The Mountaineering Council of Scotland works with Ramblers Scotland to safeguard hillwalkers rights north of the border

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland works with Ramblers Scotland to safeguard hillwalkers rights north of the border

Scotland’s mountaineering body has called on the Ramblers to rethink the decision to close their Scottish office.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said the move to make staff redundant would be a major setback to its efforts with the Ramblers in safeguarding access and promoting conservation work. It accused its London board of being out of touch with issues north of the border.

Although the Ramblers yesterday said they were still consulting with staff over cuts, both their Wales and Scotland offices are due to be axed, according to insiders. If the proposals are carried out, both nations will be left with only two staff members each.

Ramblers Scotland president, former MSP Dennis Canavan, has called the plans ‘very hasty and ill-informed’

The MCofS president Chris Townsend said: “Ramblers Scotland is a major force in access and conservation work north of the border. This move will have serious consequences in Scotland and suggests that the Ramblers’ board in London has little knowledge or understanding of the role Ramblers Scotland plays.

MCofS president Chris Townsend

MCofS president Chris Townsend

“I’ve worked with Ramblers Scotland staff and know just how good and committed they are. Losing them will be a big blow to all outdoors people in Scotland.”

The council’s chief officer David Gibson said: “Our staff and volunteers work with colleagues at Ramblers Scotland on a range of projects related to access and conservation issues, and encouraging people to enjoy activities in the outdoors.

“The loss of Ramblers Scotland staff, with their range of skills and experience, is potentially a serious set-back.

“We want to give our friends at Ramblers Scotland our full support at this difficult time, and urge our members and anyone else who enjoys Scotland’s outdoors to lobby Ramblers in London to reverse this decision, and to provide whatever support they can afford to Ramblers Scotland.”

The MCofS represents mountaineers, climbing and hill walking enthusiasts in Scotland. It has among its membership 130 mountaineering, climbing and hillwalking clubs and also looks after the interests of the estimated 400,000 people who use Scotland’s mountains for recreation each month.

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