Responsible Enjoyment: Love Nature, Love Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park, as with much of the rest of Scotland, benefits from the country’s world-leading public access legislation, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This means that anyone who wishes to visit the vast majority of the Cairngorms’ hills and mountains, valleys and glens, forests and woods, moors and waters, has the right to do so.

This covers all activities such as walking, cycling, running, paddling, and even wild camping, and is commonly known as ‘the right to roam‘. More accurately though, it is the right of responsible access for users; for as Peter Parker’s uncle said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

These rights of responsible access are covered under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

So when enjoying the special and beautiful, and also often fragile natural environment of the Cairngorms National Park, it is always the personal responsibility of the user to behave responsibly. These responsibilities are easily summed up under three key principles:

1)    Take responsibility for your own actions

For example, research in advance and prepare accordingly; take care to keep yourself and your group members safe, especially children; be aware of your surroundings and the weather, especially if changeable, so you can assess and avoid any potential risks.  

2)    Respect the interests of other people

Be aware of other users – walkers, cyclists, paddlers, horse riders, farmers, gamekeepers, forestry workers etc – and give each other due consideration and space; avoid damaging farmers’ fields of crops, or disturbing livestock; stay clear of land management and forestry operations, taking note of relevant signage / instruction; keep quiet in peaceful surroundings and at night; leave gates as you find them; take care to camp only in safe and appropriate places.

3)    Care for the environment 

Avoid pollution and any physical actions that could harm wildlife or the natural environment; be mindful to avoid disturbing or startling wildlife, including keeping quiet, and choosing to use existing made paths and trails; carry out all litter, including toileting responsibly and not leaving any waste sanitary products; keep dogs under close control, especially during the April to August ground nesting season, and scoop their poop; aim to leave no trace of your visit.

Ed Byrne, comedian & lover of the Cairngorms National Park talks about the special natural environment of the Cairngorms, & our collective responsibility to help protect it whilst we enjoy Scotland’s world-leading rights of responsible access.

In the two short videos below, Ed Byrne shares further insight about the risks associated with lighting fires, and why it is preferable to use a self-contained gas stove for cooking; along with the responsibilities of having a dog with you when out and about in the Cairngorms.

Further information to guide nature-friendly decision-making whilst enjoying the Cairngorms National Park, can be found in this practical guide to a range of everyday situations.

Retriever by Morlich

Dog Friendly Cairngorms

Click below for more on how to ensure you and your four legged friend are having fun, while also protecting the National Park

#VisitCairngorms to join locals and visitors on their own journey of discovery!

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