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Rennie McOwan

RENNIE McOwan was one of the foundation blocks of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, the legislation which gave Scotland some of the finest access legislation in the world.

Today's generation of hillgoers owe much to the campaigning efforts of Rennie who was advising politicians and landowners forty years ago that the traditional de facto rights we had in Scotland since time immemorial should be codified and legislated for.

This didn't always sit well with the land-owning fraternity and in particular the National Trust for Scotland, but such was Rennie's kindly and gentle nature, and such was his perseverance, that eventually the Trust began to listen to him and create policies regarding their mountain owning interests that were in accord with Rennie's recommendations.

One particular aspect of this advice was the recognition of the importance of the Unna Rules. Percy Unna was a benefactor who left his Glen Coe properties to the Trust on his death, provided the Trust followed a set of environmental rules.

In 2003 I was delighted to hand over the reigns of the Presidency of Ramblers Scotland to Rennie so that he would be President during the year of the Scottish access legislation becoming law. This was in recognition of his huge contribution to access campaigning. In terms of campaigning for a freedom to roam and land reform Rennie McOwan was a giant.

On a personal note I have always been indebted to Rennie for so willingly and generously sharing his immense knowledge of Scottish mountaineering, history, folklore and culture.

He was a kind and generous man by nature and his regular encouragement and inspiration to me, from my days as a young and wet-behind-the-ears journalist, were a much valued and appreciated contribution to any success I may have enjoyed as an outdoor writer and television presenter.

Rennie McOwan will be remembered as an excellent journalist, mountaineer, historian, environmental campaigner and a true son of Scotland.

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