Right of Responsible Access
As John Muir said
‘Leave only footprints, take only photographs’
Scotland’s outdoors provides great opportunities for open-air recreation and education, with great benefits for people’s enjoyment, and their health and well-being. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 ensures everyone has statutory access rights to most of Scotland’s outdoors, if these rights are exercised responsibly, with respect for people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and for Scotland’s environment. Equally, land managers have to manage their land and water responsibly in relation to access rights.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on these responsibilities. The Code provides a practical guide to help everyone make informed decisions about what best to do in everyday situations, and provides the starting point for short promotional codes and more detailed advice about land and inland water.
Principles – the Code is based on three key principles:
• Respect the interests of other people.
Acting with courtesy, consideration and awareness is very important. If you are exercising access rights, make sure that you respect the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living or working in the outdoors, and the needs of other people enjoying the outdoors. If you are a land manager, respect people’s use of the outdoors and their need for a safe and enjoyable visit.
• Care for the environment.
If you are exercising access rights, look after the places you visit and enjoy, and leave the land as you find it. If you are a land manager, help maintain the natural and cultural features which make the outdoors attractive to visit and enjoy. Take litter away with you (and if you are a long way from a toilet, bury any waste)
• Take responsibility for your own actions. If you are exercising access rights, remember that the outdoors cannot be made risk-free and act with care at all times for your own safety and that of others. If you are a land manager, act with care at all times for people’s safety.
• Keep your dog under proper control – dogs are popular companions, but take special care if near livestock, or during the bird breeding season, and always pick up after your dog.
• Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business – eg talk to the managers of any land which you may plan to use intensively or regularly.
Access rights generally include wild camping – that is the right to pitch a tent and stay overnight. Obviously, you are expected to be discreet about this: you wouldn’t camp close to someone’s house and most people would consider it ill mannered to wild camp where a campsite was available nearby.
The exception is within some areas of the Local Lomond and Trossachs National Park where wild camping requires a permit and there are specifically allocated sites. Information on the restrictions is available at https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/camping/news/controversial-loch-lomond-camping-ban-comes-into-effect
Vehicles aren’t covered by wild camping permission but overnight parking in lay-bys and in some pub car parks (on the understanding that food and drink are purchased) is widely accepted. Official campsite visits will be necessary to dispose of wastes and top up water. Just be sensitive to residents and careful of the environment including often fragile vegetation.
You can download the Outdoor Access Code in various formats from http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/
‘Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints’
You might also wish to see the advice in