FAQs on Outdoor Access

The SLPOTY competition wishes to remind all entrants that they should be aware of and adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when going about the countryside taking photographs.

In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the often repeated myth “there are no trespass laws in Scotland”. This is simply false. Trespass is an offence (otherwise known as “delict” in Scots law) which dates back hundreds of years. The Trespass (Scotland) Act was passed in 1865 making it a criminal offence in certain circumstances and applies to a wide variety of properties.

However, since the introduction of the “right to roam” where access rights were created under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, new clauses have been inserted which all entrants should familiarise themselves with, but also be mindful that myth and misconception have perpetuated about access rights to private land. Whilst the latest act gives the public the right to be on and cross most land and inland water in Scotland in a responsible manner and within those rights, it does not allow public access to many places and entrants should make themselves familiar with such restricted places at all times. Examples of places the public may not access are:

  • any land with a house, tent or caravan, gardens and land with non-residential buildings and associated land
  • fields in which crops are growing
  • schools land, land used by the school or next to the school
  • airfields, military bases, railways, working quarries, construction sites or any land designated as a construction site
  • visitor attractions or stately homes which charge an entry fee

(A summary of access rights are provided here and detailed list of places you may not access is listed in section 2.11 of the access code)

It should be further noted that should any entrant breach the act by entering any place where access is not permitted, in addition to being disqualified by the competition, they may also be subject to criminal charges. For example, irresponsible and/or anti social behaviour may result in criminal charges. A list of existing criminal offences are set out in Annex 1 of this document

We would also like to state that any images depicting an activity that may cause alarm to a property owner, livestock or cause damage to crops will result in disqualification from the competition and may also result in criminal charges. Examples of activities that are not permitted are:

  • light painting on any property type excluded in the act
  • wire wool photography
  • photography within fields growing crops