A STRATHEARN walker is “puzzled as to why money and time is being spent on the Core Paths Plan when there is already a perfectly exhaustive list of rights of way in existence.”
Neill Aitken from Comrie looks after the interests of the Rights of Way Society in Upper Strathearn and says that the Scottish Rights of Way Society’s (ScotWays) list is more extensive in its existing form than the Core Paths Plan.
Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 it is the “duty of local authorities to draw up a system of paths (core paths) sufficient for the purpose of giving the public reasonable access throughout their area”.
During this consultation more than 300 groups and individuals commented and the Plan was modified to reflect comments received.
However, Mr Aitken is concerned about the absence from the plan of three regularly used tracks in the area. These were flagged up in a letter from Comrie Community Council to PKC earlier this year. The Community Council also noted that, in particular, the area to the south of Comrie needed to be included in the Core Paths Plan to provide access to areas of special interest and natural beauty.
A spokesperson from PKC said that the three paths in question, namely the footpath through Findhu Glen to Tigh na Blair; the track from Callander drove road to Ben Vorlich and Ardvorlich, and the track from Craggish to Ben Halton, are “not asserted rights of way”. With regard to the second route, PKC also said: “ The western end is good but the section through the glen to the Comrie Moor Road above Tigh na Blair is rough, wet and hard to follow on the ground. Following requests, the issue was discussed with the landowner but it has not been included on the Plan.”
Stressing that the consultation was ongoing, the spokesperson went on to say: “We would strongly urge people to look at the Draft Core Path Plan during the consultation period and send in their own representations or objections.”
Mr Aitken added that, despite not being included, the tracks are still protected under the Land Reform Act. He said: “Serious walkers will still use an Ordnance Survey map anyway, not a core paths plan.”
The Draft Core Paths Plan is now available to view and comment on until 31 December 2008, online at www.pkc.gov.uk and at Council offices and local libraries.