/ Access and 'long walk ins' in Scotland
anybody pick up on this ? According to the article, only 'very fit people ' can access crags like those on Beinn Dearg ( Emerald Gully ) near Ullapool.FFS.It`s only two hours under heavy snow for an unfit, lazy barsteward like me.
Thin end of the wedge as far as I`m concerned.
Indeed , especially as the Beinn Dearg path is already waymarked and a straightforward cycle.
I have the opposite opinion. Walking along some forest track is not part of the adventure, it's just a drag and takes time when you could be enjoying the scenery and climbing out in the open. Not everyone is young, fit and has the latest mountain bike. So let us enjoy it and a few walkers or climbers hardly damages the environment. No new tracks but lets make use of the existing ones.
I partially agree with you Andy, but it's not just walkers and climbers who would use the tracks for access - how would you keep the 'off-roaders' out once you'd removed the gates?
Recently I was asked at work if I knew of any off road tracks in the Cairngorms. The questioner did not want to cycle or walk, he wanted to hoon around in his new 4x4. I've no doubt that the person concerned would go out of his way to drive through puddles at speed so he could splash walkers or climbers with muddy water.
Amused me that the only one in favour so far is a guide. :P
You used to be allowed to drive up. It's only more recently that the gate has been locked. I've been up that road at least 10 times, and only once was I guiding. I was only thinking of us poor climbers walking up while the forestry workers drive past us. The Beinn Dearg suggestion is a combination lock system like Strathfarrar, not just opening up to the public.
I guess the comments should be directed to here?
> I have the opposite opinion. Walking along some forest track is not part of the adventure, it's just a drag and takes time when you could be enjoying the scenery and climbing out in the open. Not everyone is young, fit and has the latest mountain bike. So let us enjoy it and a few walkers or climbers hardly damages the environment.
I don't think that's true. The more accessible an area is the less wild it feels and the more problems such as erosion occur. Compare the Northern Corries to say the depths of Ben Alder Forest. There are plenty of accessible cliffs and mountain areas for those who want them. There is no need to make everywhere easily accesible.
I can see where you are coming from but disagree. I don't think many others who actually need to use these areas on a non-tourist basis would agree either.
Personally I'd like to see many more people able to gain access to the hills in Scotland but I don't think opening up forestr tracks to cars is the best way to do it.
Education and a change in emphasis away from viewing based activity such as football. An expansion of outward bound types of experiences for young people also.
Cool but I think your view of wild land is fairly specialist. Many people like driving up Glen Cannich and such places to see the views and feel the place. I don't think that should be taken away from them.
You could but I think you would loose that argument.
One will occasionally get out for a park kickabout, the other ticks off a few vs's when he can.
I think the reality is that climbing viewing is a tiny industry.
Anyway, back to thread. More mountain bike tracks please!
millions watch football, millions play it.
thousands climb, thousands watch it.
I'm not really sure how the hills could be made much more accessible , look at Arrochar, Schiehallion, Stac Pollaidh, Cairngorm, Glen Coe, Beinn Eighe, Ben Lomond, Glen Shee, Ben Lawers etc.
I dunno if bothies could function if roadside, heard of one near aviemore that appartently gets trashed every so often.
I agree but I don't think you should limit the access that currently exists. The history of much of the BMC and MCofS is one of fighting for, amnd winning access. Then denying that to people but putting a locked gate across the glen goes against that.
It also doesn't take account of the fact that many people enjoy the hills without walking on them.
I enjoyed Strathfarrar the last 4 times I went there, each one at a different time of day and by different means.
F. MCofS member.
You have completely misunderstood what I said. I said I didn't want to limit access which currently exists. I didn't say I wanted to encourage car use.
If you are against commercialism then you are against this site. Guides and instructors add to the economy.
> If you are against commercialism then you are against this site. Guides and instructors add to the economy.
Im not against guides per se but I am against commercial interests being above everyone elses.
Agreed but that is a hypothetical scenario as guides and instructors' interests or commercial ones are not above everything else.
While I am at it, lets encourage more hydro development instead of bloody wind farms! I tell you, wind farms are a money spinner, any young folk wondering what industry to go into, I would say avoid IT (which is dead and buried) and get into wind turbine installaton! Hydro can be done without ruining wilderness, the only one I have voted against was the one near baosbheinn as it was poorly thought out, much better places than that.
lets get independence and sell green electricity to the flat plains of albion
I have mixed feelings about this. I agree with Andy Nisbet that long forestry tracks are not really part of the adventure and can be a drag. I also speak as an older climber with knee joints which are past their sell by date who wants to get the most out of a mountain adventure without too much pain resulting from a monotonous walk in. Whilst still capable of long walks in most older people are slower which reduces the quality time on the hill.
