The National Park is not just a place to be visited, its a working landscape and you’ll often find yourself in challenging locations, such as working farms, estates and areas protected for their conservation value.
That is why we hope all our visitors act responsibly and respect their surroundings, while having a safe and enjoyable time in the National Park. We’ve brought together some advice on how to respect the wildlife and livestock you’ll meet when you get here.
In an emergency
If you get into difficulty away from the road network and need help or medical assistance, please follow these steps:
- Phone the emergency services on 999. When the operator asks which service, state: police.
- Provide accurate details of the incident and location (grid references are very useful) – if you are in remote location with difficult access it is important to emphasise this.
- The Police will assess the situation and send help – this may include a Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and other medical support.
Many species of our winged and feathered friends live in the Park, and although disturbance is not a significant issue for us, it’s worth noting that birds are sensitive during the spring breeding period.
Remember, all wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected by the law (Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981). Damaging, destroying or disturbing nests, birds or eggs is an offence. Schedule 1 species e.g. Golden Eagle, Osprey and Kingfisher, are especially vulnerable and subject to additional protection.
Some common indicators of disturbance include:
- Alarm calling
- Visibly agitated birds, sometimes circling the threat
- Mock or actual dive bombing
A particularly sensitive time is during incubation – if the parent birds are scared off the nest, the eggs can chill quickly and effect embryo development. The period of time when birds are incubating eggs can vary widely depending on location and species.
Ground nesting birds are commonplace in the Park. In general, they are less likely to be disturbed by walkers as they usually build nests away from popular paths. However, the greatest risk comes from dogs running off the lead in areas not normally visited by walkers. Dog owners should keep their animals under close control during nesting season in these areas.
For more information see:
Farmland & animals
Lambing & Dogs
Hill farming takes place throughout the Park, and every spring new lambs can be seen frolicking in the sunshine enjoying their first taste of life. To a farmer, the lambs represent their livelihood and income – the next generation of ewes and rams. To dogs, the lambs are defenceless ‘prey’ and unfortunately the National Park Authority receives reports every year of sheep being attacked and lambs killed. It is imperative that dogs are kept under close control when livestock is present (especially during lambing). For more information see the Scottish Natural Heritage ‘Dog Walking’ guide.
If you walk your dog in the Park, please take note of any signage at access points and adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).
Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals. Don’t take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young farm animals. If you go into a field of farm animals, keep your dog(s) on a short lead or under close control and keep as far as possible from the animals. If cattle react aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let the dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field.
Don’t take your dog into fields of vegetables or fruit unless there is a clear path, such as a core path or right of way, and keep your dog to the path.
Pick up and remove your dog’s faeces if it defecates in a public place.
Stalking & field sports
Our iconic glens, hills and mountains such as; Glen Kinglass, Ben Vorlich, Luss Hills and Ben More, provide some big challenges and stunning backdrops for hill walking the Park – we also have a number of traditional estates where deer stalking takes place. Stalking helps manage herd numbers and animal health, contributes to conservation and provides an important income for rural communities.
Usually, there is very little conflict between hill walking and stalking, but occasionally we receive reports of accidental disturbance, and this can have a big impact on the estate.
We encourage all hillwalkers to use the Scottish Natural Heritage ‘Heading to the Scottish Hills’ resource before heading out.
Find out contact details for the main estates in the National Park.
Please adhere to any signage at the access points.