“The Right to Roam” a right we take for granted in Scotland. Patagonia film sums it up. The Mountain Bothies Association.


That great company Patagonia a hugely environmentally friendly company have helped made a great wee video about a trip to Scotland in winter by some snowboarders from the USA . It really tugs at my heart strings and is so powerful especially the thoughts of the young Scots lassie they meet who takes them to a bothy on the West Coast of Scotland . She clearly loves Scotland the wild places and the incredible access we have and speaks so passionately about what we have. I feel like her at times so few recognise what this Access means!


Our history from the Clans, the Clearances and the misuse of the land by the rich and powerful gives many a real interest in who own the land nowadays. Sadly most of our land is owned by private individuals and yet since 2003 we have the right to roam based on responsible access. I feel that this is one of the greatest things we have and our history of a nation has allowed us to be many years ahead of our neighbours! When you visit South and see the “Private Keep out” the Trespass notices it is another world to me. I am so proud of what we have achieved. The feeling of being able to leave your transport and get out in the hills and wild land as roam as we feel but with this comes responsibility. We must ensure that we treat the land with respect and look after it and ensure that those who fought for this access are never forgotten. The Land Reform Act is not perfect but will improve with careful monitoring and judgement by all concerned.

In my days with the RAF Mountain Rescue we had to plan our weekends in advance and work with all the Estates in Scotland. We had to seek permission every weekend and built up some great relationships with the Estates mainly with the Head Keepers. We stayed in many of the Estates like Beinn Alder Lodge in the Garages,Glen Affric in the White bothy to camping in many restricted Glens. We also had access up many of the tracks, at times we had problems this was not with the keepers but with the landowners who at times were prickly. We were sensible when the stalking was on and kept away but many of the keepers became friends and I learnt a lot about the land and its uses in this period.   I was amazed by how the Right to Roam had achieved there must have been some interesting work done to get the Access we all enjoy.

Please if you can watch the wee film it is a great insight into what we have and take for granted. Tell your kids as you are out walking,  cycling, swimming and do so many things in the wild places how privileged we all are. Never take it for granted.

Alex Yoder, Lauren MacCallum, Marie-France Roy and friend meet and the video is incredible. They are in the  Scottish Highlands before snowboarding the next day.

There are approximately 500 bothies scattered across Scotland, maintained by volunteers and used by rambling travelers who need shelter from the wet, cold climate. See more from this trip in our short video Right to Roam. WADE DUNSTAN

(These bothies are run by the Mountain Bothies Association and rely on donations to exist, why not join the MBA and help keep this wonderful tradition alive. ) https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/

Subscriptions  Our full membership subscription is £25 per year. A reduced rate of £15 applies to junior members (under 16), the unwaged and to all members aged 65 and over.

The membership year runs from 1 January to 31 December. However, if you join on or after 1 July, your fee in the first year is approximately 50% of the full year amount. While our preferred method of payment is by electronic means, we understand that some may wish to pay by cheque. If paying this way, please remember to post your cheque to the membership office as soon as possible after you have submitted your online Join form. Please note that it could take around two weeks between submitting an application to join the MBA and receiving the membership pack.

Click here to join us


The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (which came into force in 2005) gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water throughout Scotland, subject to specific exclusions set out in the Act and as long as they behave responsibly. These rights are sometimes referred to as ‘freedom to roam’.

Welcome to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website

This is the place to find out more about everyone’s access rights and responsibilities in Scotland’s outdoors. Access rights in Scotland apply to most land and inland water.

If you’re a member of the public wanting to enjoy some fresh air in a local park, or a dog walker, hill walker, mountain biker, horse rider or kayaker, there is information for you and much more.

Scotland’s outdoors is managed by a variety of people and organisations and many of them earn their living from the land. It is all of our responsibilities to respect each other’s activities and interests in the outdoors. Please look after this great right of Access and ensure those who follow us have the privileged are prepared to look after it and educate others.

We have done some things right in this great country!

Norman MacCaig – Man in Assynt

“Who owns this landscape? —
The millionaire who bought it or
the poacher staggering downhill in the early morning
with a deer on his back?

Who possesses this landscape? —
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?”


About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Bothies, Charity, Enviroment, Films, Friends, Gear, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

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