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WHS Meetup 2019

 
 
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Author elsslots
Admin
#61 | Posted: 16 Jun 2019 11:04 | Edited by: elsslots 
We can post some ride share info here, as I know some people are looking for a ride between Edinburgh or Inverness to Portree (or Skye in general). Feel free to add your options or needs.

Myself I will be driving from Inverness Airport to Skye (inc Portree) on Wednesday 24st of July from 16.45 on.
And the same way back on Saturday 27th from about 11.00
I have 3 spots left in the car.

UPDATE: 2 spots are filled now

Author RandiT
Partaker
#62 | Posted: 25 Jun 2019 11:22 
We are leaving from Edinburgh Wednesday morning and have room in the backseat

Author kintante
Partaker
#63 | Posted: 25 Jun 2019 16:43 
We will be in Orkney on the 23th. But I have a hard time planning this properly. Anyone else visiting Orkney? How did you plan? Bringing the rental to the island seems very expensive. But transport on the island sounds like it is complicated. I'm also not sure where to sleep and how many nights to spend there (1 or 2).

Author hubert
Partaker
#64 | Posted: 25 Jun 2019 17:09 | Edited by: hubert 
kintante:
Anyone else visiting Orkney?

I will be on Orkney for one night 22th to 23th:
21th evening: Arrival in Scrabster (Ferry Inn, at the pier)
22th: Ferry to Stromness 8:45 (Northlink Ferries), I will leave my rental car and luggage at the Ferry Inn, will rent a bicycle in Stromness, visit Skara Brae, overnight in Stromness (Stromness Hotel)
23th: visit Maeshowe (prebooked), ferry back to Scrabster at 16:45, overnight Ferry Inn
24th morning drive to Skye

On Saturday, I will go to Edinburgh for a revisit. So, a post-meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday evening/Sunday?
I have 3 spots free in the car

Author joelonroad
Partaker
#65 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 00:49 
kintante:
We will be in Orkney on the 23th. But I have a hard time planning this properly. Anyone else visiting Orkney? How did you plan? Bringing the rental to the island seems very expensive. But transport on the island sounds like it is complicated. I'm also not sure where to sleep and how many nights to spend there (1 or 2).

If you can stomach long coach trips, we visited Orkney via a guided coach trip (about 40 ppl) from Inverness. It was a long day - the coach left at 6am and got back around 10pm, but we visited the key parts of the Orkney WHS (Skara Brae, Brodgar etc) so were reasonably happy. We generally avoid coach tours where possible but this one was fairly reasonable.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#66 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 02:35 | Edited by: Solivagant 
kintante:
But I have a hard time planning this properly. Anyone else visiting Orkney? How did you plan? Bringing the rental to the island seems very expensive. But transport on the island sounds like it is complicated. I'm also not sure where to sleep and how many nights to spend there (1 or 2).

