutely wrong for individuals to have money from the public purse and to commit, or allow to be committed, illegal acts." he said.

Sign of the Times

Mountainsafe is a group formed in North Wales by the Mountain Rescue Association, the Snowdonia National Park Authority and North Wales Police to address the number of injuries and deaths in Snowdonia. Mountainsafe provides free navigation and mountain awareness courses to novice walkers under the slogan 'Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory'. More controversially, it has also proposed placing warning signs on routes such as Crib Goch which have a history of such events. The suggestion has been greeted with hostility by mountaineers. British Mountaineering Council for Wales Chairman Mike Raine said "This proposed urbanisation of the wild mountain environment is totally unacceptable." while Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team Secretary Ian Henderson commented "People don't want the mountains covered in signs. A little bit of planning can go a long way, and most people go up adequately equipped."

Will Campbell

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