Monday 31st December 2018, 9:50am
As ever, it’s been a busy year here at Mountaineering Scotland HQ. From running courses and giving talks to negotiating with landowners and government agencies, running indoor climbing competitions to reacting to inappropriate development proposals in our wild places. We’ve seen some staff move on to other things and new staff arrive to make their mark, new directors join the board and, encouragingly, seen our membership continue to grow.
So as we approach the end of the year, it’s time to take a look back at some of the stories that made the year, with a (not quite) random selection from the news pages on our website.
Way back in January came news from the Knoydart Foundation Ranger Service that thefootbridge over the River Carnach was closed. It has since been removed pending construction and installation of a new and bigger bridge, but this will not now happen until 2019. In June we announced we would make a £5000 donation towardsthe replacement bridge.
Following a fire in Glenmore Lodge, we warned in February that extra care should be taken when leaving rechargeable batteries on charge. In this case a headtorch batteryexploded and the resulting fire caused damage to a bedroom in the Lodge. Thankfully no-one was hurt, but a timely reminder not to leave these batteries charging unattended - especially the cheaper ones!
In February Heather Morning warned of a potentially dangerous new trend in outdoor clothing andequipment – the inclusion of magnetic closure tabs on pockets, gloves and front fastenings. These magnets had already caused one mountain rescue call-out by causing a serious deflection in compass readings.
So watch out what you’re wearing when you're taking that bearing!
In March the Mend Our Mountains million pound appeal was launched. Through the year walkers and climbers would contribute to a nationwide scheme to raise funds for path repair and restoration, including two major Scottish projects.
In April we said hello to new CEO Stuart Younie, who took over from David Gibson on his retiral.
May saw us publishing new website pages with lots of advice on how to take – andlook after – your dog on the hills. Essential reading for dog owners thinking about taking their pet out on the hills with them.
In June we were delighted to announce that our partnership project with St JohnScotland, for a Mountain Safety Instructor to work with university walking andclimbing clubs through autumn and winter sessions, will continue for anothertwo years.
Great times at Glenmore Lodge in November when we staged the SMART Student Weekend, with an intense two days of training in mountain safety and skills – and fun!
In November a landslide near Loch Quoich blocked the road to Kinloch Hourn, severing electricity supplies to a large part of Skye. The wires were soon fixed, but the road looks like remaining blocked into 2019.
Okay, AGMs by their very nature happen every year, but we particularly enjoyed this year’s AGM and Members’ Meeting up at Glenmore Lodge in November – and from the feeback, so did the record number of members who attended!
In December we teamed up with Scottish Mountain Rescue, Glenmore Lodge, the sportscotland Avalanche Informatiuon Service and others to present a week-long winter mountain safety campaign, starting with the SMR annual conference and this piece about the importance of pre-planning for winter.
There was upset and concern when CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, the company running CairnGorm Mountain Ski Resort, went into administration. HIE took over operations and, on being asked by Mountaineering Scotland was at least able to give assurances that the ski road will be kept open and that previouslyannounced mandatory car parking charges in Coire Cas will not be applied.