Blairgowrie and District Next Steps


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Buzzard or Golden Eagle?    Camping   Climbing and Abseiling    Contingency Planning    Covid Symptoms    Data Privacy    Dogs    Equal Opportunities    Equipment    Insurance    Joining    Liability    Litter    Magnetic Grid Variation    Maps    Meals    Medical    No Shows    Participation Statement    Photographs    Physical Activity Guidelines    Risk Assessment   Schedules    Smoking    Subscriptions    Supervision   Toilet Stops    Transport    Walk Duration    Walk Grading   


Contingency Planning

All Tuesday and Thursday walks are based around Naismith's Rule and modified based on experience of people's capabilities over the last 10 years.  However the return time cannot be guaranteed under any circumstances, and any participants' post walk activities have to take into account the possibility of a late return.  Reasons for any delays are varied but usually because progress was slower than planned.  All walks have qualified and experienced first aid support and are led by a Winter Mountain Leader.  The basis on which this standard of qualification is used is to undertake dynamic risk assessments en-route.  This allows for detours, alternate targets, and an ability to undertake unscheduled or pre-planned activities.  At no time do we undertake anything that people are incapable of taking on.  Given the variability of any route it may be that we have to return through an unplanned direction, this may be caused by adverse weather conditions, inability to safely cross a water course, steep ground made more hazardous due to weather and so on.  There are no particular hazards on any of our walks that have not been pre-notified so at all times where we go is achievable.  However, if this is new for some people they may take longer than anticipated to negotiate the terrain.  Additionally adverse weather, as a consequence of the vagaries of forecasting, may well have an impact.  If feasible we may turn back, however this assumes we have gone less than halfway.  If we have to turn back beyond halfway then this alone will delay possibly considerably the actual return time.  While we plan on walking at app 3.5km/h with breaks and allowances for ascent any change in actual speed can have a significant impact.  For example on a route of 10km(6 miles) walking at 2.5km/h instead will easily add about 1.5 hours to the journey, not taking into account any adverse conditions.  This speed reduction can be caused by someone not being fit enough, with a cold or something, deep soft snow, very boggy or rocky ground, and so on.  It may even be that we have decided to stop for refreshments on the way back!  Unfortunately being in the outdoors means that we will usually be well away from a mobile phone signal.  All this means that we can easily be several hours late and nothing has gone wrong.  In the unlikely event of something happening outwith our control, such as a bus breakdown or worse, then a message will be got through to the appropriate office.  Emergency equipment is always carried on walks (which is why we insist on a comprehensive list of personal equipment)  and in the minibus, and this includes the capability of staying out overnight (though not necessarily comfortably!).   For this reason all participants are expected to ensure they are appropriately equipped as per our kit list.  Any delayed return will if possible be notified through our office (contact here), who will in the event of any incident co-ordinate any action with the appropriate authorities.  Delays of 3 or 4 hours or possibly longer may easily occur in adverse conditions, if we have to return from Braemar via Aberdeen for one example, and remember that if we are in the Glen Clova/Doll area then there is no mobile phone coverage until Dykehead for another.


Data Privacy

Contact details including email addresses, telephone numbers as well as postal addresses are stored electronically for the sole purpose of maintaining contact with participants and group administration.  They are not divulged to third parties or used in any processing systems.  A very limited amount of personal data, taken from the membership application form is retained for management and care purposes only.  Any changes to participants contact details should be advised in order to ensure that data we hold is correct.  Other items of personal data are not disclosed to anyone other than walk leaders as appropriate to ensure safe care of participants is provided, and is held for registration purposes only.  If anyone does not wish to have their personal information kept for these purposes please ensure this is bought to management attention.  As a membership group there is a presumption that members will wish to be communicated with.



The nature of the walks undertaken on Tuesdays and Thursday mean that it is inappropriate to bring dogs along.  If dogs are brought along on a Wednesday please bear in mind that they must be under close control at all times.  Also be aware that other people may not be  comfortable with dogs.  Not everyone is a dog lover!  From time to time we come across cattle and sheep, also there may be deer and other wild animals around, and we walk as a group so loose dogs may cause a problem.  (S.O.A.C.  3.53 to 3.56)



Please note that for safety and comfort reasons it is essential that walkers are equipped as a minimum to the standards explained here.  Anybody not suitably equipped may not be allowed to participate in the walk.  Walking equipment informationCamping equipment information. 



