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Our month: Mountaineering Scotland in September

Wednesday 29th September 2021, 11:35am

This month our Mountain Safety Adviser Heather Morning was working with Steppers UK, Adidas and Tiso, guiding and advising for a film to encourage ethnic minorities to enjoy the outdoors. In perfect weather they toured the Northern Corries and the top of the Hellís Lum crags, with the two Ďnewbiesí at the heart of the film enjoying a camp in Coire Domhain and a swim in Coire an Lochain. Itís a hard job, but someone had to do it.

Heather and fellow Safety Adviser Ben Gibson have also been busy delivering courses, with good attendances for Summer MLT training, First Aid, and Navigation.

Key meetings

Behind the scenes, our CEO Stuart Younie has been working with the board on our new strategy and also on our investment application to sportscotland, which relates to or funding from 202-25. Stuart also attended the first face-to-face meeting of the CEO Sports Forum hosted by sportscotland at the national training centre in Inverclyde, to hear first-hand about the impact of the pandemic across the sports sector. He also attended the National Access Forum where representatives from Network Rail explained some of the rationale for closing the crossing at Dalwhinnie and responded to some robust challenges from the floor about their decision.

Other key meetings where we felt it was important the Mountaineering Scotland voice was heard were at two of the online workshops hosted by Nature Scot to discuss their new strategic themes, and the community meeting organised by the new owners of Allt-na-Reigh in Glen Coe to hear about their plans for the site.

Mountaineering Scotland has also started discussions with GB climbing and sportscotland on potential support for ski mountaineering given its inclusion in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan Cortina

Access issues

Besides the Dalwhinnie crossing there have been three other main recreational access issues investigated recently. Two of them involved car parking, which is not itself strictly an access matter, but can be a real impediment to reaching the places where access can be taken, especially when public transport to walking or climbing locations is almost non-existent. 

One was at Invervar in Glen Lyon with the estate requesting that walkers go elsewhere for two months while they allowed paying guests to shoot deer. The other parking issue was for climbers, at the road-end at Reiff, on the Coigach peninsula, where a local crofter dumped rusty agricultural machinery on the road verge to prevent parking. The local Council Access Officers have been alerted and the situations investigated.

Access to South Quarry at Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh has been restricted while recent rockfalls were investigated. Historic Environment Scotland have since erected security fencing to keep climbers out - a measure that we regard as not proportionate to the hazard of rockfall further along the cliffs. Enquires to HES have not eased access so far as it is regarded as a health and safety matter, and will remain in place until any remedial works are completed, which could be another year yet.  Mountaineering Scotland will be appealing this and also the need to obtain a permit to climb, which is anachronistic nearly 20 years after the Land Reform Act.


In conservation matters, we participated in a workgroup for Scotlandís Landscape Alliance, looking at what tackling climate change could mean for Scotlandís landscapes.

Climbing competitions

Indoors, the Youth Climbing Series got off to a good start at EICA Ratho, with further rounds to come in Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow.

Read more about the YCS.

Writing competition

And finally, September saw the launch of our 2021 Mountain Writing Competition, using a new online application portal following the record number of entries in 2020. Already entries have been coming in for both poetry and prose sections, and the deadline for entries will be November 5. Find out more about the Mountain Writing Competition and how to enter.