Outdoor Access Code, Freedom/Right to roam, Tresspass, Civil and Criminal Offences

All photographers entering the Competition agree to abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and should make themselves familiar with the following key points in the code.

Freedom/Right to roam

The “right to roam” allows the right to access most land in Scotland for recreational purposes (e.g. photography). However, the right to roam does not allow access to lands where there are buildings, sheds, locations that provide a person with shelter such as a tent or caravan, gardens around houses, schools and playgrounds.

Entering any such lands is considered trespass.

The “no tresspass laws in Scotland” myth.

Contrary to the often repeated myth, there are in fact Trespass laws in Scotland, constituting both civil and criminal offences.

Civil Offence

The Trespass (Scotland) Act 1865 defines Trespass as “the process of entering another person’s property or land without permission”.

If you are asked by a land owner to leave their land and you refuse, this can become a criminal offence.

Criminal offences

  • Aggravated Trespass  –  section 68 of Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994 .
  • Collective Trespass  – section 61 of Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994 .

A person commits aggravated trespass when you are trespassing and intentionally obstructing, disrupting, or intimidating others engaged in their own ‘lawful activities’.


Obstruction and disruption is setting up a tripod on a farm track to prevent the flow of traffic, leaving farm gates open, conducting photography in woodland where there is live felling operations.

Intimidation is photographers, groups or workshops deliberately shouting at, staring menacingly or pointing cameras at members of the public to force them away from a location or composition.

Any photographer, group or workshop engaged in this type of conduct is conducting the criminal offence of aggravated trespass.

The full list of offences is set out in Annex 1 of the outdoor access code.

Restricted places

Entrants should make themselves familiar with 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

Causing alarm

Causing alarm to a property owner, farmer, livestock or member of the public could result in criminal charges. Causing alarm can be:

  • entering a property without permission to conduct wire wool photography or light painting
  • harassing animals people or livestock with drones