Responsible Access

Care for the Countryside

The hills and glens of Deeside are working estates and many people depend on them for their livelihood. Land management for farming, forestry, deer stalking, grouse shooting and conservation are all-important activities, even in some of the remotest glens. You are a welcome visitor to Deeside and can help protect the countryside in a number of ways. So please:

  • Be courteous to other countryside users.
  • Park away from gates and tracks so that they can be used at all times by others.
  • Keep your dog on a lead to prevent disturbance to farm stock or wildlife.
  • Keep to the paths and tracks marked on the Ordnance Survey maps, to prevent new tracks from forming and scarring the hillsides.
  • Guard against the risk of fire.
  • Take your litter home.
  • Use gates and stiles where available and leave gates as you find them.
  • Take care not to disturb wildlife.

Click here for the Outdoor Access Scotland website

Hill Walking and Red Deer

Red deer stalking is an important source of income to the Deeside estates and deer are stalked from 1st July until 20th October. You are still welcome to hill walk during this period but please:

  • contact the Hillphone service from 1st August until 20th October for information about where stalking is occurring on a particular day.
  • Click here for details or phone the following Hillphone numbers:

    Balmoral/Lochnagar 013397-55532
    Invercauld 013397-41911
    Callater & Clunie 013397-41997
    Glen Shee/Cairnwell 01250-885288

  • Take note of any stalking notices provided at the main access points.
  • Reduce disturbance to deer by following established tracks on the hills and through the glens.

For more information about red deer and deer management click here.

Safety in the Scottish Hills

The hill walking, climbing and ski mountaineering in Scotland is some of the most accessible and exhilarating in Europe. Though not high, the changeable weather and northerly latitude of the Scottish mountains make them far more challenging than some of their European counterparts. Before you venture out, make sure you are adequately clothed, equipped and experienced for the route you are undertaking.

Always take a map and a compass with you, and know how to use them, as well as extra food and clothing. The weather changes very suddenly in the hills and what may have started out as a sunny day could end up as a blizzard on the tops, even in summer!

In winter, check the avalanche risk before starting off and take an ice axe and crampons with you (and know how to use them !). The avalanche risk is compiled by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, who leave details in various locations, including popular access points into the hills. Click here for details.

Leave your route plan and estimated return time with somebody.

Wild Camping

Camping out in the wilds, when most walkers have returned home and the hills are the domain of their resident wildlife, is one of the best ways to experience Scotland's beauty. When done responsibly it has little impact on the environment, but its increased popularity mean that we must all take extra care. With a little careful thought, you can avoid leaving any impact on the ground, so, when planning a trip, think about:

Where you intend to camp. Is the ground suitable for pitching a tent without leaving a trace? Can you camp unobtrusively? Consider not only your own impact on a camping spot, but the cumulative impact of several tents over time.

Other campers. People go to the hills for solitude so please keep your group small.

The people who make their living from the land. Please make sure that your chosen campsite will not impact on any estate or farming activities.

Disturbance to wildlife. Noise travels far from tents and can scare wildlife away from an area.

Litter and toilet arrangements. Popular wild camping areas increasingly have litter and human excrement problems. Please take your litter home and ensure that you bury all human waste. To avoid contamination of drinking water, you should not go to the toilet within 30 metres of a stream or loch.

For more information about wild camping click here

Upper Deeside Access Trust · Unit 1, Aboyne Castle Business Centre, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, AB34 5JP
Tel: 013398 87777 · Fax: 013398 87785 · Email:

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