Our 2018 annual conference, known as Scottish Council, will be held on Saturday 10 March and  Sunday 11 March in Aberdeen. We’ll be at the ‘Doubletree by Hilton - Aberdeen Treetops’ (161 Springfield Road, Aberdeen AB15 7AQ).

Book your place for an interesting, fun weekend of walks, talks, workshops, elections and socialising with members from across Scotland.

It’s the annual opportunity for members to debate and formally review our work, hear about new initiatives, and get involved in the running of the organisation.

We’d one of our best-ever events in 2017, but always aim to improve a little every year!

Book your place today!

The packed 2018 programme includes opportunities to:

  • Attend the Dick Balharry Memorial Lecture by our president Ben Dolphin. Ben’s a countryside ranger, walker, photographer, writer, self-confessed ‘nature nut’ – and a great speaker!
  • Learn about our work and debate issues important to you
  • Hear from the three winners of the 2017 Scottish Council Challenge about their exciting projects
  • Celebrate our group successes
  • Ask questions of the Scottish Council Executive Committee
  • Take part in speed workshops on topics including: problem solving, festival activities, walk leadership, area support, programmes, data protection and volunteering
  • Debate policy with influential guest speakers. 
  • Enjoy dinner with fellow members from across Scotland
  • And take part in walks, fun activities and use of the hotel pool and leisure facilities!

We also encourage areas and groups to submit interesting motions for debate.

You can access our full Scottish Council Toolkit here and there are more details in the additional notes below.

Stand for election!
SCEC: Anyone who joined Ramblers Scotland before 11 March 2017 can stand for election to our Scottish Council Executive Committee, using this form.  We will hold elections for up to seven members of SCEC. It’s an excellent opportunity to influence decision-making. We’d particularly love people with a background in public health, fundraising or marketing to consider sharing their skills. 

Agenda committee: Delegates can also stand for election to the Agenda Committee using this form.

It is also possible to be elected as Scottish Council honorary officers in the roles of president, vice-presidents, convener, vice-convener and honorary treasurer, using this form. All honorary officers become members of SCEC, with the exception of vice-presidents. If you are interested in becoming an honorary officer, your nomination must be with us by Wednesday 31 January 2018. Nominations can be submitted by an area, group and affiliated body; or by two people who are honorary officers, SCEC members, agenda committee members or on the Board of Trustees.

All members are welcome to attend, but only people representing their area, group, or affiliated organisation along with honorary officers, members of SCEC and agenda committee can vote. 

  • Each group can send one voting delegate
  • Each area can send two voting delegates 
  • Honorary officers and members of SCEC and the agenda committee, as well as three members of the Board of Trustees can attend
  • Affiliated organisations can send one voting delegate.

We’ll cover expenses for each group and area’s voting delegate. Accommodation for voting delegates is free if you share a room. If you'd like a room on your own, there is a single room supplement of £35, this applies to all official delegates. (This includes area and group representatives, honorary officers, SCEC and the agenda committee.)

Other members and guests may attend as non-voting observers, but their own travel and overnight costs are payable by themselves or out of their area or group’s funds (if agreed prior to attendance).

The accommodation cost is £50 for a shared room and £85 for a single room. This includes dinner, bed and breakfast.

We’ve a limited number of tickets available for members living locally who might like to attend the combined dinner and illustrated talk by Ben Dolphin at 7.30pm on the Saturday evening. The cost of the dinner and talk is £25 per person.  

Where and when?
Registration is in the conference foyer from 11am to 12 noon on Saturday 10 March, followed by a sit-down buffet lunch from 12noon to 1pm, with the formal business of Scottish Council at 1pm. 

Additional notes

Newly elected members of SCEC would be required to attend a minimum of four meetings a year, however there is flexibility about when and where these meetings take place and the option to incorporate the use of video conferencing.  If you or any member of your group would like to discuss what being a SCEC member entails, please email our convener.

