Access rights and driving advice
Scottish Outdoor Access Code
In Scotland, you can go on to most land to enjoy the outdoors – as long as you behave responsibly. This is known as Scottish access rights and is different to the position in England and Wales. When you are enjoying the outdoors, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Scottish access rights apply, for example, to hills and moors, forests and woods, beaches and the coast, rivers and lochs, parks and some types of farmland. There are also some common-sense exceptions, including houses and gardens, other buildings and their yards or compounds, school grounds and places which charge for entry. Access rights include things like walking, cycling, climbing, horse-riding, kayaking, swimming and watching wildlife, but do not include things like shooting, fishing or access with motor vehicles.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is based on three key principles:
Respect the interests of others
Care for the environment
Take responsibility for your own actions
Please read the full code here and be sure to keep the three principles in mind at all times when out enjoying our beautiful landscape.
Using single track roads
The Highlands have over 2500 miles of single track road and they go through some of our beautiful places. They can make for a very enjoyable journey if you follow some basic rules of the road:
1. Use the passing places to let oncoming cars pass. Also use them to let vehicles behind you pass you if they want.
In Scotland, we drive on the left hand side, so please ensure you always use the passing place on the left hand side to let someone pass. Or pause by a place on the right for the oncoming car to pull into. Plus remember to check your mirror frequently and if someone is close behind you, let them pass by pulling into one of the passing places – don’t leave it until they are flashing their lights and hooting their horn in frustration.
2. Don’t use the passing places for parking.
They are essential for passing, so don’t obstruct them. Though it is acceptable to stop briefly for photo or phone call taking. Some laybys are longer than normal passing places and usually this is the place to stop for picnics and driving breaks. Don’t try to use the verges to pull onto as they are almost always soft and squidgy and it is easy to get stuck and often makes a muddy mess all over the road.
3. Keep your speed down to safe levels.
The general speed limit is 60 miles per hour on these roads but that doesn’t mean it’s always safe to go that fast. There can be lots of wildlife around and unexpected tight bends so it is wise to err on the side on caution.