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Our month: Mountaineering Scotland in February

Tuesday 1st March 2022, 11:10am

On the 2nd of February the team gathered for the first time indoors since the start of the pandemic to discuss the new strategy which is currently out to consultation and to develop our operational planning priorities for this year. An important part of the day was also to reconnect face to face something which everyone really enjoyed after 2 years of Zoom and Teams and there were plenty of ideas shared and discussion about some of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Members are also invited to provide feedback on the new draft Mountaineering Scotland framework. Please download the draft strategy and take a few minutes to complete a short online survey by 5pm Friday 11 March. Take part in the survey here.

‘Dangerous’ climbing equipment

In response to an email from the Eagle ski club and consultation with the BMC and Mountaineering Ireland we have written a joint letter to Eurostar raising concerns about the classification of climbing equipment as “dangerous sporting equipment”, highlighting this as a potential disincentive to promoting the service as a more sustainable way to travel to Europe. We are currently waiting for a response to our letter

Snowsports and the economy

The Scottish Government has commissioned the consultancy Ekos to produce an economic, social and cultural impact assessment of the Scottish snowsport sector to inform the new snowsportscotland strategy. We met with the consultant and highlighted the relationship with snowsports around ski mountaineering, the growth in participation over recent years and the need for current ski centres to be supported in diversifying their offer in response to climate change.

ClimbScotland news

Going the Extra Mile

The ClimbScotland team have been recently reaching out to groups and organisation with the aim of getting young people signed up to Going the Extra Mile. Going the Extra Mile is a program of basic hill skills courses for people aged between 18 and 25 years of age who enjoy exploring the hills and mountains of Scotland, but may experience barriers to taking part in courses to learn the basic skills needed to help them gain confidence and stay safe when hiking.

Above Adventure

The team also attended the opening of the Above Adventure Bouldering Centre in Kilmarnock. Opening its doors to the public on 11th February, it’s a new state-of-the-art bouldering hall in Kilmarnock. The launch is the first chapter of an exciting story for Ayrshire in 2022, as the full Climbing Centre – the first of its kind in Ayrshire – is due to open in later in the year.  Read more here.

Coaching Academies

Regional Development Officer Robert Mackenzie reports: “The first of this year’s Scottish Youth Squad coaching academies was epic. Joined by the amazing Parkour coach Scott Houston we had a wild day of Dynamic Movement, Balance and Coordination. All techniques that are essential for our young athletes in our modern climbing world. We are so excited for the rest of our 2022 Academies, make sure you don’t miss your chance to join us.” You can find out more about the Coaching Academies here.


The first 3 rounds of the Scottish national Bouldering League have been a huge success. The next and final round will be held at Eden Rock on the 26th March. After missing out on last year’s fun, we want to say massive thank you our host venues, Hangon Climbing Centre, Three Wise Monkeys Climbing and The Climbing Academy Prop Store, for putting on some excellent competitions. Make sure you don’t miss our final round. SNBL info and results can be found here.


Conservation and Access

During February Mountaineering Scotland’s Access and Conservation Officer attended a meeting of the National Access Forum where aspects of responsible behaviour and access rights were discussed.  They included the cumulative impacts of camping with tents, and the difficulties in communicating the impacts of the same space being camped on over time. 

New forestry proposals were also discussed, with the Scottish Forestry rep acknowledging, in response to our question, that there are no guidelines in place for minimum distances between gates. 

And concerns were raised about recreational access and wildlife disturbance, with a group being proposed to look into this topic in detail, in which we will be participating.

Minimal impact advice updated

Our impacts on the environment as a result of recreational activities is something we take seriously.  This month we launched updated guidance on Minimal Impact advice, replacing the old booklet that we published some years ago.  You can refresh your memory on what matters on the webpage: https://www.mountaineering.scot/conservation/campaigns/minimal-impact

Newtyle Quarry, Birnam

Climbers will welcome the news that Newtyle Quarry, at Birnam, is winding down its aggregate production now that the new section of A9 upgrading is finished.  Landscaping works will be taking place and we are in conversation with the site contractor, local climbers and Perth and Kinross Council planners on how the climbing experience could be improved.  As it is still a working quarry at the moment, access rights do not apply there, so please be patient until the landscaping works are signed off.  We’ll let you know when.

Radio mast proposal withdrawn

Finally, a proposal for a radio mast right next to the Corbett summit of Carn an Fhreiceadain, up above Kingussie, has been withdrawn.  We objected to this proposal as there was no assessment of the visual impact of it on the Wild Land Area in which it would be sitting, nor was there any appraisal of alternative locations that would be of benefit to local rural cell coverage.