Hillwalkers are being encouraged to check online for deer stalking information before setting out during the busiest part of the season.
NatureScot manages the Heading for the Scottish Hills website which provides details on deer stalking on estates between July and late October to help walkers avoid disturbing stalking.
With many more people getting out and about to enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the website helps walkers to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
It includes advice on where and when stag stalking is taking place on each estate, provides details on who to contact for more information and includes routes that are ‘always okay’ for walkers. The Code also encourages walkers to follow reasonable advice from land managers on alternative routes and to avoid crossing land where stalking is taking place.
Fiona Cuninghame, NatureScot Recreation, Access and Paths Officer, said: “It has been great to see so many people returning to our wonderful outdoors once again following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Many people may be discovering the joys of exploring our hills and mountains for the first time which is fantastic, but it’s also important to bear in mind that this can be a very busy time for land managers.
“Our Heading for the Scottish Hills website is a great resource to help walkers have a great day out without disturbing deer stalking in their chosen area as well as helping to raise awareness of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code,.”
The information can also be accessed directly through walkhighlands, with relevant stalking details provided on the page for each walk.
Davie Black, Mountaineering Scotland’s Access Officer, said: “We have been involved with Heading for Scottish Hills since it started, and are always happy to see more estates join each year. We encourage all walkers to check the website during the stalking season and contact the relevant estate if they have further questions.”
Richard Cooke, Chairman of the Association of Deer Management Groups, said: “The Association of Deer Management Groups has been involved with Heading for the Scottish Hills for more than 20 years, both in its initial book form and now in the online version.
“We would like to see this resource as the ‘go to’ source of information for people taking recreational access in the Highlands of Scotland and are pleased that an increasing number of Deer Management Groups are signing up. Clearly it is in our members’ interests also to make this information available.”
Heading for the Scottish Hills was first launched in 2015. The website can be accessed at: www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/hftsh