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Snowsports touring access under COVID

Tuesday 9th February 2021, 1:44pm

With the weather patterns set from the north and east this week, it looks like the wintry conditions will linger and snow will cover the high ground in Scotland for a while yet.  And with the Scottish ski resorts closed under COVID guidelines, many people will instead be looking for a local slide this winter.

It has been great to see the pictures of people getting out to enjoy some fantastic Scottish conditions and ski and snowboard in places they normally might not go to, but which are still accessible under the current travel restrictions.

However, Mountaineering Scotland has been monitoring and responding to access concerns for walkers, climbers and snowsports tourers under the lockdown, and highlights recent reports from parts of southern Scotland where people skiing on their local hills have been challenged and told that skiing on private land is not allowed. 

We would like to reassure anyone considering taking part in snowsports in their local area that this activity is acceptable under Scotland’s access rights, as long as you do it responsibly.

For peace of mind, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code specifically mentions ski touring in section 2.7 , included in a range of active pursuits;  it is a considered to be a ‘recreational purpose’ covered by the access rights and we have taken the opportunity to raise this with the local access officer in areas where issues have been reported.

Our access rights do come with responsibilities though, which are very often the application of common sense: avoid damage and disturbance to walls, fences and gates, trees, and livestock – particularly sheep as we approach lambing season. Importantly, be careful of where and how you park your vehicle.

Local residents and landowners need access to their property, so please be careful not to block gates and entryways, tracks and narrow roads. Be prepared to alter your plans if your chosen destination looks busy or parking is difficult.

Not every hill with snow coverage is suitable for snowsports touring, so make sure you are ready to take on the challenges – Mountaineering Scotland provides helpful tips in our #ThinkWINTER section.  And of course, be sure that you read and follow our latest advice for climbers and hillwalkers as well as the current public health guidance on travel restrictions

Our advice is to keep it local.


For more information on snowsport touring join our Ski Touring Live Q&A on Facebook at 7pm on Thursday 11th February.

Mountaineering Scotland COVID guidance for mountaineers

ThinkWINTER – enjoying the outdoors safely this winter

Photo by Alistair Todd


Mountaineering Scotland is the representative organisation for Scotland's hill walkers, indoor and outdoor climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers, with nearly 15,000 members and 160 affiliated clubs.

Become a member and support our campaigns on the issues that matter including access, conservation of mountain areas and mountain safety.

Membership is excellent value at less than £3 a month for adults, and includes insurance, a range of member discounts and offers, access to great value mountain skills courses, quarterly Scottish Mountaineer magazine and more. 

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