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Election of a Director of Access & Landscape

There is one vacancy for a Board Director with responsibility for Access and Conservation, who will also contribute to the governance of the Board. A number of very high calibre candidates applied for the post.

All of the applicants have been interviewed by a subgroup of the Board (four directors) to recommend which candidate the Board should endorse. The remit for the group in reaching a decision was to consider both the skills required to support our work on Access and Conservation, as well as the wider responsibility of supporting the practice of good governance at the Board. This was extremely challenging given the diverse set of skills and experience presented by the interested applicants. 

The final stage of the process, as defined in the Articles of Association, is a vote by the membership on those eligible candidates putting themselves forward for election to the post. The two candidates are Ron Neville (nominated by the Board) and David Gibson (nominated by Alex Winter on behalf The Grampian Club).

Individual member voting forms and supporting statements from the two candidates now proceeding to election can be read below. These will be complemented by a short verbal statement from each candidate at the AGM.

Please note that members of affiliated clubs vote via single block vote for each club and do not have an individual vote. (See notes for voting).

I hope that we will see you at the AGM, but if you can’t attend please take the time to engage in the electoral process and help shape the future of the organisation.

Mike Watson                                                                                                                                    

President, Mountaineering Scotland

October 2018

The candidates

Ron Neville

Dear member

Please can you support the Mountaineering Scotland Board safeguard access to, and conservation of, Scotland’s Mountains and wild areas? Following an open recruitment and interview process, your Board wish to appoint me to take the Access and Conservation agenda forwards by bringing in new expertise and enthusiasm. My skill set of working through complex legal briefs (medico-legal expert), ability to present evidence in court (fatal accident inquiries), contribute to scientific debate (research unit director), work across agencies (charity director, board experience from small business to multi-nationals), fundraising experience (government, charity, industry), influence government policy (smoke free legislation), and working with people from all backgrounds and abilities (GP), will be an asset to this key area for Mountaineering Scotland.

As a Grampian Club member, I have spent/misspent a lifetime walking, climbing, skiing and cycling in the ‘best wee mountains in the world’. If you have shared time in the hills with me you will know my passion for our scenery, culture, folklore, wildlife, and people. I’ll combine this with hard headed skills (legal process, political, business) to work with you, our Board, and our talented staff (past present and future) to promote access as enshrined in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2005, and influence conservation including input to the Planning (Scotland) Bill currently before Holyrood.   

Please support your Board’s choice to bring fresh expertise and enthusiasm to keep our mountain access open and our wild areas conserved for you and future generations.  


Ron Neville

Ron Neville is nominated by the Board of Mountaineering Scotland

David Gibson

Scotland’s Mountains have changed and enhanced my life in many ways, including a new career and 12 years as Mountaineering Scotland’s CEO, which Mike Watson described as “extraordinarily successful” in the recent Annual Review.

In that role I worked on behalf of members to uphold access rights, often in partnership with recreation groups, and with eNGOs on planning and conservation matters. I lobbied government ministers and planning authorities, and was lead spokesperson with the media, land managers and at the National Access Forum.

I want to see Mountaineering Scotland work collaboratively to halt the degradation of our mountain environment by campaigning for policy change which brings their restoration and regeneration. Key concerns include the poor management practices of some sporting estates and of driven grouse moors, a need for better protection for the landscape and meaningful planning controls for hill tracks, an expansion of native woodland regeneration, and ensuring mountaineer’s views are heard as the forestry estate develops to meet ambitious government targets.

I will support staff and contribute to effective governance, to which I bring thirty years board experience in private and third sectors, including three directorships, one of which is currently with the John Muir Trust.

Thank you for reading this statement. If elected as Director for Access and Conservation I will be a strong advocate for your access rights and conservation priorities. I owe the mountains a great deal, and you have my assurance, whether a club or individual member, that your vote for me will not be wasted.

David Gibson


David Gibson is nominated by Alex Winter on behalf of the Grampian Club

Please note that members of affiliated clubs vote via single block vote for each club and do not have an individual vote (see notes for voting).