CycleForNature Week 1- Galashiels to Hamilton

Date posted -

Having made it as far as our Hamilton office at the end of #CycleForNature day 2, our CEO Francesca Osowska updates us on the journey so far…

Monday saw the first journey from our Galashiels office to the Scottish Parliament, accompanied by Niall Corbet, Operations Manager for Southern Scotland. We had an excellent discussion with staff in the Galashiels office before mounting our steeds and heading for Innerleithen, where we met partners to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities in the Borders area. The Borderlands initiative and Southern Scotland Economic Partnership were firmly in the opportunities column, with lack of funding and the need for more joined-up thinking amongst the challenges. Then a good cycle through the snowy landscape of the Moorfoot hills to Holyrood.

On day two, I cycled from my home to our Silvan House office in Edinburgh to meet an enthusiastic group of colleagues who were accompanying me to Blawhorn Moss National Nature Reserve. Along the way we discussed the challenges of development planning and ensuring that NatureScot’s voice is heard as part of the planning process. It was a great way to have a conversation with colleagues and, although we can’t do cycling meetings all the time, walking meetings are perhaps something we could all make more of.

At Blawhorn Moss we met staff and volunteers and learned from David Pickett about his ambition to transform Blawhorn into the “Prince Harry” of NNRs. It was good to chat about the importance of Blawhorn to the local community and how path and boardwalk improvements can make a big difference to accessibility.

And then, for the first time, I was cycling on my own, to our office in Hamilton. My @snh_maps colleagues had mapped an excellent route for me to take, following the National Walking and Cycling Network (NWCN), which was great for avoiding busy roads. Sadly, some sections were so covered in glass that I almost picked up my bike and walked. But then, out of nowhere, just outside Coatbridge, came a lovely stretch along a river with swans, ducks and plenty of other birdlife.

Another fantastic day and I’m very much looking forward to the next stretch, which will take me on to our Clydebank office.