The winds of change are blowing against aspects of private land ownership and public concern about the persecution of wild life on many estates is increasing. Against this background, Scottish Land and Estates has launched a charter outlining a series of commitments it hopes landowners will sign up to. These are based on four principles:
The charter can be seen as a statement of standards. It does not, of course, attempt to address any of the thorny questions about land ownership which are now high on the political agenda. The problem with such a document is that those landowners who already act responsibly have no need for it and those who make access difficult, who undertake drastic culls of mountain hares or who turn a blind eye to their staff persecuting raptors will simply ignore it.
We are saying goodbye to Gordon Strachan, NEMT's long suffering Treasurer. Thank you, Gordon, for all your work over the years. We have been lucky to recruit Susie Smith to take on the role and a smooth transition of responsibilities is taking place.
We are also pleased to welcome two clubs as new members: the Cults Hillwalking Club and the Culter Hillwalking Club. It is good to get fresh blood into the organisation. A healthy membership strengthens our hand when dealing with public bodies and brings different perspectives and ideas. It is easy for clubs or individuals to join to support our work. Just visit www.nemt.org.uk. We are happy to attend club committee meetings to discuss the mutual benefits of membership.
Peter Holden (Senior Ranger/Naturalist) is leaving Mar Lodge, after nineteen years, to take up a post as the National Trust for Scotland's Senior Ranger on the Isle of Canna. NEMT is very supportive of the estate's efforts to develop a modern model of a highland estate which balances sporting and environmental interests and Peter has been very much part of this. Peter has been a good friend to NEMT, providing a helpful link over the years and was instrumental in the day out NEMT members enjoyed at Mar Lodge a few years ago. We wish Peter well with his new challenge.
Brian Heaton is stepping down as our winter lectures' co-ordinator. The good attendances at lectures over the past few years, along with the diverse and interesting range of topics, is testament to Brian's efforts. The great benefit of the job is that the incumbent gets to choose whom he/she wants to hear! If you are interested in this, or can persuade a friend to consider it further, just contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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