Championing your access rights

Etive Gate unlocked by Mike Dales

We are passionate about safeguarding your right to enjoy, roam, scramble and climb on Scottish hills and crags. We speak up for walkers and climbers on a range of access issues, while working with conservationists to safeguard wildlife too.

Scottish outdoor access rights and responsibilities

The right to access most of Scotland's land and inland water, including mountains, moorland, woods and forests, grassland, fields, rivers and lochs, coastal areas, most parks and open spaces, golf courses (to cross them); day and night, is enshrined in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Guidance on how to act respectfully and responsibly is given in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Our Access and Conservation Officer represents mountaineering interests on the National Access Forum, helping ensure the legislation works at both a national strategic level and on the ground across Scotland.

When problems arise...

Sadly, these rights are sometimes challenged by land owners and managers, and it is up to us as walkers and climbers to report these issues when we encounter them. 

The duty to uphold access rights is given to Scotland's 32 local authorities and two national park authorities. Many of these have set up at least one Local Access Forum (LAF) to advise on access issues in their area, coordinated by Local Access Officers. 

You should report access problems directly to the Local Access Officers, but copy in our Access and Conservation Officer who will also take action if necessary and has a good picture of access issue hotspots which we can escalate at a national level. 


Access to Glen Strathfarrar

MCofS members wishing to access to the hills around Glen Strathfarrar in the winter can gain vehicular access to the 17-mile private road under arrangements negotiated by us.

Deer stalking season

The deer stalking season between July and October impacts on access to many popular hillwalking and climbing routes. The best way to get up to date information about this is via the Heading for the Scottish Hills website.  

Nesting bird updates and advice

Plants and animals are an integral part of our enjoyment and experience of a mountain or a crag. We work closely with land managers and conservationists to ensure that we cause minimal disturbance at sensitive times of the year, especially when birds are nesting.