Brian Linington, right, and Chris Townsend. Photo: Mike Dales

Brian Linington, right, and Chris Townsend. Photo: Mike Dales

The new president of Scotland’s representative mountaineering body said he shares his predecessor’s fears for the country’s upland landscape in the face of increased development.

Brian Linington, who was elected head of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland on Saturday, also said he wants to continue the drive to minimise mountaineering incidents by providing advice and improving the skills of hillgoers.

Mr Linington, of Plockton, in Wester Ross, succeeds writer and journalist Chris Townsend in the post.

He has served on the council’s board since 2008 and is an active mountaineer.

He said: “A key challenge for me and for the MCofS – and for the many that simply enjoy the landscape of Scotland for its recreational value, or who gain a sense of well-being from the mountains – is the enormous threat to the mountain landscape from developers.

“I will be leading a review into our conservation policies to ensure we articulate our concerns and maximise our impact with the limited resources available.”

The wild lands of Scotland face increasing pressure from companies wanting to site windfarms on remote hills. The MCofS has also been instrumental in pressing the Scottish Government to change the law to control the building of hilltracks which, it says, scar many mountainsides.

Outgoing president Mr Townsend said: “Campaigning against these [wind turbines and associated roads] and other threats to the mountains is essential work and will continue but, given our overall lack of success, we do need to think of new methods and come up with new ideas to combat the despoliation.”

Mr Linington pledged to improve communication with MCofS members and continue the council’s work in helping outdoor enthusiasts help themselves on the hills. “Mountaineering covers a range of activities from indoor climbing and hillwalking, to outdoor climbing and expeditions in remote places,” he said. “My aims for the period of my presidency include improved engagement with our members as we strive to better represent and support their interests.

“I also want to see the MCofS continue to provide the best possible advice and information concerning safety and skills, with the aims of improving self-reliance and minimising mountaineering incidents.

“Since being elected to the board in 2008, I feel that I have been fortunate to work with colleagues, other volunteers and staff, and be part of a team who have worked hard to turn the MCofS into the best organisation possible.

“In saying that, there is still much to be done so that we can continue to work for our members cost effectively, and in an open and democratic way.”

Mr Linington was elected at the council’s annual gathering in Dunblane, Stirlingshire.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Scots mountaineers plead for rethink over Ramblers’ closure
  2. MacLeod masterclass lined up for Scots mountain meet
  3. Mountain body upbeat on safety as incidents drop to 30-year low