Latest news stories from ScotWays.

Cattle and public access rights

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There have been a number of incidents recently where walkers in the Pentland Hills have been injured by cattle. The public right of responsible access under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows access to fields where there is livestock, but some animals, particularly those with young, can react aggressively towards people. The Health & Safety Executive points out that the most common factors in incidents reported to them are cows with calves and walkers with dogs. Land managers should make every effort not to keep potentially aggressive animals in fields where members of the public regularly take access, and access takers should take heed of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

ScotWays AGM 2020

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This year our AGM was held virtually on Saturday 21 November 2020.  On this page, you will find information about the AGM along with any documentation you will need for the event.


To attend the AGM had to register in advance.   Only people who have registered were able to attend.  Once your registration had been accepted you were sent an email with joining details.  It was needed to join us on the day.

AGM Links:

At our AGM there were some links posted that people wanted to have available after the event.  They were:

Our fundraising campaign: Raise £175 for our 175th

Our Law Guide author, Malcolm Combe wrote about "Wild" Camping.

Pentland Hill Regional Park proposed management changes consultation

The Next Small Grants Scheme Deadline

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The next deadline for our small grants scheme is 31st December.

The ScotWays small grants scheme aims to help organisations fund a project up to 50% of the total budget for the project.

The scheme will award grants of between £500 and £1,500. It is hoped that this might enable organisations to achieve the completion of a community-based/access-related project which might not otherwise be able to proceed.

Applicant organisations should be members of ScotWays.

For further details please visit our downloads page.

Camping and public access rights

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Scotland’s access rights extend to camping, so long as it’s done responsibly. With the easing of lockdown this summer, we are seeing increased numbers of people camping outwith formal campsites. What can we all do to ensure that camping takes place in a responsible manner?

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says:

  • Wild camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and for up to 2 or 3 nights only in one place.
  • Do not camp in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals.
  • Camp well away from buildings, roads or historic structures.
  • Leave no trace; take away all litter, remove all traces of your pitch and don’t cause pollution.

In relation to lighting fires, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code says:

  • Wherever possible, use a stove rather than an open fire.
  • If lighting an open fire, keep it small, under control and supervised
  • Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods, and heed all advice at times of high risk
  • Never light an open fire in forests, woods or on peaty ground
  • Never light an open fire near to buildings or cultural heritage sites
  • Ensure any fire is properly extinguished and remove all traces before you leave.

There has been a lot of recent press coverage about dirty camping, but it is important to remember that Scotland’s access rights do not permit this anti-social behaviour. People who behave in this way do not have access rights and their actions can be dealt with under existing legislation. Mountaineering Scotland has launched a Considerate Camping Campaign to help people consider the impacts of camping, both individually and cumulatively. Their website also provides practical guidance on how to be a responsible camper.

Malcolm Combe, author of the ScotWays Guide to the Law of Access to Land in Scotland, has written a Strathclyde Law Blog article on camping and public access rights.

The 2020 'Virtual' AGM - Saturday 21 November 2020

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The Board has taken the decision that because of the pandemic, this year's AGM will be held virtually using Zoom.

The date has been adjusted from that shown in the Newsletter and the AGM will be held on:

Saturday 21 November 2020.

There will still be a speaker and full details will be sent out with the Annual Report later this year.

Phase 2 of Lockdown Easing and Outdoor Access

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We are now in Phase 2 with more freedoms and best of all, the ability to travel further for leisure activities.  In using the new freedom remember that the Coronavirus is still active and you will need to take precautions.  Whilst local shops may be open, other facilities such as toilets, cafes, pubs, restaurants and cafes are still restricted.  Check before you go to see what is available at or near your destination.

Social distancing is still critical so keep up to date with the latest requirements in the Scottish Government guidance document Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)  In all cases, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code on your outdoor journey.