We have a plan ...

In the last Newsletter, we outlined the interim results of the then ongoing membership survey. Since then, we have had replies back from many member clubs and a few remaining individuals and have completed the exercise. The summary of results set out in last year's Newsletter remains essentially the same.

Since then, we have taken the opinions and combined them to produce a strategic plan outlining NEMT's future direction. This Plan is still being discussed within the General Council and is some way from being finalised. One significant aspect is that we are proposing to seek funding for a part-time Development Officer. This might seem ambitious but a bit of ambition never hurt and almost all of the actions needed to secure funding serve the function of trying to create a more focussed organ isation, not spreading ourselves too thinly, concentrating on the areas where we can add the most value. Employing somebody is a major step and one that we won't be taking lightly.

In the meantime what do you think of the Plan set out below? We would still appreciate hearing from Individual Members and Clubs.

NEMT Strategic Plan 2010-2013

INTRODUCTION: The North East Mountain Trust was founded with a remit to protect the mountains of Scotland and other areas of wild land from developments which might erode their unique qualities. This strategic plan has been developed with a view to developing the Trust's capacity to deliver this objective in the most effective ways.

BACKGROUND TO THE NORTH EAST MOUNTAIN TRUST: Local climbers founded the North East Mountain Trust in the late 1970s to mobilise a national campaign to oppose the creation of a super quarry at Longhaven, south of Peterhead. Such a development would have destroyed an important climbing ground and, perhaps more importantly, damaged a dramatic and beautiful stretch of coast along with nesting grounds for a variety of seabirds. The campaign was successful and the coastal strip, now owned bythe Scottish Wildlife Trust, is protected for ever.

A second major victory was the prevention of mechanised skiing, with an attendant road, into Lurcher's Gully. The urbanisation of the Northern Corries of Cairngorm was averted and, in the light of the current difficulties facing Scotland’s skiing industry, an economic white elephant was avoided. At times defeat had seemed certain, with elements amongst the climbing fraternity showing a willingness to compromise. NEMT, however, stood firm on the principle that Lurcher’s was wholly inappropriate.

The context of mountain and wild land protection has changed dramatically since those early crusades. Voluntary bodies, such as the John Muir Trust and the Cairngorms Campaign, have emerged. Countrywide activity is co-ordinated through organisations such as Scottish Environment Link, which NEMT was involved in founding, and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. National Parks have become a reality. NEMT has continued to act to ensure that wild land, particularly in the North East, is safeguarded for all hill goers. In recent years, it has focussed particularly on the unacceptable, and often illegal, proliferation of hill tracks in the Cairngorms. It has provided evidence to inquiries which have led to estates having to make good the damage. In addition, NEMT successfully organised a project to test the feasibility of mapping all tracks in the Cairngorms and is in the process of extending this beyond the pilot phase. NEMT has supported, or constructively criticised, a host of initiatives such as the maintenance foot paths, wind farms and the Cairngorm National Park plans. A winter lecture programme on climbing and environmental themes provides interest and entertainment. To guide its future direction, NEMT consulted its members and other interested parties in 2009. Key themes which emerged from this exercise have been incorporated into NEMT’s objectives and activities outlined below.

CONSTITUTION AND MEMBERSHIP: NEMT is a voluntary, charitable body registered with Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. It is a membership organisation which represents around 750 people through individual and club membership. With affiliated and reciprocal arrangements with other bodies which share its aims, it acts on behalf of around 20000 people.

AIM: To protect wild hill country and remote coastal areas, with particular focus on North East Scotland, for the benefit of people who enjoy visiting such places.



A. Hill tracks - NEMT will:

  1. Continue to map existing tracks in the Cairngorms in order to provide a data base for future decision making. This will include the digitalisation of the hand produced map of tracks created by an NEMT member.
  2. Encourage best practice in the maintenance of existing hill tracks.
  3. Challenge the creation of new tracks or the upgrading of existing tracks where these contravene planning law.
  4. Work with other organisations to change the law regarding the creation of new tracks in upland environments.

B. Paths in the Cairngorms and remote coastal areas - NEMT will:

  1. actively support organisations dedicated to maintaining existing paths by encouraging best practice regarding minimal visual intrusion.
  2. oppose the creation of new build paths in mountain areas.

C. Conservation and access issues - NEMT will:

  1. Promote, where appropriate, the concept of the ‘long walk-in’.
  2. Monitor the implementation of the sections of the Land Reform [Scotland] Act 2003 addressing legitimate access in its areas of interest and take action where this is hindered.
  3. Encourage best practice in communication between estates and hill goers regarding access in the stalking season.
  4. Support the protection of native pine forest and appropriate reforestation.
  5. Support energy conservation and renewable energy developments except where the lattererode the remoteness of wild land.
  6. Encourage good practice in the protection of birds, mammals and plant life, particularly where these are protected bylaw, in its areas of interest.
  7. Co-operate with other agencies to facilitate the maintenance of hill paths where these are subject to serious erosion.
  8. Respond to consultations from statutory bodies regarding issues within its remit.
  9. Work with the Cairngorm Campaign to create an archive of relevant material.
  10. Prepare policy and standards documents and statements on key issues.

D. Engagement - NEMT will:

  1. Gather and assess information relevant to its aim.
  2. Disseminate information via ‘Mountain Views’, the winter lecture programme, the annual report, the website and other means of communication to update interested parties on key issues and to stimulate debate.
  3. Brief local and national political representatives on issues regarding the protection of wild land and raise specific matters of concern with them as relevant.
  4. Workwith other environmental organisations, both statutory and voluntary, on issues of mutual interest such as wildlife and botanical surveys, wildlife protection campaigns, the legal protection of wild land etc.
  5. Involve the membership and other interested parties in its campaigning activities.
  6. Organise awareness raising and monitoring field trips involving the membership and the wider public.
  7. Engage with statutory organisations as required.
  8. Comment in the media on issues relate to best practice in the conservation of wild land.

E. Governance - NEMT will:

  1. Prepare a strategic plan.
  2. Review its constitution.
  3. Change its status to that of a company limited by guarantee or other appropriate legal designation.
  4. Seek funding from non-statutory sources for the employment of a part- time development officer.
  5. Seekfunding as required for single projects.
  6. Review the role of the General Council in the light of the employment of a development officer.
  7. Endeavourto increase the membership.
  8. Encourage the involvement of the membership in specific activities and campaigns.


In addition to its ongoing commitments, NEMT will:

  1. Further develop its work on hill tracks, including working with others on legislative control from a national perspective.
  2. Engage more fully with the issue of the appropriate maintenance of hill paths in its area of interest.
  3. Implement a programme of awareness raising and monitoring field trips..
  4. Brief local councillors and MSP’s on matters of interest and concern.
  5. Review its governance and implement any changes which this exercise recommends.
  6. Seekfunding for a part-time development officer.

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