While Scotland's access laws offer the freedom to explore our hills, mountains and crags, responsibly, you may occasionally come across problems while out walking or
We are here to help advise you how to resolve any unreasonable infringements on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, while building up a picture of recurring issues and seeking to improve matters alongside our partners at a national level. We rely on our members to keep us informed while they are out on the hill, so keep a look out and get in touch!
Typical access restrictions that you may come across include locked gates, unhelpful or intimidating signs, poorly maintained or dangerous bridges, fallen trees or paths closed by construction works.
Every Scottish Local Authority and National Park has the duty to “uphold access rights by asserting, protecting and keeping open and free from obstruction or encroachment any route or other means by which people exercise access rights.” (Scottish Outdoor Access Code).
Each Scottish Local Authority and National Park has a Local Access Officer whose role it is to uphold access rights and facilitate access. In the first instance, any problems that you come across should be reported to the Local Access Officer. They may also know if others have come across the same problem and will seek to resolve the matter.
In some situations where a dispute cannot be resolved, the matter may be referred to the Local Access Forum for further advice and dispute resolution. The Local Access Forums (LAF) bring together all key local interests including landowners and managers, user groups and public bodies. Your Local Access Officer will know when your local forum meets.
We have a part-time Access Officer who specialises in access matters relating to hill walking, climbing or snowsport touring/mountaineering. They can give a range of advice on access in Scotland's hills and mountains. They also represent Mountaineering Scotland at the National Access Forum and the Scottish Sports Association's Outdoor Pursuits Group.
If you encounter a problem relating to these activities, raise it with the relevant Local Access Officer and please also copy us in so we can ensure the issue is resolved and build a picture of problematic themes to address at a national level.