On the other hand the very fact of a long walk in increases the sense of remoteness and decreases the numbers on the hill which is part of the appeal of it.
As you say it may be the thin end of the wedge, but at 39 you speak as a relatively young person still, although you admit to some creaking! Try and put yourself in the shoes of people 25 - 30 years older than you and imagine what it is like to see your choices shinking?
As with most things in life it's a matter of balance. Maybe the scheme should be tried on a trial basis for a couple of years? If the dreaded hordes over run the crags and the trail gets churned up by cars and motorbikes, then revert to the status quo, but at least give it a try?
Aye but I have yet to see any jakies up Glen Cannich. Agree with you, there are proposals for two pump-storage hydro schemes at Loch Ness by SSE. Only at proposal stage though.
When the big hydro scheme were developed upgrading the roads was major part of the works. As far as I know, the agreement re Strathfarrar was made on the understanding the then owners would not object to the hydro schemes.
I my mind radges and jakies are not the same. I see jakies as having less roaming capability and less destructive.
For your southern cousins trying to follow this thread, please explain jackies and radges! Cheers :-)
But then looking at the other side of the coin, I enjoyed a cracking few days in Ben Alder region, saw very few because it's so innaccessible and a allowing car access up the loch would undoutably threaten that solitude.
Tough one, pro's and con's and I could probably change my mind each time I think about it.
Could you imagine the size the small car park at the foot of the north face (Ben Nevis) would need to be if we could all drive straight up there!
As nice as it sounds is it really a good idea?
OK cheers Erik.
I wonder how this would all impact on safety and numbers of accidents in these areas? Obviously accidents would go up proportionately as usage of the areas in question increased.
However, areas that previously would have required a general level of fitness and self reliance to access could potentially become traps for the unprepared. Just look at Crib Goch, surely a correlation between the number of accidents and the closeness of the car park at Pen-Y-Pass?
I think it's rather forcing the issue to let everyone drive up, more in favour of Donalds approach of education and encouragement.
Andy Nisbet: Is the carpark further up the path from the Ben Nevis north face car park for instructors and such like? Perhaps provision could be made for this sort of arrangement in other areas, ie if you want to use the track, you apply for a key thereby keeping folk who are just there to 'off road' etc off of the hill?
At one time you could drive a car to Loch Pattack - risky business as the estate ponies were inclined to chew your bumpers.
The anti-guides part of this thread is a red herring. The motivation for guides is the same as for individuals, just whether the day will be improved. And I can see that easier access allows more folk to visit and spoils it for those who want to be alone. I guided someone once on Beinn Dearg in 1995, and most guides will visit similarly rarely. In fact the person who raised the Beinn Dearg issue with the MC of S lives on the estate and has his own key. So the issue is purely to let more folk enjoy the advantage he has.
The issue for keen winter climbers is slightly different. The longer the walk-in, the more tired you'll be and the less chance of doing another route the next day. Whereas the person who wants to go to a remote place will maybe stay there several days and the long walk-in matters less.
The Ben Nevis car park is for anyone who pays £200 a year (or a season?). Not sure if the amount is correct, because only someone who goes up the Ben often will pay. That is, local instuctors/guides and bigger organisations. And yes, I dislike that system as much as some here do for Beinn Dearg. If it was (say) £5 a day (£10 a car), then I would use it. But so would many, so the parking space is too small. I think a payment system is a possibility for Galloway but not Beinn Dearg.
I wonder if there's anybody old enough to remember what the walk to the Northern Corries was like before the ski road was built. The nearest I've got to this experience were the occasions when the road was blocked by snow - I once walked from Loch Morlich to Coire nan Lochan, did a route and walked back. It was an 18 hour day - but I was young then!!
Fair enough, that does sound pretty prohibitive.
"If it was (say) £5 a day (£10 a car), then I would use it. But so would many, so the parking space is too small."
Fairly indicative of attitudes to traffic as a whole really, we all gotta use it, but none of us like it en masse!