Motions are about urging the Scottish Council Executive Committee, Ramblers Scotland or external bodies to take action. Debating and voting on a motion is a way to call upon an action towards a certain purpose. This might be public-facing action, such a backing a public campaign or releasing a policy statement on a certain issue, or it might be internal action such as promoting some new activity.

Areas, groups and affiliated organisations may propose motions which will then be debated at Scottish Council.  All motions must be received in writing by the Ramblers Scotland office no later than Tuesday 6 February 2018. Motions are limited to:

  • Two motions from each group
  • Three motions for each area
  • Two motions from each organisation affiliated to Scottish Council.

In the case of motions submitted by any two people who are honorary officers, SCEC or agenda committee members or Board of Trustee representatives. No person can submit more than two motions. 

A motion needs to be agreed by a group or area with the relevant committee’s agreement or by the affiliated organisation. An agenda committee, elected at Scottish Council 2017, will have powers over the competence of motions submitted. (See Standing Orders para A2.3.) Motions should include the name, telephone number/e-mail address of a contact person who can be consulted at short notice, if necessary, by the convener of the agenda committee to clarify and discuss any aspect of the motion.  

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the preparation of motions, please contact your area or group officers or the Scottish Council convener Alison Mitchell, via the Ramblers Scotland office, or our area and governance administrator Jocelyn Payne.  All motions received will be sent out to delegates 21 days prior to Scottish Council 2018.

Where to send motions and nominations
All motions and nominations must be sent to Jocelyn Payne or to the Scottish Council convener at Ramblers Scotland, Caledonia House, 1 Redheughs Rigg, South Gyle, Edinburgh EH20 9DQ.

Accommodation and food costs are paid by Scottish Council for official voting delegates, including area, group, affiliated group, honorary officers and members of SCEC and the agenda committee. In addition, reasonable travel expenses – bus or rail fares and petrol costs may be claimed for reimbursement.  However, it is expected that, where possible, those attending the conference will share transport to minimise costs. 

Accommodation for voting delegates is free if you share a room.  If you'd like a room on your own, there is a single room supplement of £35, which applies to all official delegates. This includes area and group representatives, honorary officers, SCEC and the agenda committee.

We do not pay accommodation costs or expenses for additional persons attending the conference as observers, or delegates from affiliated bodies, whether they are Ramblers members or not.  Additional persons attending from a group or area may be able to claim expenses out of group/area funds, with their agreement prior to attendance. 

If you are not the official representative from your group and are paying your own accommodation, the cost is £50 for a shared room and £85 for a single room. This includes dinner, bed and breakfast.

Those interesting in only attending the Dick Balharry memorial talk on Saturday 10 March must pay £25 to cover dinner, as per instructions below.

Payments for accommodation should be sent to Ramblers Scotland no later than Friday 9 February 2018. Please either:

  • send cheques, made payable to Ramblers' Association Scotland, to Jeannie Cranfield, Ramblers Scotland, Caledonia House, 1 Redheughs Rigg, South Gyle, Edinburgh. EH12 9DQ
  • or send bank transfer to Unity Trust Bank, Sort Code: 60-83-01, Bank Account: 20124380. Please use your surname and the reference SC18 with this transfer.

As per last year, there will be walks on offer as part of the programme so if you wish to participate, please bring appropriate footwear and clothing.

All overnight delegates will have use of the hotel 15-metre swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room and fitness room.

Doubletree by Hilton in Aberdeen Treetops is a lovely hotel with excellent facilities. It is a quiet retreat in the leafy west end of the city with close links to the airport and city centre.

**Please note there is a second Doubletree by Hilton City Centre hotel on the beachfront in Aberdeen, this is a smaller hotel and not where we are holding the conference!**

Hilton Aberdeen Treetops is approximately three miles from Aberdeen train station and the city centre.  Whether arriving in Aberdeen by bus or train, attendees should take the number 15 bus from Union Street, which run every 15 minutes, to the hotel entrance on Springfield Road. 

There are plenty of Citylink buses to Aberdeen, timetables can be downloaded here.

There are also regular trains from major cities in Scotland to Aberdeen and plenty of parking for those coming by car.