Third party insurance for walk leaders is provided by the Perth and Kinross Sports Council schemes.  All our programmed walks are supervised by appropriately qualified and accredited personnel as required under these schemes.  All our leaders carry up to date Emergency Aid in the Outdoors First Aid certification as required by adventure activity National Governing Boards.  Walk participants are advised to ensure their own personal insurance is suitable for any activities being undertaken.  A suitable policy that can be arranged on an annual basis can be obtained from the British Mountaineering Council at  This policy also provides cover for specialist equipment.



In view of the Health Walking background prospective participants should join in with the Wednesday walks prior to trying the more advanced walks.  But apart from this joining is easy, though there are annual membership fees for the Tuesday, Thursday and Advanced walks (see below).  We also need to collect contact information and there is a short (Physical Activity Readiness Questionannaire - PARQ) medical questionnaire that we need to have completed along with agreement to the Code of Conduct.  Contact and associated details will be held in electronic format but not passed to any other person or organisation. Such details will only be used to assist with administration of the group.  The Group's Equal Opportunity Policy is available if required.  The registration form can be downloaded here (MS Word).


If you are new to walking particularly in the countryside please come and try some of the Wednesday walk sessions before committing yourself to anything that could be too strenuous.  Please also read the fitness note and kit-list page for additional technical information.


We offer a very wide range of walks, from very easy to extremely strenuous.  The harder walks may involve significant rough ground and steep and/or rocky terrain, coupled with extended distances and ascents and long durations away from the minibus.  Therefore while the easy and moderate walks are structured and timed for almost anyone reasonably fit, the harder ones will not be suitable for everyone.  We therefore ask that you contact us before committing to anything challenging.  This allows us to cater for those who would like a very serious and strenuous challenge from time to time.  Any delays or difficulties with complex terrain especially on a long high and strenuous walk will have a potentially major impact on the wider group, as well as the over committed participant.  Our advice will be based on significant and fully qualified experience.  Please read the fitness note for further and more information.



Those taking part in the Blairgowrie & District Next Steps do so at their own risk.  The organisers and sponsors of events shall not be liable for any accident or injury, however caused.  Walk Leaders are covered under the generic Perth and Kinross Sports Council sports insurance schemes, and if they are members of Mountaineering Scotland they are covered through this membership.



In accordance with the principles of 'Tread Lightly' all litter, wrappers, unused food, paper, etc should be taken back to a rubbish bin and disposed of properly.  It is bad practise to bury waste which can pollute water courses, and be dug up by wild animals.


Magnetic Grid Variation

This varies from year to year and also with where you are on the ground.


Variation from Grid North for variations west - Grid to Mag add, Mag to Grid subtract, for variations east  - Grid to Mag subtract, Mag to Grid add






Jul- 16



Jul-19 Jul-20 Jul-21 Jul-22











2º 26' west

2º 17' west

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1º 55’ west

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0º 59’ west

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0º 27’ west

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1º 47' west

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0º 11’ EAST

0º 25’ EAST

0º 41’ EAST

0º 54' EAST

1º 11' EAST

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1º 52' west

1º 47' west

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1º 25’ west

1º 07’ west

01º 52’ west

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1º 55' west

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0º 54’ west

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1º 34' west

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0º 08’ EAST



1º 39' west

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0º 07’ EAST



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Fort William


1º 14' west

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0º 00’

0º 16' EAST

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1º 40' west

1º 30' west

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1º 08’ west

0º 53’ west

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0º 10’ west

0º 03’ west



1º 28' west

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0º 56’ west

0º 42’ west

0º 27’ west

0º 15’ west

0º 01’ EAST

0º 13’ EAST





 2º 03' west

1º 50’ west

1º 35’ west

1º 20’ west

1º 07’ west

0º 52’ west

0º 39’ west



3º 16' west

3º 06' west

 2º 55' west

2º 42’ west

2º 29’ west

2º 13’ west

1º 59’ west

1º 45’ west

1º 32’ west

Newton Stewart NX4165             

0º 01’ EAST

0º 16’ EAST

0º 28’ EAST



0º 59' west

0º 48' west

 0º 38' west

0º 25’ west

0º 10’ west

0º 06’ EAST

0º 19’ EAST

0º 35’ EAST

0º 48’ EAST



0º 31' west

0º 21' west

 0º 11' west

0º 01’ EAST

0º 15’ EAST

0º 31’ EAST

0º 43’ EAST

1º 00’ EAST

1º 13’ EAST



1º 50' west

1º 40' west

 1º 31' west

1º 18’ west

1º 04’ west

0º 49’ west

0º 36’ west

0º 21’ west

0º 08’ west



1º 23' west

1º 13' west

 1º 03' west

0º 50’ west

0º 35’ west

0º 20’ west

0º 07’ west

0º 08’ EAST

0º 22’ EAST



Our walks usually make use of the following Ordnance Survey maps:

