Join the national parks debate

RS Harris Scotland

Ramblers Scotland is calling for Scotland’s third national park to be established on the Isle of Harris and for a western extension to the Cairngorms National Park boundary.

Following a debate in Scottish Parliament on national parks, Ramblers Scotland Director, Dave Morris, said that he felt the SNP Government had been too slow in developing Scotland’s national park system.

“Since coming into government in 2007 they have done virtually nothing to promote national parks, apart from extending the southern boundary of the Cairngorms National Park down to Blair Atholl," said Dave. "It’s now time to set up a ministerially-chaired national parks strategy group to assess the performance of our existing national parks, and to advise on the establishment of future national parks in Scotland.”

Ramblers Scotland believes that Scottish Government should urgently commit to a westward extension of the Cairngorms across a substantial tract of the Monadhliath mountains. This boundary has been drawn too close to the central massif. The world famous views from the high plateau of the Cairngorms are at very serious risk of being spoilt by wind farm development in the Monadhliath. As the developers circle around the present boundary it’s obvious that they need to be driven back by a boundary extension.

Ramblers Scotland also believes it’s time for a third national park. The Western Isles need the economic boost that national park designation would bring to the Harris area and what better way to advertise the presence of outstanding scenery and wildlife on the Atlantic seaboard to foreign vistors?

Protecting the natural heritage of the Western Isles, along with the provision of more and better facilities for visitors, would be a logical outcome of national park designation. The Scottish Government needs to sit down as soon as possible with the elected representatives of the Western Isles Council and discuss how national park designation could bring economic and environmental benefits.

A Scot, John Muir, was the founding father of the worldwide national parks movement. It's time for Scotland to set the world standard in the development of national parks in the 21st century and Ramblers Scotland believes it would be a fitting way for the Scottish Government to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of John Muir by setting up a new national park in Scotland.