Threatened on the hill in Scotland? Call the police

Posted by Carey Davies on 19/11/2013
People have a right of responsible access to most land in Scotland

Outdoor bodies in Scotland have advised walkers and climbers to notify the police if faced with threats or intimidation by landowners.

BMC sister body the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and Ramblers Scotland have joined forces to recommend the course of action.

Andrea Partridge, Access Officer for the MCofS, said: “If anyone feels they have been intimidated or threatened while exercising their statutory rights of access, they should report the incident immediately to the police by calling 101.

“They should make a note of the time and location of the incident, individual’s names if appropriate, and vehicle registration numbers.”

The MCofS urged walkers and climbers to remain calm if faced with aggressive land managers.

Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, people have a right of access to most land and inland water in Scotland, so long as they act responsibly as detailed in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Landowners should respect these access rights when managing their land or water and act reasonably when asking people to avoid land management operations. They are also expected to cooperate with their local authority and other bodies to help integrate access and land management.

Andrea added: “By far the majority of landowners in Scotland welcome access on their land and respect the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the law. However, unfortunately, there are a few who are not so welcoming hence the advice to report incidents to the police.”

Her comments were backed by Helen Todd, Campaigns and Policy Manager for Ramblers Scotland, who said: “Our rights of public access are world-renowned.

“Many walkers feel passionate about protecting their right to roam but they should nevertheless remain calm if faced with an aggressive land manager who is trying to prevent them walking on their land.

“Walkers can choose to continue on their route or take account of any reasonable advice on an alternative, but they should report any intimidation to the police in the first instance, and also to the Ramblers or MCofS.”

Not all access problems require police involvement. Normal access problems should be reported to the Local Access Officer, who will be contactable through the relevant local authority or national park authority.



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