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Our month: Mountaineering Scotland in April 2023

Friday 28th April 2023, 1:53pm

This is a combined CEO and Access and Conservation update this month as Davie Black is recovering from an operation but will be back to work in early May, but our CEO, Stuart Younie and Davie have been working on a number of issues this month and starting with some progress on the winter vehicle access to Glen Strathfarrar. Davie, Stuart and our President Brian Shackleton travelled up to meet with the Braulen estate staff for the first face to face meeting since the pandemic and it was a positive and constructive discussion about how we can manage the reinstatement of  vehicle access but ensure we minimise any potential disruption to the estate operations. We have provided a summary of the meeting and some suggested next steps which we very much hope we will lead to an updated access agreement for next winter.

Stuart also attended a roundtable discussion regarding the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) which was hosted by Edward Mountain MSP who has been calling for a review of the code. It was clear that many of the organisations represented were not in favour of a full review which would be time consuming and costly but there was acknowledgement that some areas of the code could be updated and there was a need for better communication and public information to promote the responsibilities set out in the code. There was also consensus about the need to invest in the access infrastructure and to continue to provide rangers on the ground to help manage visitors.

Stuart has also been working closely with the team on our new path campaign It's Up to Us' which is going to be a flagship project linked to our access and conservation work, along with a review and updated of our policy statement 'Respecting Scotland Mountains' which we plan to publish later this year.

This month there have also been some important meetings with our colleagues in the BMC the first of which was to develop a major events strategy which is being supported by UK Sport. Stuart has also been supporting an internal review of the governance arrangements for competition climbing which has been commissioned by the board of the BMC. 

On day to day matters, over the last few weeks Stuart has also been leading the recruitment process to find a new Office Administrator to take over from Denise Logan who, after 16 years with Mountaineering Scotland, is looking to enjoy her well earned retirement.

The Mountain Safety Team have been busy delivering courses in April, including first of the new Navigation Courses which took place Arrochar, led by Senior Mountain Safety Advisor, Ross Cadie, and Mountain Safety Advisor, Kirsty Pallas, followed by courses in the Moffat Hills at the end of the month with Mountain Safety Advisor Ben Gibson. Both Ben and Ross also attended a meeting with members of the MetOffice team to discuss potential collaborations on weather videos…watch this space! 

Later in the month, Kirsty and Ross met up in Glencoe for a winter review and a discussion surrounding the new for 2023 Understanding Steeper Ground courses. Kirsty has also been working dates for delivering courses with the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club and Sole Sisters, as well as meeting with Emily from Mhor Outdoors to discuss an upcoming collaborative project. 

It’s been a packed month for the ClimbScotland team, and this year’s RealRock sessions are now well underway. Robert and Calum from the ClimbScotland Team were most recently at Cummingston in Moray delivering Trad Taster session to some psyched young climbers. But don’t worry, there are plenty more opportunities for young climbers to get on too RealRock! You can find out more here: www.climbscotland.net/move-on-up/coaching/realrock-outdoor-climbing

The final of the Scottish National Bouldering League also took place at Eden Rock in Edinburgh on the 15th of April. Well done to everyone who took part!

Finally, the ScotRock Podcast turned three this month! With 35 episodes full of climbing stories and mountain tales from Scottish underdogs and local heroes, and almost 15,000k downloads, it’s been an incredible success so far!  Look out for the next episode coming soon, featuring Young Climber of the Year, Jamie Lowther.