I am bit reluctant to get involved advising on this as our visits to Orkney were some time ago but, for what it's worth, ...
a. You don't really need more than 1 day on Orkney just to see the WHS and get a feel for the islands and, with the ferry options and schedules, an overnight isn't "essential" - though to have one does give you rather more time on the island and, if you took the 6.30 ferry dept the next morning, doesn't really lose you much time on the mainland either unless you intended covering the miles after a crossing on the previous evening. This early dept is possibly the best compromise - assuming you can get a hotel in Stromness and a practical booking at Maes Howe. I personally would prefer, if I had to choose for lack of time, to spend more time on the NW mainland than on Orkney once I had seen the WHS.
b. If you want to go to the far north of Scotland anyway then going on a day trip to and from Inverness is a bit "unnecessary" - better I think to take a tour starting where you are already. But, if you cannot go further north by yourself then it is the only way! If about "40 ppl" means "around £40 per person" then I think they cost rather more than that - £70+?? Nb Entrance fees are extra
c. Don't forget the UK T List entry for the "Flow Country" and the centre at Forsinard . A bit south of Scrabster and probably better to take in on the way up as you might be short of time on the way back to Skye if you try to take in the NW Coast. As far as I know, this isn't an "active" T List entry but worth taking in whilst you are near and a type of landscape which is unusual and, I think, of interest.
d. The c20 mile (32kms) round trip return bike ride out to Skara Brae via Maes Howe and Ring of Brogdar is just about practicable (but "a bit tight" with the limited Maes Howe entry times) in a day with the c6 hours you will have between arrival and dept ferries for seeing those sights and could be wonderful on a fine sunny day....... but, who knows.......!! The distance reduces to 14.5 miles if you miss out Brogdar/Maes Howe but I wouldn't do so if the full route was ok for you. If not then I wouldn't choose Maes Howe over Skara Brae N.b There are major and "significant" excavations ("one of the largest and most important Neolithic excavations in Northern Europe") taking place on the Ness of Brodgar. Despite that web site stating that they are "Part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site" the area is currently only in the combined buffer zone around the currently inscribed elements (on this map Grey is "inscribed" - and is separate for each of Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe - pink is "Buffer"). They are of an importance such that we can expect that, one day, the inscribed area will be extended to include them - presumably by joining the 3 separate sites into a single zone and adding the Ness as well . Here are tour details ("Free" with donation if you guide yourself or £10pp with a guide!) if you want to try to take it in while you are passing. The importance of the site can be gauged from the fact that it has figured in several full length TV documentaries. This video (not necessarily the best if you search for others!) at c 13 minutes will give you an idea!
e. There is Car hire in Stromness - I don't know if there are cars available on your date - c£50 (plus Petrol) but split 2 or 3 ways against a bike rental of £10 pp isn't a vast amount extra!
f. With a car the other "sights" you could take in on Orkney are "interesting" but not "essential" - and you don't have a lot of spare time albeit more than if you cycled. Nb You will see the "Old Man of Hoy" of mythical climbing status during the Scrabster -Stromness ferry and you probably wouldn't be crossing to Hoy by ferry from "Mainland" Orkney anyway on a day trip. With a car you would certainly also take in Kirkwall (12th C onwards Cathedral), the Italian Chapel and the Scapa Flow barriers. Each is "worth a detour" if you are there and have the time. Regarding the latter it might be worth boning up on a bit of history in order to understand its "status" which, whilst known to many in UK, isn't immediately obvious!.
g. The direct road route from Scrabster to Skye (Portree) is a bit over 200 miles and c 4.5 hours. Via Kinlochbervie and Ullapool it is c265 and 6.5 hours. This NW Coast route is among the scenic highlights of Scotland and shouldn't be missed if you can take it in. Going via Gairloch, Lonbain and Applecross as well pushes it up to 338 miles and a bit over 9 hours but is even better! (It includes the steepest road climb in Uk It is a "mere" 626m high but from, and returning to, sea level. Remember - you have "Scandinavian" length of day in July - so with hotels booked and late check-in available/arranged you might as well use the full day!

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#67 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 03:59 
I will head to the Orkneys Sun 21, staying for 2 nights and on Tuesday I will try to get to Flow Country and Fort Williams. Wednesday I want to climb/hike Ben Nevis. I would need a ride on Wednesday afternoon/evening in Skye as I am staying with our rockart specialist couple in some remote corner on Skye :D

Author hubert
Partaker
#68 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 07:35 
Solivagant:
a. You don't really need more than 1 day on Orkney

Initially, I had only planned a day trip from Scrabster. There would be enough time to visit all three components of the WHS: 6 hours between the arrival at 10.15 and the last check-in at 16.15. But you have also to schedule time to walk to the bike rental / car rental or to wait for public transport etc.

Solivagant:
There are major and "significant" excavations ("one of the largest and most important Neolithic excavations in Northern Europe") taking place on the Ness of Brodgar.

