Mountain Bothies ‘threatened’ by commercial use

The Mountain Bothy Association has said the sustainability of mountain bothies is being threatened by commercial groups. It expressed concern about the increasing numbers of businesses using the shelters and in the following statement:

"There have been incidents when legitimate bothy users have been made to feel unwelcome, inconvenienced or even refused entry when commercial groups have been in residence. Our volunteers, who maintain the bothies, not unreasonably feel aggrieved to know that their hard work is contributing to the profits of a business that probably does not support our organisation in any way."

The MBA indicated it does not have a problem with a commercial organization using a bothy for a lunch-stop or in the event of a “genuine emergency”.

Rise in Golden Eagle Populations

The RSPB have announced the results of the fourth national golden eagle survey. This shows the population of these birds of prey has increased to 508 pairs in Scotland. That is a rise of 15% since the previous survey in 2003, when 442 pairs were recorded, and indicates recovery of the population towards levels thought to have been present in this country historically.

Daniel Hayhow, lead author of the study, said: “The huge national survey effort required a minimum three visits to over 700 known traditional golden eagle sites the length and breadth of Scotland. We thank the voluntary Scottish Raptor Study Group for the dedication and expertise of their surveyors, who went out in all weathers in some of the remotest parts of Scotland. Without them we simply would not have the vital data needed to assess the numbers of these magnificent birds. We also acknowledge the help and support of many landowners and farmers who provided invaluable logistical support on the ground.”

The results are deemed significant because as the golden eagle population has now exceeded 500 pairs it now meets the targets that enable it to be defined as having ‘favourable conservation status’.

MSPs debate the State of Nature report 2016

MSPs debated on 16th November 2016 the publication of the State of Nature Scotland Report 2016
This is only the second such national report and reported on changes in the population of three taxonomic groups – vascular plants, butterflies, and birds. There is robust research into these groups. This Scottish report is part of a UK State of Nature report 2016. The report identifies the main threats to bio-diversity as climate change, urbanisation, farming practices and non-native invasion species.

There was a lively debate in Parliament during which attention was brought to the significance of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and the relevance of local Biodiversity Partnerships in bringing forward action plans. Some speakers called for the creation of a national ecology network with small-scale examples of tree-lined streets, urban green roofs etc. whilst larger-scale examples included restoration of peat lands and an increase in protected areas.

There was consensus that action on biodiversity is essential to prevent species and habitat loss. Nature-based tourism is estimated to account for as much as 40 per cent of tourism spending in Scotland, so it was claimed that biodiversity is also good for the economy.

Quad bikes damage to Ben Wyvis

Land on Ben Wyvis has been damaged by the illegal use of quad bikes. Two people on trail bikes were witnessed on the summit area. Scottish National Heritage pointed out such actions are illegal and are in contravention of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Concern was expressed that the damage caused could take years to recover. Police Scotland confirmed that such actions are illegal and advised walkers to contact the Police if they are witness to such irresponsible and illegal behaviour.

Mountaineering Scotland expresses concerns about our open landscapes and upland moors

Mountaineering Scotland, in a joint letter with the Scottish Gamekeeper Association to Roseanne Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, proposed a process to develop a strategic vision and plan for Scotland’s uplands. The letter noted the Scottish Govt’s target of increasing forest cover 17% to 25% by 2050 and its pledge to plant 10,000 hectares per year until 2022. The letter expressed concern as to the impact this forestry expansion will have on the landscape of Scotland and “in particular the dramatic views and vistas which have come to signify to the outside world that which is unique about our country.” The letter suggests there is a need to address strategically the need for land to support forestry whilst at the same time protecting landscapes and ecosystems that are recognized internationally as valuable and rare.

Walkers and mountaineers asked to assist campaign against wildlife crime

Mountaineering Scotland has reported that walkers and climbers are being asked to report any dead birds of prey they may come across to Police Scotland. This comes as part of a campaign by the Partnership of Action against Wildlife Crime to counter raptor persecution. Police Scotland said "the more carcases we recover, the greater the understanding we have on the overall health of our wild raptors"

The following advice was issued:

NEMT New Bank Account

The final piece of the jigsaw in becoming a SCIO is now in place. NEMT has a new bank account and the old account will be closed by the time Mountain Views is published. NEMT members who pay their subscriptions by Standing Order are being asked to change these to the new account. The new account is still with the Royal Bank of Scotland but is at the Aberdeen Queen's Cross branch (83-15-31) account number 16302466

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