Outdoor Access, advice from the Council - 25/09/2006
Each year Tiree seems to be busier than the year before especially with
campers and motor homes. This has evolved during the time that the
government has been addressing access to land throughout the UK.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 was enacted and came into
force on 9 February 2005. The Act established a statutory right of
responsible access to land and inland waters for outdoor recreation,
crossing land, and some educational and commercial purposes. It may
therefore be of interest to both land owners and the general public as
to what it all means.
Access rights cover many activities e.g. picnicking, photography'
sightseeing, walking, cycling, riding, canoeing, wild camping, taking
part in recreational and educational events or simply going from one
place to another. Remember these access rights DO NOT apply to any
kind of motorized activity (unless for disabled access). Access rights
can be exercised over most of Scotland through farmland and field
margins to the beaches and lochs. However, access rights don't apply
everywhere, such as in buildings or their immediate surroundings, or
in houses or their gardens, or most land in which crops are growing.
The Act establishes a statutory right to camp and the Scottish Outdoor
Access Code describes the responsibilities and best practice guidance
that should be followed when exercising your right to camp wild.
('Wild camping' is up to three nights camping). A section in the
Trespass (Scotland) Act 1865, which contained an offence of camping
on land without the consent of the owner or occupier, has been
repealed via Schedule 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The
2003 Act confims that camping is a lawful activity when done by a
person in the exercise of the access rights created by the Land Reform
Act. Camping outwith the provisions of the Act is still legal if the
consent of the owner is granted. Tacit permission can be assumed in
areas where camping has previously taken place without complaint
from the land owner however the erection of a 'No Camping' sign
would remove this permission and the provisions of the 2003 Act
would have to be adhered to.
DRIVING ON MACHAIR
It is an offence to drive elsewhere than on a road without lawful
authority. Subject to certain provisions, section 34 of the Road Traffic
Act 1988 states: if without lawful authority a person drives a motor
vehicle on to or upon any common land, moorland or land of any other
description, not being land forming part of a road, or on any road
being a footpath or bridieway, he is guilty of an offence. However it
is not an offence to drive a motor vehicle on any land within fifteen
yards of a road, being a road on which a motor vehicle may lawfully
be driven, for the purpose only of parking the vehicle on that land.
Again it would be reasonable to assume tacit permission where
driving has previously went unchallenged.
Access rights come with responsibilities though the main thing is to
use common sense and take responsibility for you own actions.
Follow any reasonable advice and respect the needs of other people
enjoying or working in the outdoors. You can also help by: leaving
gates as you find them; not blocking or obstructing an entrance or
track; looking for alternative routes before entering a field with
animals, using field margins, or by going over ground that hasn't been
planted. It's important that you follow any reasonable advice and
information; take your litter home; treat places with care and leave
them as you find them. Don't recklessly disturb or intentionally
damage wildlife or historic places.
Keep your dog under close control. There is no legal definition of
'close control' however, the Code defines 'under close control' to
mean that your dog responds to your commands and is kept close at
heel, If he can lie down or return to you on command, your dog would
then be under close control. If you're not sure your dog can do this the
responsible thing is to keep him on a short lead. (A short lead is a lead
under 2 metres long). It's very important that your dog doesn't worry
livestock. Don't let it into fields with calves or lambs, and keep it on
a short lead or under close control when you're in a field with other
If you own or manage land you need to think about the needs of people
enjoying the outdoors. You need to respect access rights. Access
rights extend to most of Tiree so don't unreasonably obstruct people
on your land or water. Only lock gates when it's essential for animal
health or safety and don't put a fence across a path without putting in
a gate to allow access. Act reasonably when asking people to avoid a
particular area whilst you're working - People respond best to polite
and reasonable requests, so keep safety measures in place for the
minimum time, tell people about alternative routes and explain why
the original route shouldn't be used.
Find out more about your access rights and responsibilities by picking
up the Scottish Outdoor Access Code or visiting www.outdooraccess-
scotland.com. If you would like to have a copy of the full Code phone
Scottish Natural Heritage (01738 458545) or email pubs "at" snh.gov.uk.
If you are having access problems - get in touch with myself or
Douglas Grierson, Access Offficer
Argyll & Bute Council,
Development Services, Kilmory Lochgilphead Argyll PA31 8RT Tel:
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