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Cairngorms National Park

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Outdoor Access Advice

Mainland Scotland is now in full lockdown and only essential travel may take place.

Important COVID-19 update

Please ensure you maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from other people when outdoors, and adhere to Government guidelines and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Always plan ahead for any visit to ensure that the places and businesses you intend to visit are open and ready to receive visitors.

Please ensure you enjoy the outdoors responsibly and follow any on site advice and #TreadlightlyinthePark. This means keeping your dog under close control and on a lead around ground nesting birds, removing all dog poo, human waste and leaving no litter. Please check our camping advice and do not light campfires or barbeques anywhere in the Park.

Visit our Coronavirus/COVID-19 Latest Information webpage for more information.

Find out how you can help look after the Cairngorms National Park by ‘treading lightly’. 

When you’re out and about enjoying the outdoors by following the advice below:


#TakeTheLead when enjoying walking your dog, from April to August, please keep your dog on a short lead or close to heel in areas with ground nesting birds. In woodlands with capercaillie, follow all signage and keep your dog on a lead where requested. On farmland, please do not enter fields with young animals.

Please clean up after your dog and put any waste in a bin, or take it away and in more remote areas, remove it off the path. The Cairngorms National Park has partnered with Dicky Bag, which makes taking responsibility and picking up after your dog even easier. Get a free shoulder strap too!!
View more info here

Wild Camping

To be a responsible wild camper in the Park:

  • Follow all signage and advice from Countryside Rangers:
  • Pitch your tent well away from cars, roads, buildings and paths:
  • Keep the numbers of your group small:
  • Don’t stay in one spot for more than 2 nights:
  • Remove traces of your tent pitch and any other litter.


Do not light a campfire. The forests, woodlands and peatlands of the Cairngorms are internationally important. Yu can help protect this special landscape by using a camping stove instead.



Use a public toilet if there is one. If not, dig a hole and bury waste well away from buildings or well-used areas. Urinate at least 30 paces from lochs, rivers and streams. For further advice and tips for “going” outdoors click here.


The Cairngorms National Park is a great place for getting outdoors but like the rest of Scotland you should protect yourself from the tiny biting parasites known as ticks. The four top tips for preventing a tick bite are:

  • Stick to paths and avoid long grass, bracken and heather:
  • Cover exposed skin if you are walking through long grass, bracken and heather:
  • Use a recommended insect repellent:
  • And most importantly check yourself for ticks at regular intervals.

For advice on removing ticks and the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease the Highland Council have a useful guide here.


Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions

The Cairngorms National Park is a great place for Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions with many of the iconic mountain passes ideal for bronze, silver and gold expeditions. Being such an ideal location means that there are pressure points at popular camping spots leading to issues such as overcrowding, litter and anti-social behavior. If you are planning an expedition consider your expedition aim can you put something back? Have you thought about exploring the less visited areas of the Park like Glenlivet, Strathdon and Laggan?  For advice on camping spots  visit Duke of Edinburgh Award Scotland here.

Campervans and Mobile Homes

Access rights do not include motor vehicles and there is no legal right to park beside a road overnight. If you visiting the Cairngorms National Park in your campervans please:

  • Use managed caravan/camp sites. To find the best site for you Visit Cairngorms has lots of ideas:
  • Follow the Highway Code and observe any local guidance, including specific requests not to park overnight in particular places.
  • Follow the guidance in the Code on parking, taking care not to block forest, estate or farm entrances, and the guidance on litter and human waste. Only empty any chemical toilet waste in designated chemical waste areas.

For more advice The Campervan and Motorhome Professional Association (CAMPA) has great advice.

For specific advice on your rights and responsibilities for a particular activity please see the links below.

Rights of Way
Scottish Rights of Way Society

British Horse Society (Scotland) –Responsible riding.

Scottish Canoe Association – Key points of the access code for Paddlers

Mountain biking
Do the ride thing

Heading for the Scottish Hills– daily information for hillwalkers about stag stalking activities

Mountaineering Council of ScotlandCrag Code


How to report an access issue

A great many people enjoy the outdoors in the National Park but for a few this enjoyment can be restricted by encountering an obstruction be it a locked gate or blocked path. If you have encountered an issue where you feel your access rights have been blocked, or if you have witnessed people behaving irresponsibly then please fill in this form and return it to [email protected]