Explorer 1:25,000 scale (orange cover)

379 - Dunkeld, Aberfeldy & Glen Almond

380 - Dundee & Sidlaw Hills

381 - Blairgowrie, Kirriemuir and Glamis

387 - Glen Shee & Braemar

388 - Lochnagar, Glen Muick & Glen Clova

Landranger 1:50,000 scale (red cover)

43 - Braemar to Blair Atholl

44 - Ballater, Glen Clova & surounding area

53 - Blairgowrie & Forest of Alyth


On the Easy Wednesday walks you only need to carry appropriate outer clothing, though a small snack such as a chocolate bar and a small bottle of water are advised.  The longer Tuesday and Thursday walks are usually of at least 3 or 4 hours duration, sometimes up to 7 or 8 hours so it is essential that you bring along a packed lunch and/or snacks with a warm drink, sufficient for the expected duration.  It is also highly advisable to bring along additional water for drinking during the walk.  Hydration is extremely important, even in Scotland and it is good practise to consider carrying and drinking around ½ litre per hour when walking. Please see the fitness note for additional information.



Any medical conditions that the leaders need to be aware of should be advised before each walk.  Any details will be kept in strictest confidence and will allow the leader to make appropriate allowances as needed.  It is also a condition of joining that emergency contact details are registered.  This is for your own safety in the highly unlikely event of something going wrong.  If you feel unwell at any time during the walk it is essential that you let the leaders know.  All walks are led by qualified outdoor first-aiders, and Mountain Leaders for anything high or remote, but none of us can perform miracles!  If you are in any doubt please err on the side of caution and consult your GP.   In the event of any emergency the walk will terminate and return to the transport as appropriate.


If anyone who has booked and is showing Covid symptoms please let me know and withdraw while you isolate.


No Shows

Due to having no spare seats from time to time, regrettably if someone doesn't turn up for a booked walk with no advance notice more than 2 times any subsequent bookings will be deleted.  On numerous walks we have a reserve list and it is therefore unreasonable to book a seat and not turn up.  So if you have missed a few weeks please check with us beforehand so you do not end up disappointed.


Participation Statement

Hillwalking, Mountaineering and Climbing are activities with a danger of personal injury or death.  Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.



Participants are reminded that photographs will be taken by group members or others.  If you do not wish to be photographed please let the photographer or your colleagues know.  Any photographs taken by participants remain their personal copyright but may be used for publicity purposes or placed in the public domain on this or other websites, printed material etc.


Risk Assessment

As we operate under the guidance of a qualified Mountain Leader we have the ability to work under a 'Dynamic Risk Assessment'.  This means hazards are observed and dealt with as we come across them.  What we do is always dependant on the capabilities of group participants.  A copy of our risk assessment can be downloaded here.



Walks are run weekly and our programmes are available in advance.  Occasionally it may be necessary to rearrange a day for matters outwith the organisers control and for this reason all walkers are advised to be prepared with appropriate clothing, equipment and meals as appropriate at all times.  All walks are subject to last minute change, including on a walk!  Wednesday and Thursday walks if changed will always be something of no more general or comparative difficulty than listed, but this does not apply to Tuesdays, where there is an expectation of general fitness, ability and willingness to cope with any conditions and terrain.  All walks will be undertaken within the approximate times advertised.



Please be considerate of others if you wish to smoke when on any of the walks, and also to avoid undue risk of fire.  We are of course a Health Walking Initiative so this could be a way of helping to give up the habit!




The Subscription year runs from 1st June to 31st May, though temporarily post pandemic this is suspended pending an operational review.


Easy Walks

A weekly charge of £5 is made.  This covers the cost of town hall hire, refreshments and hire of service coaches.  A loyalty card scheme has been introduced, do ten walks and get £3 off.  From time to time longer or more distant trips may be undertaken and the charge may then be varied depending on the cost of the buses.


Moderate and Advanced Walks

The costs of providing the additional facilities for the Moderate and Advanced walks involve running a minibus.  An annual participant subscription of £35 goes towards the fixed charges of this and runs from 1st June to 31st May in  the following year.  For joint (2 person) memberships the subscription is £50.  For each walk a fee of £5 per person is payable.  Special events and challenges will have a fee appropriate for the specific costs involved.  Charges are continually under review to cater for increased costs.  BaDNS works on a voluntary self-funded basis and therefore there is no scope or provision to subsidise our operations.



