The Heading for the Scottish Hills service has been launched by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) for this year.
This service allows walkers to check ahead for possible deer stalking taking place on estates, to help reduce the chance of disturbing stag stalking during the peak season from late summer to October 20.
SNH has worked with partners, including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Association of Deer Management Groups, to create a more user-friendly service. This year’s service covers more hills, particularly in the northern Highlands, and is accessible from mobiles and tablets.
The website (www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/hftsh) includes general information about stalking on all participating estates and contact details for further information. There is also information about responsible behaviour for both land managers and walkers.
The site provides information on specific Munros, Corbetts and other popular hills. It also includes routes that are “always okay” and general information such as when the estate will start stag stalking and the days of the week when stalking doesn’t take place.
Fiona Cuninghame, SNH recreation and access officer, said: “The web service is a quick way to check that you won’t disturb deer stalking when heading to participating hills between July and October. We hope that you find the service easy to use and would welcome feedback on HFTSH@snh.gov.uk . We 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.”
Andrea Partridge, Mountaineering Council of Scotland Access Officer, said: “The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has been closely involved with the Heading for the Scottish Hills website and is delighted to see that the service has expanded again this year. We encourage all hill-goers to check the website during the stalking season and contact the relevant estate if necessary.”
The website helps walkers follow the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to try and find out where stag stalking is taking place and who to contact if more information is required. The Code also encourages walkers to take account of reasonable advice on alternative routes and to avoid crossing land where stalking is taking place. The web page takes its name from the Heading for the Scottish Hills book, which was a collaboration between landowners and mountaineers published between 1988 and 1996. For the first time, this book provided hill walkers with an easy way to identify and contact participating estates to find out where stalking was taking place.