Walkers urged to check for stalking

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Hillwalkers are being uirged to check online for deer stalking information before setting out during the busiest part of the season.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) 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 stalkers.

The website makes it easier for walkers to follow the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to try to find out where stag stalking is taking place and provides details on who to contact for more information. It also includes routes that are ‘always okay’ and days that stalking takes place on each estate.

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, SNH recreation and access officer, said: ‘This time of year is great for getting outside and enjoying nature, but it’s also a very busy time for land managers. The Heading for the Scottish Hills website is a quick way for hill walkers to check they won’t disturb deer stalking during the season.

‘The site is updated with new information as estates provide it, so if you’re planning a trip and the hills you want to climb aren’t included on the site, it’s always worth taking another look nearer the time.’

The information can also be accessed through the Walkhighlands website, with relevant stalking details provided on the page for each walk.

Davie Black, Mountaineering Scotland’s access officer, added: ‘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 ADMG 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 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, which is viewable from mobiles and tablets, can be accessed at:  www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/hftsh.