All of our walks are supervised by appropriately qualified leaders.  For Wednesdays these are people trained as a minimum to the Paths For All standard.  Most of whom will also have an up to date 2 day Outdoor First Aid certificate.  For all other walks supervision is to Summer Mountain Leader standard though Hill and Moorland Leader is an alternative depending on the location and route.  In winter conditions a Winter Mountain Leader will lead the walks.  All of our leaders are very experienced people and their advice should be adhered to, they are there for your safety.  Our principal leader also holds an Advanced Wilderness Medicine certificate, and is an accredited Mountain Training and National Navigation Awards provider.  All our walks are group activities, therefore everyone is expected to generally keep together.  If you wish to take an alternative route to the rest of the group and away from leader oversight please let the leader know.  This avoids disruption and a possible search being undertaken for missing members.  As such we may amend our objectives and change planned routes depending on the group as a whole.  If you wish to go and do your own thing, then please take part in walks organised by groups such as the Blairgowrie Hillwalking Club or Blairgowrie Ramblers.  One of the benefits of being supervised by accredited Mountain Leaders is that we can re-route or investigate interesting alternatives off and away from the planned route, and still be covered through our insurance.


Toilet Stops

Inevitably it will be necessary to relieve oneself when out in the wild.  All excreted waste can cause pollution and disease.  Do not urinate near water courses, which may feed private water supplies.  In particular if it is necessary to defecate in the outdoors a suitable hole should be dug approx 6" deep, with toilet tissue burnt and the ashes buried along with the waste preferably at least 100m from water and footpaths.  Personal sanitary materials must be taken away, and this includes faeces if they cannot be buried effectively.  Ziplock sandwich bags layered inside each other provide an effective means of carriage.  As usual hands should be washed afterwards - dry cleaning gels are suitable for this purpose and do not add further pollution to the environment.  As a last resort wet sphagnum moss (which is naturally antiseptic) can be used instead of tissue, but should also be buried!


Walk Numbers & Transport

For reasons of safety and logistics there are limited places on most walks, either on the service bus on a Wednesday or in the minibus on the other days.  It is essential therefore, that for any walks using transport you pre-book to avoid disappointment!  You are free to turn up on the off-chance but please note that the pre-booked places take priority.  If a booked space is not taken more than 3 times in succession then for subsequent bookings the name will be erased and will need to be re-booked.  This is particularly relevant for Thursday (Moderate) walks as they are increasingly popular and a 'no-show' prevents someone else taking part.


Walk Duration

Walks are planned in advance.  For the more advanced walks these are based on walking at around 4km/h (2½mph) and ascending at around 45secs to 1min per 10metres, with lunch and stopping  allowances, and estimated travel time to and from Blairgowrie.  However, for many reasons the return time can never be guaranteed.  Progress depends on the speed of the group, weather, number of stops for photographs, snacks, adjusting clothing, breathers, etc.  Please do not plan something based on the published return time without allowing for a late return.  Worrying about getting back in time makes the individuals and sometimes the rest of the group anxious and can often lead to accidents and problems through trying to rush.


Walk Grading and Difficulty

The Wednesday Easy walks are undertaken at a leisurely pace of around 2½ kph (1½ to 2 miles per hour) though this depends on the group.  The longer Wednesday walks and especially the other days will require an ability to maintain a speed of at around 4kph (2½mph), sometimes up to around 5kph (3mph).  Please see the grading discussion on the fitness note page.  Published distances, ascents and difficulty are for guidance only, if you have any queries about the walks or indeed any other matter please contact the organisers.  On occasions it may be necessary to negotiate stiles or gates some of which can be locked unexpectedly.  If any member of the group cannot negotiate these obstacles then an alternative route will be taken which may well add to the journey time.  Invariably members of the group assist each other so there is no reason to feel excluded or barred from participation.  The Advanced walks in particular but sometimes also Moderate will go across more uneven and rugged ground, including steep rough heather covered hills, deer fences, burns, on  occasions scree and boulders, and even ice and snow.  Advanced  walkers are expected to be prepared for more extreme weather conditions, as well as the terrain.  The Advanced  and Moderate walks will invariably go into 'unknown' terrain based on a map rather than a defined path, and participants on these walks must be prepared to extend their own boundaries!  The satisfaction of having done so significantly outweighs the exertion at the time.  Breathing heavily is a natural consequence of undertaking any exertion, and affects everybody - including the leaders!  The Moderate and Advanced walks are led by a qualified Mountain Leader (Summer or Winter as appropriate) so you are in safe and highly experienced hands.


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