Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Philip Lawson and George Menzies – two ScotWays stalwarts retire

on .

Our AGM in November saw the retirement of two ScotWays stalwarts, Honorary Vice-President Philip Lawson and Chairman George Menzies.  Over the years ScotWays has benefited from the long and dedicated service of many staff and Directors, but these two have an exceptional record of over half-a-century as Directors between them.

Philip was been a Director of ScotWays since 1981 – yes, that’s 35 years – and Hon. Vice-President since 2010.  His role on the Board was always that of a quiet voice of astute judgement, informed by exceptionally wide field knowledge of Scotland.  He’s one of those hugely committed activists in the Scottish countryside movement who over decades filled multiple roles in varied organisations – we would mention only Donald Moir, Willie Ferris and Donald Bennet among those associated with ScotWays.  Philip was Chairman of the Scottish Youth Hostels Association for over 20 years, earning a hugely deserved MBE along the way, and also served as Treasurer of the Gatliff Trust that runs simple hostels in the Hebrides.  We should also record that over the years Philip saved ScotWays a substantial amount of money in room fees, by quietly arranging for us to have access to meeting rooms in successive Edinburgh Youth Hostels.  We wish him a very well-deserved and peaceful retirement from ScotWays.

Compared to Philip, George is a mere fly-by-night, having become a Director of the Society in 2001 but rising rapidly through the ranks, as his expertise and commitment deserved, to become Vice-Chair in 2002 and Chairman in 2004.  We have benefited hugely from his legal expertise and his genial but always judicious Chairing of Board meetings and AGMs – even though he sometimes couldn’t entirely conceal the fact that his emotions were tied up with events at Murrayfield when body and mind were engaged in the Dewar’s Centre in Perth.  George’s exceptional grasp of the law of access, particularly expressed in his role as our representative to the National Access Forum, and the astute legal judgements he brought to thorny issues like Network Rail’s mass closure of access over level crossings, have earned much respect for him and by association for ScotWays.  We are grateful that George has consented to accept the role of Honorary Adviser, so that we can continue to tap into his specialist knowledge and incisive legal insights, which have been of so much value to the Society. 

We extend our warmest thanks and best wishes to both.

Cairnbank Road, Penicuik - Further Update

on .

ScotWays understands that Midlothian Council has served a Section 14 Notice (served on 21st January) on the landowners asking them to remove the inappropriate signage and the barricade.

This action is being taken under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. It gives the landowner 3 weeks in which to lodge an appeal against the Notice. If they do not appeal, then they have a further 3 weeks in which to remove the notices and the barricade.

If they do not do so, the Council has the power to remove the notices and the barricade, the expense of which would fall on the landowners.


Cairnbank Road, Penicuik - further update

on .

There has been further delay to re-opening this well liked route into Penicuik Estate.

Midlothian Council has been persuaded that an Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) should be completed prior to a Section 14 notice being issued under the Land Reform Act. The report of the EqIA will be discussed by the Corporate Management Team at its next meeting on January 18th 2017. If the report is accepted, then a Section 14 notice should be issued shortly thereafter.

ScotWays appreciates the difficulties which the Council has faced this year over this matter, and hope that the access issue will be resolved shortly.

Christmas and New Year at ScotWays

on .

The ScotWays office will close on Tuesday 20th December 2016, and re-open on Wednesday 4th January 2017.

General rights of way and access enquiries: We are working hard to answer as many enquiries as possible before Christmas, but unfortunately as we are very busy at present some of you may have to wait until the New Year to receive a response.

ScotWays webshop: Once the office is closed, we will not be processing any more orders until we re-open in the New Year. The good news is that there'll probably then be a sale offer on our remaining Christmas cards!

Rights of way searches for solicitors, land managers and developers: We aim to respond to all formal search requests within 5 working days of receiving them in our office, unless another deadline has been agreed. As our office will be closed for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, search requests received after 13th December may not be completed until after we re-open in the New Year. If your search request is urgent, please contact us before we close for the holidays to discuss when we will be able to complete it. 

Office volunteers: The office will be closed for two weeks over Christmas and the New Year, so please take a well earned break! Very many thanks for all your hard work, we look forward to seeing you in 2017. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at ScotWays!

Old Tracks In The Lammermuirs

on .

Lothian Broadband is hosting a series of talks at Humbie Hub, Humbie, East Lothian. On Sunday 4th December, the subject is Old Tracks In The Lammermuirs. The talk is being given by Eleisha Fahy as a volunteer on behalf of the Heritage Paths project - this is only the second time she's done a talk, so please come along and give her your support! Our new Lammermuirs map will also be available on the day and afterwards.

Eleisha writes "An extensive network of routes is marked on old maps of the Lammermuirs. The most famous of these is the Herring Road, via which fishwives brought herring from Dunbar to market in Lauder in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This route and others across the hills can still be found today and they are a tangible trace of the lives of those that travelled the routes in times gone by. In recognition of the cultural and recreational value of these old routes, ScotWays has produced a new map to promote public access to this area considered remote by many. This talk will share some of the stories of the Lammermuirs - we hope that you will see these hills in a new light and have your appetite whetted to explore them further".