In the end, that was one reason why I decided to stay overnight. It really sounds interesting. Three years ago, I visited an excavation at the pile dwelling site Olzreute in Germany. This has significantly improved my understanding of the pile dwelling site.

Solivagant:
could be wonderful on a fine sunny day....... but, who knows.......!!

In bad weather, I would switch to public transport. But I prefer a bicycle, it's more flexible and probably also faster, e.g. there is no direct bus connection between Skara Brae and Maeshowe.

Solivagant:
c. Don't forget the UK T List entry for the "Flow Country"

I will head to the Flow Country on my way to Scrabster. As you mentioned, it does not seem to be an active site, and I guess that the boundaries are not fixed yet. But it's likely that Forsinard will be included. My plan is to follow the suggestions on the Flow Country web site in your post: the two short hikes and the Forsinard Flow Visitor Centre.

Solivagant:
g. The direct road route from Scrabster to Skye

Thanks for the recommendations. Currently, I plan to take the route via Kinlochbervie and Ullapool. But, depending on the wheather, I would consider to take the long detour via Applecross.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#69 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 08:58 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Just briefly on The Flow Country they recruited for a post as a World Heritage coordinator last year indicating a move forward with the application.

https://worldheritageuk.org/2018/04/23/project-coordinator-sought-for-proposed-flow-country-unesco-world-heritage-site/

The timetable is to put the proposal into the relevant government department (DCMS) in 2019. At the very earliest that would put it as a potential site for 2021, that isn't going to happen, far too quick and the North Welsh Slate Industry is scheduled for 2021. So perhaps it is aiming for 2022?

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#70 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 09:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
meltwaterfalls:
Just briefly on The Flow Country they recruited for a post as a World Heritage coordinator last year indicating a move forward with the application.

Interesting comment -I was going to ask Hubert to ask the people he might meet at the visitor centre if they knew anything about plans for the site - and to let us all know the response!!
I have just checked on the Forum and I made this comment over 9 years ago - on 10 june 2010 (how time flies!!!)-
"The Flow Country (already on the T List). I was in this area a few weeks ago and, at the main museum/exhibition centre, asked the curator what was happening, but she didn't know! However, a few days later this appeared -
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/10183248.stm"

It would be interesting to know if the local staff know about the new "plans" - my experience around the World is that local staff are often the LAST people to be told!!

It was first put on UK's T List on 21 Jun 99 and was carried forward onto the current one. So it has done 20 years of "apprenticeship" on the T List!

Here (Jun 2018) is the appointment made - http://www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/news-and-events/news/flow-country-appoints-world-heritage-site-officer

And here some activity as recently as May 2019 in the form of the setting up of a Community Consultation - https://www.ruralnetwork.scot/news-and-events/news/flow-country-community-consultation-announced .

I see that the Web site I gave above to intending visitors actually contains a section on the WHS project - http://www.theflowcountry.org.uk/world-heritage-site/ .

Here is the documentation produced as background to the consultation. It contains a map which shows the current area of protection and which also states "Figure 1 shows the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Area of Conservation (SAC) which contains the blanket bog areas that are likely to be at the heart of the World Heritage Site proposal. However the SAC doesn't contain all of the potentially important areas of blanket bog in the Flow Country, and the core area of the WHS would most likely be bigger than the SAC." It is already quite "large" in UK terms!!
It also contains these target dates - "This consultation will run from May 2019 – July 2019 and we intend to submit our Technical Evaluation to the DCMS by the end of September 2019.".
Based on previous announcement dates it would seem likely (assuming a "good result") that the DCMS would make an announcement in Oct 2019 with a target for Nomination at the 2022 WHC and presentation of the Nomination File to UNESCO by end Feb 2021? That would be in line with The NW Wales Slate announcement which took place in Oct 2018 for the 2021 WHC.

Chances? For a start - I would have thought that its "green credentials" were pretty good - keeping all that CO2 "locked up" in peat etc etc. As far as I know it doesn't however appear in the IUCN list of "eco-gaps".

