DO you ever check if there's deer stalking taking place in the hills where you're planning to walk? If not, I'd encourage you to have a look at the Heading for the Scottish Hills website.
The Scottish Natural Heritage service enables you to check ahead for possible deer stalking taking place in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This helps to reduce the chance of disturbing stalking during the stag stalking season, which generally runs from 1st July to 20th October. The service covers more hills than last year and is accessible from mobiles and tablets, making it easy to use when away from home.
The website (www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/hftsh) provides general stalking information for Munros, Corbetts and other popular hills on participating estates. This includes the approximate duration of stag stalking and the days of the week when stalking doesn't take place. Also included are any routes that are "always OK".
Contact details are given if further information is required and there is also information about responsible behaviour for land managers and walkers. The website sometimes refers walkers to other sources, such as estate websites, recorded phone messages, contact details or local signs, for more specific information about stalking on particular days.
I hope that you find the service easy to use and SNH would welcome feedback on HFTSH@snh.gov.uk. They expect the service to continue to grow, so if you're planning a trip and the hills you want to climb aren't included on the site, it's worth taking another look nearer the time.
The website helps walkers follow the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to try to find out where stag stalking is taking place and who to contact if further information is required. The Code also encourages walkers
* to follow reasonable alternative routes on days when stalking is taking place
* not to cross land where stalking is taking place
* to avoid wild camping where stalking is planned for the next day
It makes a lot of sense to take extra care during this sensitive time of the year and with a little bit of consideration we can all happily share the hills and wild places.
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