Agendas, reports and minutes

Ross and Cromarty Local Access Forum

Date: Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minute of Meeting of the Ross and Cromarty Local Access Forum held in the Chamber, Council Offices, High Street, Dingwall on Wednesday 28 November 2018 at 2.00 pm.


Mr G Adam, Dr S Campbell, Mr R Chalmers, Mr N Chisholm, Mr R Forrest, Mr F Fotheringham, Mr N Fraser, Mr J MacKenzie and Mr H Munro.

In Attendance:

Mr P Waite, Access and Long Distance Route Manager, Development and Infrastructure Service
Mrs A MacArthur, Administrative Assistant, Chief Executive’s Office

Mr R Forrest in the Chair

1.  Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

2.  Confirmation of Minutes

There had been submitted for confirmation as a correct record the minutes of meeting of the Ross and Cromarty Local Access Forum held on 22 June 2018 which following amendment, the changing of “Dalneigh” to read “Delny”, the reference to Capercaillies and the amendment to the sederunt was APPROVED

3.  Land Manager Appointment to Ross and Cromarty Local Access Forum

Mr Nigel Fraser was appointed to the Forum.  Mr Fraser was a Chartered Surveyor consultant who worked on a number of estates on land management.

4.  The Highland Core Path Plan Review – West Highlands and Islands

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager provided the following updates to the Core Path Plan Review:

  1. the Lochaber section of the plan has now been assessed with proposals drawn up;
  2. the area of the Wester Ross section of Plan had been extended to cover Strathpeffer and Strathconon, which is more in line with te Council Ward area;
  3. the final draft of the routes had been attached to papers and would be finalised at this meeting;
  4. the final draft of the amended Core Path Plan would then go to the Ross and Cromarty Committee for approval, following which land managers would be notified and the consultation on the plan would commence next year. 

A presentation was shown outlining the extension to the Core Path Plan to cover the Strathpeffer and Strathconon area.  The difference between the Ward boundary and Community Councils boundaries were outlined for a small piece of Strathpeffer.

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager then sought agreement for paths to be included in the plan with reference to the circulated Table of Changes:

  • RC01.05 Polbain Shore Path, Achiltibuie, to be deleted;
  • RC01.10(C) Achiltibuie – the Acheninver beach circuit approved;
  • RC10.04, RC10.05, RC10.06(C), RC10.07(C)RC10.08(C), RC10.09(C) Contin - the paths were all approved;
  • RC14.03(C) and RC14.04(C) Dundonnell – paths should also be kept with signs to define the path, it was a good circular route – the part of the path affected by the high tide should be removed;
  • RC20.01 – Silverbridge circuit approved;
  • RC28.06(C), RC28.07(C), RC28.08(C) Kinlochewe approved;
  • RC37.05(C) at Poolewe – the core path designation should stop at Carnmore and not continue to Shenavall due to river crossing;
  • RC44.01(C), RC44.02(C), RC44.03(C) – Strathconon – the circular route was proposed, but suggested dropping the longer route,
  • (Side issue: Ledgowan the gate by the bridge had been nailed shut again, the access at the other gates also needed sorted)
  • (Side issue: Braemore gates have changed – nobody had been stopped or complained but this needed to be watched)
  • RC45.01A(C), RC45.03A(C) Strathpeffer – the Kinellan and Ord Hill paths were supported.
  • RC45.04 Strathpeffer –Blackmuir Wood maze circuit- approved
  • RC45.11(C), RC45.12(C) Strathpeffer – the old Railway Line, -approved
  • RC49.01(C) Ullapool – approved

It was AGREED to support the above listed core paths and others not listed to be included in the West Highlands and Islands Core Path Plan. 

5.  Exemption from Access Rights, S11 Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager advised that this was the annual request for exemption from access rights over the area for the Strathpuffer in Strathpeffer. 

Thereafter, it was AGREED to allow Exemption from Access Rights in terms of Section 11 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

6.  Access Issues Updates     

  1. Rua Reidh, Gairloch

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager provided an update on Rua Reidh during which he outlined the court case with Loch Lomond Park and the intention to seek Counsel’s opinion.  This case was still with the Council’s litigation team.  One of the access complainer’s had taken their case to the police ombudsmen, and the ombudsmen had upheld their complaints stating that the police should have acted regardless of whether or not this was a public or private route as it still came under the Roads Authority.

Thereafter, the position was NOTED.

  1. Millnain Croft

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager stated that he and Hector Munro had met with the landowner to discuss access obstruction. Suggestions were made on the day and later by letter to improve sheep management, how to improve funding and there by ease public access. The landowner did agree not to confront anyone who was passing along the route responsibly. However, no response to the letter had been received and The Access and Long Distance Route Manager had been made aware that the landowner had recently taken ill and so was going to wait for some time before following up.

Thereafter, the position was NOTED.

  1. Craig Wood, Dingwall

The Access and Long Distance Route Manager provided an update on the access at Craig Wood, Dingwall.  Dead trees were in the area where the spoil had been dumped.  The householder had received enforcement action from Planning and told to reinstate the path.  The landowner had undertaken the work himself and had put no retaining walls in place. 

          The position was NOTED.

7.  National Access Forum Matters

The next National Access Forum meeting would be held in April 2019 and the Access and Long Distance Route Manager asked for interested parties to inform him and he would pass information to them.As yet no venue had been given.

The minutes of the last meeting of the National Access Forum held on 26 September 2018 had been circulated and these were NOTED.

8.  Any Other Business

Members discussed the use of paths by mountain bikers and the damage that they caused.  Mountaineering Scotland and Highland Hill Walkers undertook some path maintenance on the paths that they used.  Mountain Biking Development in Scotland have an annual Trail Maintenance Day,where members were encouraged to repair paths in their area. They have done this in Torridon for the last 3 years.

Landowners were reluctant to complain about the access taken and the damage done by mountain bikers but it was felt that this was something that should be taken to the National Access Forum.

The intrusion from drones and the inadequate legislation that covered drones was discussed.

Mr Nigel Fraser AGREED to set a question on the need for drone legislation for discussion at the National Access Forum and a suggestion would be made to other Access Forums to do the same.

9.  Date of Next Meeting

It was NOTED that the next meeting would be confirmed following a doodle poll of members in June 2019.

The meeting finished at 4.40 pm.