It's only the Forestry Commision who would consider it at present, because they have a remit for public activities. Having said that, the estate allows you to drive up their road from Oykell Bridge towards Seana Bhraigh
It was even worse in the bad old days when the pubs closed at 10 and you knew you hadn't a hope of making it back in time!
At that, you could even afford a few backhanders for the naysayers!
Well put and it always makes me laugh to hear climbers droning on about destruction of the mountain with ski tows. You don't hear a single one though advocating the removal of Coire Cas carpark which is the biggest "scar" on CairnGorm. I wonder why that is ;-)
> Well put and it always makes me laugh to hear climbers droning on about destruction of the mountain with ski tows. You don't hear a single one though advocating the removal of Coire Cas carpark which is the biggest "scar" on CairnGorm. I wonder why that is ;-)
Would anyone bother climbing there much if you had to walk from Loch Morlich? I wouldn't object to the car-park going but am happy to use it while it is there.
No and I don't want the car park to go but the point I am making is that words to the effect of the destruction caused by skiing are irrelevant if those speaking those words are keen to retain the biggest scar of all, the carpark. Hypocritical.
Yes, a bit. But it is reasonable to use existing infrastructure while not wanting any more.
In fact I would go as far to say the existance of the Coire Cas car park has benefitted generations of hill goers, massively boosted the economy and meant that many hundreds of thousands of people have been able to become climbers and hill walkers.
I don't want another one but I am glad it's there.
Mmm, it's a tough one. I can see both sides of the argument (yours and Andy N's) and while I wouldn't want to see it happen on all forest tracks across the Highlands, I think there is scope for roads like Beinn Dearg to be given a try.
Evidence against - the amount of crap along the Loch Arkaig road at every available camping spot really despoils the feel of the glen. In contrast, Glen Strathfarrer, with managed access, is pretty much pristine and all the more beautiful for it. The people who walk and cycle in to camp aren't the type to leave rubbish behind and the drivers obey the rules and come in and out in a day. Same goes for those staying at Strawberry Cottage in Glen Affric - one or two cars don't spoil the splendour of the glen (especially as there are always a few FC and estate vehicles around anyway). But I would guarantee that if the forest road was opened to the public, the place would be trashed. So some places do need managing and protecting.
Evidence for - like Andy said, it takes out the drag and boring bit of the day, lengthens time for climbing and will keep you fresher for more days on the hill. That might sound selfish but who hasn't wished they could park at the top Ben Nevis car park if they could. Me for one! Any cars parked up there would be screened by the trees so little or no landscape impact. I've always wanted to climb Emerald and Penguin Gullies too so if there's any chance of making a long trip from the South Lakes a bit easier then bring it on. Lock the gate with a combination lock and get people to contact the MCofS for it - then review after winter.
For other routes, improve for mountain bikes - wider and shallower drainage ditchs and easier gradients if possible.
Which development is that? I'd never heard of one in there. An Garbh Choire I mean.
> Having said that, the estate allows you to drive up their road from Oykell Bridge towards Seana Bhraigh
It's surprisingly generous of them. Last time I was up there a gamekeeper swung by in a landrover and asked us if we were poachers, he said they'd had some bother the previous weekend.
Quite unsettling when I thought about it later. He probably had a shooter on his lap in the cab and I wouldn't be surprised if his backup had their sights trained on us.
Make your opinion known where it counts;
We are talking about two different Coires but I think the info you have there is wrong. That track, as far as I know, was built by the estate for stalking and shooting puposes.
History of skiing developments that didn't go ahead here: http://www.highland-instinct.co.uk/skiresorts/history/index.php
Not certain about the ski part but there is something about it here (search for "ski" in the pages. Apparently from the 1960s
Got you, I was thinking of that under a different name. Check out Highland Instinct for more info on that and pictures.
> While I am at it, lets encourage more hydro development instead of bloody wind farms! I tell you, wind farms are a money spinner, any young folk wondering what industry to go into, I would say avoid IT (which is dead and buried) and get into wind turbine installaton! Hydro can be done without ruining wilderness, the only one I have voted against was the one near baosbheinn as it was poorly thought out, much better places than that.
> lets get independence and sell green electricity to the flat plains of albion
> rant over
how about the kilometres long new, really obvious and ugly 2.5m wide tracks going into the wild areas - dont they count as having an impact irrespective of if they go to a windfarm or hydro - been anywhere near Glen Doe hydro scheme lately, jees!
If I would ever plead, I would plead for this.
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