On The Road to Recovery: Meall Liath na Doire

Setting off from Rannoch and climbing uphill through the thick, clammy pine trees I quickly realised that perhaps I had overestimated my abilities and my progress was not glacial, but I was well below where I used to be. My confidence was returning though, having viewed camping as off-limits for so long it was incredibly enjoyable just to be out on the hills.

Full Article : On The Road to Recovery: Meall Liath na Doire

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Moon 360 Cycle Light

With the dark winter nights approaching, now’s the time to make sure your lights are up to the job. Visibility is vital to safe winter cycling.

The Moon 360 Cycle Light is an outstanding aid to the all-waether cyclist. Full review below…

Source: Moon 360 Cycle Light

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SNP Break Commitment to Protect Our Wild Land

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Article from The National, 29/10/16

In July 2014 I commented in THIS post that if the Scottish Government allowed the Talladh a Bheithe windfarm to go ahead it would signal it’s failure to abide by the Scottish Wild land Map which it had signed up to protect.

A little over two years later and the Scottish Government have indeed broken that commitment, by authorising the Creag Riabach windfarm in Wild Land Area 37.

I wish I could say I’m surprised, but sadly I’m not. There is more to environmentalism than throwing up turbines. Sadly the SNP Scottish Government have failed to grasp that one simple point.

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Aladdin Insulated Mug

Twenty years ago you couldn’t move for Aladdin insulated mugs. They were ubiquitous. If you went into a petrol station or outdoor store they were on sale. Made of lightweight plastic and foam…

Source: Aladdin Insulated Mug

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Letter to Planning Minister Kevin Stewart/ Protect the People of Caldercruix

Kevin Stewart MSP

Dear Mr Stewart,

Recently a planning application (15/00428/MIN) which had been rejected by North Lanarkshire Council due to the overwhelming objections from the local community and from politicians of all parties, was appealed by the company submitting the application. Despite the case having been clearly made by objectors that this development had serious health risks to the local community, that the increase in heavy traffic would have a detrimental effect to the environment, and would pose a risk to cyclists in particular, and that there was the possibility of a ground structural fault being disturbed which would put the public using the Lilly Loch in mortal danger, the Scottish Government Reporter has seen fit to override all these people and to grant permission to the company to begin operations.
I say begin operations with good reason, as it is my understanding that the company presented the case that it wished to continue operations at the quarry, even though operations ceased there in 2012, 4 years ago! If this is the case it is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts, and I would request that you use the powers available to call in this application and to rule in favour of the local community who have solidly rejected this project.
If I understand correctly, no other village in Scotland is sited in such close proximity to a working quarry of this type. There are no reasonable grounds for this to be allowed to go ahead and the people locally are strongly of the opinion that their SNP representatives and the Scottish Government have let them down badly on this. Your government would not permit fracking to take place so close to a community where people live and work, where new homes are being built. Are the children expected to grow up in the shadow of a quarry which will pour dust into their lungs on a daily basis, from morning until night? The health and welfare of the people of Caldercruix must take priority over the greed of big business, and I am calling on you to do the right thing, call in this application and consign it to the bin.

Yours faithfully,

James Cassidy

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The North Lanarkshire Walking Festival: Salsburgh to Hillend Walk

Walking from the Blackhill Transmitter to Mid Bracco

Walking from the Blackhill Transmitter to Mid Bracco

The first ever North Lanarkshire Walking Festival was held this weekend (there are still walks to take place tomorrow) and I was invited to lead one of the walks. I chose a walk over the high ground from Salsburgh via Blackhill Transmitter to Hillend Reservoir.  We took in three lochs along the way and and also the remains of a farm dating back to the early 1700’s.

As well as being joined on the walk by one of the NLC Access team, Hayley Andrew (not forgetting her colleague Mark Palmer, without whom there would have been no transport) I was delighted to host a number of walkers from across Central Scotland, none of whom had walked this stretch of the country before.

While the weather was a bit of a let down in that the lack of visibility meant I couldn’t show off the amazing views from Blackhill, it certainly wasn’t as bad as it could have been and it didn’t seem to detract any from everyone’s enjoyment of the walk.

If those attending this years events help spread the word about just how enjoyable they found it then I’m sure next years event will be twice as successful!

*For those who joined me on the walk and who are visiting looking for the directory of Rights of Way, hover your mouse over the AIRDRIE WALKS tab above, then move to RIGHTS OF WAY, then select the relevant Right of Way.

Map of the route taken

Map of the route taken

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Hillend Quarry: Scottish Government Overrule Local Community

wp-1474823992748.jpgI received a letter from the NLC planning department the other week confirming that the decision to block the application to reopen Hillend quarry had been overturned by the Scottish Government reporter, and that no challenges to this process would be considered, other than on legal points.

Last Thursday night (22nd September) a public meeting was held in Caldercruix Community Centre, hosted by the community council and chaired by Billy Main, to discuss if there was a way forward with any type of challenge.

Alex Neil MSP explained how the planning process worked which was most helpful. Neil Gray MP then confirmed that he had received a letter from North Lanarkshire Council who confirmed that they were exploring legal grounds for an appeal. Councillor Alan Beveridge asked Mr Neil if he had contacted anyone at Scottish Government level on this issue, specifically the planning minister, and he stated that he had not.

Bizarrely a proposal was then made that the assembled group should send a message to North Lanarkshire Council requesting them to explore grounds for a legal appeal, and this was agreed upon, though it seems to have escaped everyone’s notice that Neil Gray had already confirmed they were doing just that anyway.

Residents had previously campaigned outside the headquarters of North Lanarkshire Council before the council voted against the development, and the idea of another protest was raised. Even though North Lanarkshire Council SUPPORT the residents and are trying to find legal cause for an appeal, the meeting was steered to holding it’s protest outside NLC headquarters! If I understand this correctly the only person who can now call this in and override the decision is the Planning Minister, Kevin Stewart.  Considering that this has now moved to a position where only ministerial intervention can change anything I pointed out that the right and proper place to hold any protest was outside Holyrood. It’s also easier to get to from Caldercruix!

Billy Main and the community council are doing their bit and while I am not sure that this will have a successful outcome, I think they will give it their all to take this as far as it can go. The arguments have been made, and made well. It’s now up to Kevin Stewart MSP to take these arguments on board and do the right thing.

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