Using Local Rights of Way
by Craig Gilbert
As I write this article we’re still in lockdown due to the Coronavirus. I’ve been taking my daily exercise, and making a point of exploring local routes near to where I live.
This, then, is the beauty of our Scottish access rights, with the wealth of rights of way on offer. Fife has one of the largest concentrations of rights of way in Scotland. There are many small lanes within towns and villages, but also lovely countryside rambles, as in one of my local routes, which connects Falkland to Freuchie by using rights of way while not being anywhere near a main road. As the pictures show, the sight of cows and hidden woodland walks greet the senses rather than the sound of traffic and dusty tarmac.
It struck me as I took this particular walk, that I could just carry on beyond Freuchie, to arrive at other villages, such as Ladybank or Kettlebridge, purely by walking on rights of way. Granted, some of them are on country roads, but the amount of possibility is tremendous.
It has been an interesting time, to say the least, but these walks have really captivated me, giving me much joy. The air seems so pure, the birdsong strident, the blue sky of summer so blue, it feels as though the Earth is having a holiday, revelling in our lack of action and car vibrations.
The time being at home, without the ability to travel further, has highlighted to me the importance of such routes; that we can all have the potential to leave our home and walk in a varied landscape. Without such routes, we’d be more housebound, or consigned to maybe just one or two walks. It’s important to use these rights of way, as it helps to keep them open and free from obstruction. Indeed, ScotWays volunteers, like myself, survey routes when we walk them, looking for any maintenance or access issues along them. By keeping our eyes on the ground, we help to record use while monitoring the ever changing states of such rural routes.
For more information on becoming a volunteer for ScotWays, please visit their website: www.scotways.com – they might even be able to highlight some rights of way near where you live that you never knew about!