Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 00:15 UK

Bid to gather upland tracks data

The MCoS hopes to raise the profile of the value of "wild land"

Gathering evidence of where new tracks are being cut through upland areas is being considered by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS).

Access and conservation officer Hebe Carus said the organisation was concerned by a gradual increase in the numbers of routes being created.

She said it was believed they were for easing access to remoter areas for shooting game.

Outside protected areas, landowners do not need planning consent, she added.

As well as for opening up the interiors of sporting estates, routes have been laid to reach sites of telephone masts and renewable energy schemes.

The conservation officer said it was often difficult to ascertain whether an exiting track was being upgraded, or if it was new.

The MCoS has concerns that tracks can lead to the loss of the "wildness" of upland areas.

She said: "It would be a huge task trying to record where all these tracks are, but what might be viable is keeping tabs on new tracks."

In the MCoS annual report, Ms Carus said planning authorities saw the laying of tracks as a low priority unless in designated areas and, despite pressure from the council, there was little that could be done without a change in legislation.

She said she was seeking ways of raising the profile of the value of "wild land".

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