The days are stretching out now and starting to get a bit warmer. Just looking out of the MCofS office window the tree in the yard has burst into leaf this week, so after the amazing winter we've just come through my thoughts are turning to summer trips and I guess you're doing the same.
We went over to Aberfoyle last Saturday with road bikes and cycled a 41 mile route that took us round Loch Katrine and down to Loch Lomond, before heading back to our starting point. A superb route with great views of the mountains in Scotland's first national park. The main reason for planning the route was to see Loch Katrine from the quiet road on its north side.
I've got to know Loch Katrine quite well over the past three years as I've now been on there twice in my sea kayak. Prior to 2007, however, I had never paddled on Loch Katrine. Why's that? Well, access to Loch Katrine was previously denied due to a longstanding byelaw, but thanks to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act that byelaw has now been repealed. For those that have never been there to walk, cycle or paddle it really is a beautiful loch and well worth a visit. From a paddlers perspective the views of the surrounding mountains from out on the water are spectacular and it really is worth picking a good clear day to go there.
There are two parts of that story that would have been very different just ten years ago. As we entered the new Millennium there were no statutory access rights in Scotland and no National Parks. Now, we have the Land Reform Act enshrining our access rights in law and two National Parks, the first one of course being Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. The MCofS worked with a wide range of partners, and engaged with the Scottish Parliament to secure these two significant improvements to the way we take access and look after our most scenic mountain areas.
The MCofS represents the interests of mountaineers and actively works with other bodies to improve the enjoyment of our activities and safeguard the places we visit to practice those activities. By doing that the MCofS helped make some very big changes over the last decade.
With the support of our members, we can do further great work over the next ten years. Whether it is in Access and Conservation, Safety and Training, or Sports Development the MCofS is working tirelessly to ensure the results of our work provide great benefits for you. We are also coming up with new ways to help our members save money with new participants joining our Members' Discount Scheme every week.
So do keep visiting our website to follow the latest news and to check on local events going on in your area.