Mountaineering Scotland members are interested in the Scottish uplands for a number of reasons – for recreation, for sport, or for the appreciation of the hill country that is travelled through, whether as a purpose in itself, or as something that enhances the enjoyment of the activity.
This is a core aim of the organisation, as stated in our Articles of Association: to safeguard and conserve the environment of cliffs, crags, mountains and hills of all descriptions in Scotland that are or may be of interest for Mountaineering.
So what is this environment we wish to look after? It seems large and diverse when travelling through it but there are common elements throughout. The upland environment is a dynamic interplay of three aspects:
Land – this is the platform that supports the system, geology and topography and soils.
Water – the dynamic conduit, from rainfall through rushing spate rivers to meanders and still pools, that shapes the land over time, and supports life.
Wildlife – the life that clothes the landscape, that interacts, and is the key to ecological processes that sustain life in the hills, and beyond.
All of this plays out in a global context of a climatic regime of seasonal temperatures and air masses moving and shaping the above, often unseen and unremarked. We are a part of this and our activities shape it, to greater or lesser degrees.
Our Conservation Strategy is part of our overarching vision encapsulated in the document Respecting Scotland's Mountains, and looks at naturally driven processes as well as human activities, driven by policy and economics, and how they interact with mountaineering practice and enjoyment. Some effects may be fairly obvious in the landscape, like hilltracks, some less so, such as annual declines in numbers and spread of upland invertebrates, which are an essential part of mountain ecology.
The strategy looks at issues and offers proposals and actions that protect and improve the natural environment, for the benefit of the land itself and the people who enjoy its qualities.
Some actions lie at Government policy level, some with land managers, and there are some that everyone can do. The simple message is that we should support a trend for richer and more resilient landscapes in the uplands for the long term environmental, economic and human health of Scotland.
We invite you to read it, think about the issues and join us in taking action. We are all involved whether we realise it or not.
Since our foundation as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland over 40 years ago, Mountaineering Scotland has been representing the views and needs of hill walkers, mountaineers, climbers and snowsports tourers. We work closely with our members, the media, partner organisations, the government and landowners to make a real difference on the matters that affect us all.
By becoming a member of Mountaineering Scotland, you are supporting this work and adding your voice to that of 14,000 other members by getting involved in our campaigns to protect access rights and encourage sustainable mountain environments.