‘Respect, Protect and Enjoy’ Scotland’s countryside safely

23 April 2021

People heading out to enjoy Scotland’s parks, beaches and countryside as lockdown lifts are being urged to respect nature and other people by following three simple principles.

Scotland’s environment agencies – including NatureScot, Visit Scotland, Forestry & Land Scotland and the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Parks – are urging everyone to follow the three simple principles behind the Scottish Outdoor Access Code: ‘care for the environment’; ‘respect the interests of others’; and ‘be responsible for your own actions’.

Record numbers are expected to enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors and nature again this year as lockdown eases ahead of a second holiday season - many for the first time.

Our world-famous Scottish Outdoor Access Rights are dependent on us all behaving responsibly when we’re out and about. Antisocial and irresponsible behaviour by a small minority of visitors in 2020 had a big impact on nature, local people and other visitors.  

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot Chief Executive, said:

“We firmly believe that the vast majority of people visiting Scotland’s outdoors just want to have a great time, and enjoy our fantastic scenery and wildlife without harming nature or spoiling the adventure for others. Many people may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities, or how their actions can affect nature, local communities and other visitors.

“Last year’s scenes of abandoned campsites, burned out trees, human waste and litter, were totally unacceptable and a blight on Scotland’s reputation. Our campaign is asking all outdoors visitors to respect other people; protect the environment, and enjoy responsibly.”

Grant Moir, Chief Executive at the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the Cairngorms National Park. We have an excellent team of both CNPA Rangers and partner services working on the ground to help people enjoy their visit in a way that supports local communities and businesses and protects our wildlife and habitats from harm.”

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “It has been great to welcome visitors from further afield back to the National Park now that travel restrictions have lifted and I want to thank everyone who has enjoyed the Park responsibly for playing their part in protecting this special place.

“The high volume of visitors we are now experiencing does bring with it challenges and while we have additional resources in place, we need everyone who visits the Park to play their part. Litter, fly-tipping and human waste cause real problems for wildlife and spoil the natural beauty that draws people here. We will continue to encourage visitors to plan ahead and to leave nothing behind after their trip.”

FLS Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson, said;  

“After what has been a very challenging year for us all, we know that across the country, people are champing at the bit to get back to enjoying Scotland’s unmatched tourism offering. We’re pulling out all the stops to help everyone enjoy a great visit and the chance to breathe deep of some fresh air. 

“But making sure that everyone enjoys a great day out is down to each and every one of us. We, like many other landowners, faced significant challenges last year and we hope that this summer everyone is more aware that while Scotland is for everyone to enjoy, it is also up to everyone to respect and protect.  

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone back!” 

The latest campaign advice includes:

  • Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – you have rights but also responsibilities too.
  • Plan in advance for your trip. Some places might be busy so have a backup plan ready.
  • Go’ before you go as toilets might not be open. If you are on a longer trip, be prepared to take any waste home with you.
  • Be kind to nature and each other. Litter is dangerous for wildlife – make sure to take it all away with you.
  • Bag it AND bin it - finish the jobbie. Take it home when bins aren’t available.
  • Paths are shared with others. Be prepared to slow down to let others pass safely.
  • Remember physical distancing when outdoors. Be respectful of people working outdo
  • Avoid the crowds - if it looks too busy it is too busy.

You can download the campaign images here.

Visit the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website.