Walk of the week – Walking Scotland with Mary Welsh

Today’s guest blog is from Mary Welsh. Mary is a travel writer and an award-winning writer of walking books, having produced more that 40 walking guides. She also writes for magazines, newspapers and the web.

Mary Welsh on Norman’s Law – the last walk in the 21-book series

Walking Scotland is a series of books I’ve written together with Christine Isherwood. Christine both helps with the research and creates the detailed maps and illustrations. Each book in the series enables readers to choose from routes ranging from the simple stroll to the exhilarating high-level ridge walk.

We have just completed the last book in our 21-book series of walking guides, each containing 40 walks, covering the whole of Scotland and its many islands. My companion walker, Christine and I have walked over 6,000 miles and this month our project is complete. Our last walk was a climb of Norman’s Law, grid reference 305202, which can be found on OS Explorer Map 370. We were so happy and at the summit we danced, hugged, sang, and wept. We thought Norman’s Law was the most wonderful hill in Scotland.

Christine Isherwood and Mary Welsh

When we started the first book in the series, on the island of Arran in the 1980s, we didn’t have the appropriate OS Explorer Maps at 1:25 000, and instead used OS Landranger Maps at 1:50 000. Scotland has very, very few rights of way and these are not shown on Scottish maps. English maps show public rights of way  and permissive paths by using green or red dashed lines. However, Scotland now has universal access under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 – you can cross almost all land if walked responsibly. But you cannot barge through houses, gardens, farm buildings or yards, or growing crops – though you can walk round the edges of these fields.

When the Ordnance Survey started to print the Scottish OS Explorer Maps we were delighted. We could see all the pecked lines of paths and tracks and we could join them up as long as we behaved responsibly. They showed walls and fences and these are such a help when on remote unknown land. After a day’s walking we would work out our route for the next day knowing that we could walk confidently and relate this to other walkers using our books.

To Christine and me the OS Explorer maps were our best friends throughout the 6,000 plus miles.”


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