Now that the brighter weather has arrived, it’s the ideal time to get outdoors and enjoy the Scottish countryside. But before you grab your walking shoes / bike / dog / kids / tent / other half (add or delete as appropriate!) it’s important to know what your rights and responsibilities are when you’re exploring Scotland’s beautiful landscapes.
We’re lucky to enjoy some of the best access rights in the world, meaning that you have the right to be on most land and inland water in Scotland, as long as you act responsibly. In this blog we take a look at what acting responsibly means for some of the more common outdoor pursuits in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
What is the Scottish Outdoor Access Code?
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code (or SOAC for short) is a lengthy document which details your rights and responsibilities for enjoying the outdoors safely. Both land owners and managers, as well as land users are covered by the code. However, breaking it down, the code covers 3 main areas –
- Respecting the interests of others
- Caring for the environment
- Taking responsibility for your own actions
Let’s explore these 3 main areas in more detail below and find out what you can do to make sure you’re following the code when out and about in the Scottish countryside.
Respecting the interests of others
To respect the interests of others when exploring Scotland’s natural beauty, consider these tip tips –
- Respect other people’s privacy at all times.
- Don’t act in ways that will annoy or disrespect people, for example, being noisy or inappropriate.
- Keep noise levels to a minimum at night.
- Help land managers work safely and effectively by keeping clear of activities such as harvesting, tree felling, crop growing, or animal gathering.
- Leave gates the way you found them.
- Adhere to signage posted by land managers such as Do Not Feed The Animals.
Caring for the environment
Caring for the environment ensures that future generations will also be able to benefit from all that Scotland has to offer. Here are our top tips for caring for the environment –
- Don’t disturb the local wildlife including all land, water and air creatures.
- Don’t interrupt or cause damage to flora such as plants, trees and flowers.
- Don’t cause harm to any cultural heritage sites, or naturally occurring structures.
- Leave the natural environment as you found it, for example, take any litter with you when you leave.
Taking responsibility for your own actions
When exploring the great outdoors, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions, as there are many risks to being outdoors. Take care of yourself and others with these tips –
- Care for your own safety – be alert and pay attention when navigating difficult or unfamiliar terrain.
- Watch out for hazards such as uneven ground, obstacles, or wildlife.
- Take special care with children – consider a buggy if the landscape permits, or a harness or carrier if a buggy isn’t possible.
- If you’re walking a dog, ensure you pick up after it and be careful near livestock or during breeding times.
Can I download the full Scottish Outdoor Access Code?
Yes. There are specific parts of the code which will be relevant to particular activities, for instance, camping, cycling, fishing, hillwalking, water sports. So before setting out on an adventure, make sure you know your rights and responsibilities.
You can download the full Scottish Outdoor Access Code here.
If you’re planning on exploring the Scottish countryside, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is the ideal destination. Cameron Lodges is a self-catering resort on the western shores of Loch Lomond, with a range of lodges, cottages and apartments for rent. We offer 3 & 4 night short break packages for up to 8 people, to allow you to explore Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and make the most of our lochside location.
Find out more about our self-catering accommodation options below –