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Police are investigating damage to signs at Nairn Golf Club which prohibit cyclists from using a coastal path beside the course or cycling on the course itself

By Donald Wilson

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POLICE are investigating damage to signs at Nairn Golf Club which prohibit cyclists from using a coastal path beside the course or cycling on the course itself.

The signs were erected in June in response to an upsurge in the number of walkers and cyclists using the route and paths through the course during lockdowns.

The club cited safety concerns, including the risk of people being struck by golf balls, but the signage received a hostile reception on social media, with some members of the public saying the notices had no authority and calling on people simply to ignore them.

The club, however, says authorities including Highland Council’s access officer were consulted before the signs were erected after consultation and they are in accordance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Golf club chief executive Colin Sinclair said: “One of the signs was removed on September 3 and five more were removed on the 22nd. We have reported the matter to the police.

“It’s very disappointing because this is all about public safety and we have a duty of care to our members as well as the public who use the access paths on the course.

“Walkers and cyclists can use the path as long as they don’t interfere with people playing on the course.

“Cyclists are not only using the paths, they are cycling on the course itself and putting themselves at risk.

“We experienced a huge increase in the number of people walking and cycling across the course since the start of lockdown and, with guidance from the Highland Council, introduced new signage to help people stay safe and to know how to avoid interrupting golf at play.

“Walkers and cyclists have been accessing the golf course; interrupting play and, most importantly, unwittingly putting themselves at risk of serious personal injury. “

And he added: “Golfers and the public have been struck and injured by golf balls in the past at Nairn.

“The number of ‘near misses’ has increased dramatically over the last 12 months and, as a responsible landowner, Nairn Golf Club is keen to do all we can to minimise this risk.

“The club is promoting the message of informed, safe and responsible access to help improve awareness of the dangers of accessing golf courses.

“The club is aware that cyclists have been riding their bikes over the course and putting themselves at risk of serious personal injury and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code highlights cyclists are not permitted to cycle across the golf course when there are no paths.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland confirmed: “Around 4.15pm on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 police were called to a report that a number of sign posts had been either removed or vandalised at Nairn Golf Course.

“Enquiries are continuing.”

The course is ranked 35 out of Scotland’s top 100 courses and regularly attracts celebrity golfers.

It has been the venue for the Curtis Cup, Walker Cup and the British Amateur Championships.

READ: Highland teacher John Naples-Campbell, depute head teacher at Glen Urquhart High School, wins educator of the year at the Proud Scotland Awards

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