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Our month: Mountaineering Scotland in September 2022

Friday 7th October 2022, 10:51am

Managing change has been a continuous theme for our CEO over this year and September was a significant month as we welcomed Karen McVeigh, who started on the 5th of September in the role of Membership and Events Officer, and said a fond farewell to Jane Anderson who retired on the 26th after 16 years with the MCofS and Mountaineering Scotland. Karen will be the main point of contact for clubs and member enquiries and we are delighted she has joined the team. This month we also held interviews for the new Talent and Pathways post, which will sit within the ClimbScotland team with a lead role to put in place new systems to support the development of our young athletes in Scotland as part of the pathway to the GB team. There are also changes ahead on the Board as notes of interest came in for the Director of Access and Environment role, as Ron Neville is due to step down at the AGM

Stuart also attended a VIP reception at the IFSC World Cup finals along with our President and Director for ClimbScotland where we were able to showcase competition climbing with senior representatives from sportscotland. We were particularly pleased that six athletes competing for the GB Team were from Scotland. Another key meeting was with the Scottish Climbing Wall network on Monday the 12th of September where Stuart presented the new strategic plan and emphasised the important role that climbing walls have in supporting the development of the sport and encouraging the next generation of children and young people to take part. 

Photo shows Karen McVeigh

Rich Bentley of Mountain Motion delivered the first weekend instalment of the Mountain Leader Training for 12 Mountaineering Scotland members.  Working alongside was Ben Gibson from the Mountain Safety Team. This course aims to provide skills and knowledge in mountain leadership for people who wish to work with a wide range of groups from clubs, schools, scouts and more.

The last Summer Mountain Skills course took place in the Angus Glens, which is based at the Braedownie Mountain Hut in Glen Clova. Ben from the Mountain Safety Team along with freelance Amy Buttress had a great weekend with 12 Mountaineering Scotland members out on the hills. This course is aimed at those who want to take their navigation skills and mountain knowledge to the next level and helps to develop these skills in more mountainous terrain. It also looks at decision making and navigation in more technical, challenging environments.

Winter Skills courses opened for booking this month.

Deer fences provoked some activity this month, with existing fences at Glen Lochay giving difficulties for getting to and from Creag Mhor and Sron nan Eun, and a new fence above Glen Orchy causing problems with no crossing place visible. Forestry and Land Scotland manage the land at Glen Orchy and a conversation with their local Visitor Services Manager resolved the matter of access to Beinn Donachain, with the construction of a stile and adjacent animal flap being agreed. A stile was thought appropriate here as there is no defined track leading across the moor, and a gate is installed in the fence about a kilometre to the north, but is out of sight. FLS will add where the crossing points are to the map at the Eas Urchaidh car park, so walkers can choose which they prefer to use.

Some inappropriately worded signs were brought to our attention, at Forrest Estate near the Galloway Forest Park.  The matter was raised with the Dumfries & Galloway Access Officer who will discuss wording with the estate manager.

A new 400Kv overhead powerline proposal from Beauly to Peterhead landed in the inbox.  The potential area of search for the route stretched from the coast to the Cairngorm National Park boundary. Fortunately one of the constraints identified in the Environmental Assessment Report was land over 450m, so the two Corbetts at Moy, and Ben Rinnes , above Dufftown, have been spared from the impact of constructing a new powerline.

A telecoms mast on the Pitmain Estate, at Kingussie, prompted an objection as its proposed location was adjacent to the summit of the Corbett, Carn an Fhreiceadain, and within a Wild Land Area. This was a resubmission of a proposal which was withdrawn in October last year. It has resurfaced with again an astonishing lack of assessment of visual impact on the views from the summit of the Corbett, or how it would impact on the wild qualities of the area. The Cairngorm National Park Authority has also raised concerns about it.

IFSC Climbing World Cup – The ClimbScotland Team was in attendance and supporting the 2022 Climbing World Cup, Edinburgh, on the 9th to 11th September at EICA. Check out ClimbScotland social media to recap on the action. Photos from the event are available through the ClimbScotland Flickr page. Results are available on the IFSC site.


Scottish Climbing Wall Network Gathering – Climbing wall owners and managers gathered at Perth College Climbing Centre on the 12th  of September, which provided us with the opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced by the sector during lockdown and the work done to get walls opened again safely. Stuart Younie provided an update on Mountaineering Scotland’s new strategy, and we hosted break out discussions with those in attendance covering subjects such as safeguarding in indoor climbing, workforce development (coaches and setters) and insight into our new facilities strategy.


ABC Conference - Jamie Smith attended the Association of British Climbing Walls annual conference on 15-16 September at the Magna Science Centre in Sheffield. The theme for this year was professionalism, with an emphasis on sustainability. The exhibitor hall was full of over 60 exhibitors showcasing hundreds of brands from a variety of sectors within the climbing industry, including everything from new holds to climbing shoes, POS systems and insurance. AMI and MTA members were able to claim CPD points through the range of speakers and workshops. These covered topics from staff retention to coaching, marketing and branding.


Youth Climbing Series is under way – Round 1 of the ClimbScotland Youth Climbing Series took place at Transition Extreme in Aberdeen with 66 competitors from across Scotland taking part. Find out more about the Youth Climbing Series here.  


Recruitment of the ClimbScotland Talent and Pathways Officer – Interviews were held to recruit a Talent and Pathway Officer. We have successfully recruited someone for this new role who will be joining the team later next month. The Development Officer (Talent and Pathways) post is wholly supported by sportscotland investment, with the specific aims of supporting the development of our performance pathway coordinating the delivery of our competitions and establishing a virtual performance hub in Scotland linked to GB Climbing.