Heading for the hills ?

Taking a walk in the Scottish hills is one of life’s great pleasures for many of us. But we’d like to give you a friendly reminder that with the some of the best public access laws in the world in Scotland comes some responsibility as well. Fiona Cuninghame, of our Access and Recreation team, explains how to get the most from the Heading for the Hills website.

Upland landscape in the Glenshee hills.

Upland landscape in the Glenshee hills.

‘Heading for the Scottish Hills’ website helps you find out where deer stalking is taking place on participating estates over the busy stag stalking season (1st July to 20th October). This helps you to plan routes which minimise the chance of disturbing stalking, in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.  But, luckily, it isn’t much of a chore with the Heading for the Scottish Hills website, which is a quick and easy way to check that you won’t disturb deer stalking.

The service covers over 70 estates in popular hill walking areas, mainly in the Cairngorms National Park, the Breadalbane area and on the west coast. Most estates begin stalking in August and September.

Family hillwalking on an upland footpath

Family hillwalking on an upland footpath

You can find general information about stalking on all participating estates and contact details for further information at www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/hftsh. Some estates provide detailed information on the site up to a week in advance, describing where and when stalking will take place, as well as suggested walking routes. There is also information about responsible behaviour for land managers and walkers.

The service, started five years ago, has received positive feedback from walkers and has demonstrated that there is demand for the service from both walkers and land managers.

We’re working with partners to consider how we can re-design the system to make it more user-friendly and cover a larger area, and are hoping to launch a new, improved service in 2015.

The website helps walkers follow the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to try and find out where stag stalking is taking place because it was not always easy to find out who to contact. The Code also encourages walkers:

  • to follow reasonable alternative routes on days when stalking is taking place
  • not to cross land where stalking is taking place
  • to avoid wild camping where stalking is planned for the next day
Hillwalker in Glenshee,

Hillwalker in Glenshee,

The web page takes its name from the ‘Heading for the Scottish Hills’ book, which was a collaboration between landowners and mountaineers. It was published between 1988 and 1996. For the first time, this book provided hill walkers with an easy way to identify and contact participating estates to find out where stalking was taking place.

 Find out more @ www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/hftsh

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