The site aims to cut conflict between walkers and stalkers. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

The site aims to cut conflict between walkers and stalkers. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

Mountaineering Scotland is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to check online before heading for the hills to avoid conflict between walkers and stalkers.

The organisation, which represents hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers north of the border, has worked with Scottish Natural Heritage to help produce the site, which details where deerstalking is likely to take place.

The Heading for the Scottish Hills website, which has again been expanded this year, allows walkers to check ahead for details on estates where they plan to go walking. As in previous years, Mountaineering Scotland said it is hoped this will reduce the chance of disturbing stag stalking during the peak season from late summer to 20 October.

The Association of Deer Management Groups has also worked with SNH to create a more user-friendly service, which is accessible from mobiles and tablets and now has more details, particularly in the north-west Highlands.

The website 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 OK’ and general information such as when the estate will start stag stalking and the days of the week when stalking doesn’t take place.

James Orpwood, Mountaineering Scotland’s access officer, said: “Mountaineering Scotland has been closely involved with the Heading for the Scottish Hills website and is delighted to see it 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.

Fiona Cuninghame, SNH recreation and access officer, said: “The web service is a quick way to check that you won’t disturb deerstalking when heading to participating hills.

“We hope that you find the service easy to use and would welcome feedback by email. We expect the service to continue to grow, so if the hills you want to climb aren’t included on the site, it’s worth taking another look before you head out.”

Richard Cooke, chairman of the Association of Deer Management Groups, said: “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.”

The information can be found on the Outdoor Access Scotland website.

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