Ramblers Campaigner retires on day of Wild Land debate

On the day that the Scottish Parliament discusses the proposed Rannoch Moor wind farm and the future of Wild Land in Scotland one of Scotland’s longest serving environmental campaigners leaves his desk.

Dave Morris has led the Ramblers operations in Scotland over the last 25 years.  The retiring Ramblers Scotland Director said: “It is very satisfying to know that, on my last day in work, the challenge of protecting our Wild Land is now a major issue before the Scottish Parliament. 

"As MSPs debate the horrendous prospect of a massive wind farm on Rannoch Moor, I hope they will also support the wider efforts of many individuals and organisations to protect our finest landscapes.  The natural beauty of Scotland is world famous – cherishing its wildness and ensuring we all can enjoy its benefits must be close to the heart of every citizen living in Scotland.”

Reflecting  on the last 25 years, Dave Morris commented that it had been a huge privilege to work with the members, volunteers and staff who are the bedrock of the Ramblers, one of Britain’s most influential and effective campaigning organisations. 

When the original Ramblers federations in Glasgow and Edinburgh came together with those in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and London to form the Ramblers’ Association in 1935, they laid the foundation for a popular movement which has appealed to everyone, young and old, rich and poor, who had one simple desire – to step out from their front door and enjoy the outdoor environment. 

Today, in a world in which most people live in towns and cities, the work of the Ramblers in helping everyone to get outdoors is as vital as it was in 1935. 

“I have greatly enjoyed this long journey, in the company of so many dedicated people in our voluntary organisations and public bodies”, said Dave.  “Activities have ranged from the successful efforts to stop the westward expansion of downhill ski developments in the Cairngorms, through the battle to prevent superquarry development in the Western Isles, to the present struggle to ensure that future renewable energy developments are compatible with the wider public interest. 

"Along the way we have helped deliver Scotland’s world class land reform legislation – no other country can better Scotland’s reputation for its ‘right to roam’, which secures public rights of access to most of our land and water.  Now we must build on this to ensure that those who own the land and manage its landscape and wildlife resources have greater regard for ecological principles and the public need in a world where Scotland should be setting an example for all.”

Looking to the future, Dave said: “It has been a huge pleasure to complete my time with the Ramblers in 2014, the year of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and to help the Ramblers to deliver some of the key physical activity benefits associated with this massively successful sporting event. I will watch with pleasure as my colleagues and many others ensure that, over the next ten years, we are able to use the Games to provide the impetus to make Scotland the fittest nation on the planet.”