Over the years the Ramblers have been a major force in access and conservation work in Scotland. Now the UK head office of the Ramblers is proposing closing the Scottish office, making the staff redundant and then reemploying two of them to work from home on reduced wages. The same is proposed for the Ramblers in Wales – I don’t know what effect this will have there. I do know that this will have serious consequences in Scotland and suggests that the Ramblers Board in London have little knowledge or understanding of the role Ramblers Scotland plays. I’ve worked with the Scottish Ramblers staff – most recently on the Beauly-Denny Landscape Group – and know just how good and committed they are. Losing them will be a big blow to all outdoors people in Scotland. Unfortunately the Ramblers are a UK based group run from London and the Scottish branch is just that, a branch. Maybe it’s time for Ramblers Scotland to break loose and become an independent Scottish organisation not beholden to London masters.
Cameron McNeish, a Vice-President and former President of Ramblers Scotland, has written good pieces on this on his blog and on the TGO forum in the Speak Out section. His heading “have the Ramblers gone completely mad?” shows what he thinks. There is also a good piece by Rob Edwards in the Sunday Herald under the heading "Death by a vicious cut for Ramblers Scotland".
I’ve been concerned for some time that the Ramblers are becoming a cosy Southern England organisation, losing their radical heritage and commitment. I’ve been a member for many years. It looks like I won’t be renewing.
Update: Dick Balharry, Dennis Canavan and Cameron McNeish, the President, Convener and Vice-President of Ramblers Scotland have launched an appeal for £200,000 to keep the organisation going.
Photo info: A new double fence across Ben Tirran above Glen Clova, May 2009. Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS@18mm, 1/500@F5.6, ISO 200, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.