PS Hubert - one thing it could be worth asking about when you are there (and letting us know) is how the consultation is going - do the locals and landowners support the Nomination etc

Author hubert
Partaker
#71 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 13:26 
meltwaterfalls:
PS Hubert - one thing it could be worth asking

Yes, I will try to get as much information as possible and share it here. But I share your experience that local people often do not have much knowledge about the nomination process.
For example: I visited the Ore Mountain sites on the Easter weekend this year. I only met one guy, with whom I talked for almost an hour about WHS and the chances of the Ore mountains. Most others only knew that there will be a decision in summer, not more. And that although there was a big banner at every main site: "Erzgebirge auf dem Weg zum Welterbe" (Ore Mountains on the way to World Heritage).
But I will try my best!

Author hubert
Partaker
#72 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 13:38 | Edited by: hubert 
nfmungard:
I would need a ride on Wednesday afternoon/evening in Skye

Where are you staying? I have accommodation in Dunvegan. Are there any ideas / suggestions for a meeting on Wednesday evening?

nfmungard:
Wednesday I want to climb/hike Ben Nevis.

Oh, you are developing an alpine behavior! Great for a coastal resident. A side effect of your trip with kintante in the Swiss Alps?
But that's the right attitude: If there is a mountain, you have to climb it!

Author kintante
Partaker
#73 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 15:29 
Thank you guys! I will look for bikes or a car to rent

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#74 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 17:28 
hubert:
Where are you staying? I have accommodation in Dunvegan. Are there any ideas / suggestions for a meeting on Wednesday evening?

Sharing a trailer with our rock art of spain couple. Not sure where, but close to Els.

hubert:
Oh, you are developing an alpine behavior! Great for a coastal resident. A side effect of your trip with kintante in the Swiss Alps?
But that's the right attitude: If there is a mountain, you have to climb it!

It's not a real mountain, but still 1000m altitude as you essentially start on sea level. I have hiked it as kid (making it once) and I want to do it again. Landscape is beautiful. I can only recommend it.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#75 | Posted: 26 Jun 2019 17:37 
Redid my itinerary this evening. Maybe useful for everyone.
* Check Britrail if you plan to travel by train.
* Jodrell bank seems closed for a week starting Wednesday 17 July.

Friday 12 July: Flying to London. Will have beers in a pub with friends.

Saturday 13 July. Flying to Newquay. Then PirateBus! to Pencanze.

Sunday 14 July. Some hiking in Cornwall. Ending up in Exeter.

Monday 15 July. Train/Bus to Lyme Regis. Hiking along the coast. Evening bus/train to Bristol.

Tuesday 16 July. Very early connection to Blaenavon. Later to Jodrell arriving 15:00h at Goostrey. Later to Manchester or maybe Blackpool.

Wednesday 17 July. Trip into Lake District (Windermere). Will probably stay overnight if prices aren't insane.

Thursday 18 July. Some more Lake District, then Carlisle for the Roman Wall, ending up in Durhma.

Friday 19 July. Durham, Sunderland (T), Newcastle for Roman Wall, Edinburgh.
We are still due to Inspector Rebus beers in Edinburgh.

Saturday 20 July. New Lanark, Forth Bridge and Wall.

Sunday 21 July. Train/Bus/Ferry to Kirkwall.
* If someone was going would be happy to join.

Monday 22 July. Orkneys by foot / bike.

Tuesday 23 July. Ferry to Scabster. Train to Flow Country. Train to Inverness
* Same here: If someone is going happy to jump onboard.

Wednesday 24 July. Inverness to Skype. Will see what I can visit on the road.

...

Saturday 27 July. Bus to Fort Willam for Ben Nevis. The mountain comes recommended. Evening bus to Glasgow
* Again: Looking for a ride.

Sunday: Glasgow to Edinburgh and home.

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