Scotland has had a long-standing tradition of access to open country, however from February 2005, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code came into operation.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code sets out your access rights and responsibilities and allows everyone to enjoy a statutory right of responsible access under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This legislation doesn't just cover walking but also other activities such as canoeing, horse riding, wild camping and mountain biking and potentially gives Scotland the best framework for access in Europe.
Know the Code before you go
Everyone has the right to be on most land and water in Scotland. These access rights and responsibilities are explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The key things to remember are:
- Take personal responsibility for your own actions and act safely
- Respect people's privacy and peace of mind
- Help land managers and others to work safely and effectively
- Care for your environment, take your litter home and don't disturb wildlife
- Keep your dog under proper control
- Take extra care if you’re organising an event or running a business.
If you're managing the outdoors
- Respect access rights
- Act reasonably when asking people to avoid land management operations
- Work with your local authority and others to help integrate access and land management
- Respect rights of way and customary access.
Deer stalking season
There is a particular need to cooperate with land managers during the deer stalking season. There should be no need for a total ban on access during the stalking period - alternative access should almost always be available to the same destination.
Head for the Scottish Hills (HFTSH) web service provides more information on deer stalking activities including maps of the areas covered. In addition, deer stalking activities are not normally carried out on a Sunday.