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Hill-walking and stalking

Scotland has fantastic hill-walking opportunities, but summer and autumn are also important times for deer stalking, which supports the local economy and is essential for sustainable deer management. Here's some advice from the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to help you and land managers have a great day on the hill.

From 1st July to 20th October (the stag stalking season) you should:

  • take reasonable steps to find out where stalking is happening, such as looking at Heading for the Scottish Hills, or leaflets and signs;
  • follow reasonable requests on alternative routes on days stalking is taking place;
  • not cross land where stalking is taking place;
  • avoid wild camping where stalking is planned for the next day.

Land managers shouldn't make it unreasonably difficult for you to access the hills, such as asking you to keep to low ground, but estates can't always tell where they will be stalking so it's not always possible for land managers to provide precise daily information and to suggest alternative routes. Most estates won't know where they are stalking more than a couple of days beforehand. Some estates provide more general messages - such as asking you to follow particular routes to the summits during the stalking season. These requests aim to reach a compromise between the needs of hill-walkers and stalkers, but because they apply for more than a day, they may include some times and places where stalking is not actually happening. You'll need to judge whether such requests are reasonable, bearing in mind that stalking does not normally take place on Sundays.

Access to Scotland's hills  PDF document provides more detail on access rights and stalking.

If you feel that a land manager has given you unreasonable advice, you can report this to the local access officer. In the absence of stalking information, it is responsible for you to go ahead with your walk, but you may wish to help by using paths and following ridges. Take into account reasonable advice given once you have started your walk, such as on notice boards or given by a stalker.

Deer stalking also takes place in the hills during the hind season, from 21st October to 15th February and you should continue to follow reasonable requests, such as taking specific routes to hills on days when stalking is taking place.

Last updated on Friday 26th July 2013 at 12:55 PM. Click here to comment on this page