This section tries to provide suggestions and comments that should assist the walker plan from any walking visit to the area.
It is divided into the following sections:
Clothing and footwear
What the walker wears and carries is to some extent a personal choice and a compromise between essential - desirable and space - weight. It also depends on the length of the walk and the time of year. What is provide below is based on the longer day type of walk and remember that the British weather even in the summer can be very variable.
Some of the kit relates to what you will be wearing, the balance what you will take in the rucksack.
The most important kit relates to walking boots and sock, without this being correct and having walked then in your chances of completion or of enjoying the walk are unlikely.
Clothing that provides comfort, warmth and breaks the wind is vital, along with waterproof jacket and leggings for the poorer weather.
Hat and gloves, there are thermal and waterproof varieties which we recommend in autumn, winter and spring time.
A spare set of socks and boot laces are worth including in the rucksack.
The next consideration is what needs to be carried.
Rucksack which is of sufficient size and comfortable to carry. A waterproof cover is worth including or at least a bin liner or poly bags to protect the contents from the rain.
- Sufficient water as well as other liquid refreshment.
- Adequate food to meet the time out walking as well as some high energy foods like chocolate to give you energy and to sustain you if delayed or forced to stop awaiting assistance.
- First aid kit including some blister pads
- Compass, maps and whistle
We believe the following are desirable items
- Walking poles
- Gaiters to protect your legs and trousers in muddy conditions.
- Insect repellent and sun block (dependent on time of year)
- Folding umbrella - to some this may seem unacceptable and we would have fallen into this camp until walking with two very experience international walkers. They used them to shed off the worst of the downpours keeping the clothing on the upper body dry.
- Camera and binocular.
- Spare battery for mobile phone if you carry one.
This should be taken as a guide only, you should plan for the unexpected weather, and the unexpected difficulty that might mean you having to be in the open for longer than you anticipated. For this reason also look at the Emergency Precautions section.
Some of the walks can take you over moorland and forests where you are possibly going to see few other individuals. In this type of terrain it is important to recognise that assistance in an emergency will not necesarily be at hand. We also know that mobile telephone reception can sometimes be patchy on some of the routes. It is therefore recommended that a walker leaves word with someone on the route being walked and the expected time of return. We also recommend that each group has one person carrying some basic first aid items.
Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
This legislation should assist and make access to the outdoors for activities like walking more straightforward and easy. The act also applies to other outdoor pursuits like cycling, horses riding, water pursuits and more extreme sports. This summary will deal primarily with the walking aspects be it as a family and social activity, an active pursuit or participation as part of an event.
The Act places varying responsibilities on the individual seeking access rights, the Land Manager* and the Public and Local
Authorities. This summary will restrict itself to mainly consider the responsibilities that are placed on the individual or
group of individuals who are wanting to exercise their access rights.
(* The land manager is a term used in the Code that refers to the owners, tenants and those employed to
manage the lands or estates.)
The whole Act may be summarised as applying courtesy, consideration, good manners and respecting the needs of others when enjoying the outdoor. If all were to follow the following three key principals then effectively the Code would be implemented in full.
The Code also places some obligations on the Local and Public authorities, this mainly in the upholding of access rights, development of a Core Paths Network and the setting up of at least one local access forum in its area.
- Respect the interests of other people. In exercising your right of access respect the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living and working in the outdoor as well as others enjoying that right, and for the land manger it is the respect of the individuals right to a safe and enjoyable visit.
- Care of the Environment. This is the need to look after the outdoors that you are visiting and to leave the land in the condition you found it. For the land manager it is the need to maintain the natural and cultural features which make this outdoor attractive to visit.
- Take responsibility for your own actions. For the individual it is the recognition that the outdoors is not risk free and that you should act with care at all times for yourself and others. The land manger also should act with care at all times with regards to people’s safety.
This new legislation will not effect the law as it applies to already established Rights of Way but it will impact on the access to other paths, fields, moor land, mountains and lochs etc that were not previously defined by such a designation. What this code does is to give access to open land other than that of:
Some land may also be restricted on occasions based on other legislation or for reason of temporary closure.
- private homes and caravans etc,
- land with other plant or buildings,
- land that is growing crops or being used for activities like quarrying building or demolition,
- railways, airfields etc,
- pitches and land or water which has been set out for a formal recreation
- land surrounding schools.
This right of access is covered by the Code provided the purpose of the access is in pursuit of a legal pastime, that the individual is not using the access for business gain* and that any dog owner has their animals in proper control.
(* Companies or individual such as walking guides or outdoor instructors can still have open access even
although they are receiving payment, since the activity is one that is facilitating their clients in a legal pursuit.)
When a person exercises their access right they are also taking on a personal responsibility for their actions. Under the subject of ‘natural hazards’ there is a long established principal of “volenti non fit injuria” which implies that you take access accepting any obvious risk or risks that are inherent in the activity. This principle remains within the code and added to that is the need to respect the privacy of the landowners, occupiers and residents, respect the working environment of the land manager, do nothing that will impinge on the business aspects of the land manager, look after the environment and take special care when enjoying the outdoors with younger persons. On the land managers side they must not interfere unreasonably with the individuals right to access.
Below are set out some of the key details that may appear to be common sense but which are also seen as pertinent to walking.
This list cannot be taken as fully comprehensive but is thought to be a good starting point. If a walker is looking for more
information and guidance they should visit the following website.
Finally, wild camping is defined as lightweight tents of a small number and spending no more than 2 or 3 nights in one location. Under these conditions and provided the site is vacated in the same condition as found, and campers respect all the conditions that apply to responsible walking activities etc., this form of camping will come within the access rights of the Code.
- There is no access to house gardens however when it comes to larger “policies” the access rights are still restricted within the Code unless the policies are not intensively managed, in which case access rights exist.
- Access into fields where there are bulls or pigs should not take place and the walker should use an adjoining field or path to avoid these animals. Great caution should also be take when there are lambs and calves in the field and where possible a walker should avoid the field or keep well away from the animals.
- Do not walk through fields that have crops planted or growing, keep to the edge and restrict the width to single file if the cultivation is close to the fence boundary.
- If you have to climb gates or dykes do so carefully and for gate do it at the hinge end.
- Keep dogs under close control or on a lead and when stock is present try to separate them from the field with the stock. Dogs should not be allowed in fields where vegetables or fruit are being grown unless there is a defined path and dog owners should always clear up any faeces.
- A grass field being grown for silage is regarded as a field with a crop once the height is 20 cm or 8 inches.
- Walkers must take all litter home.
- Walkers needing to attend to human requirements should do so away from open water and if defecating they should bury it in a shallow hole as far from any civilisation as possible.
- Walkers need to respect natural and cultural heritage and in particular also recognise that they can disturb breading bird and unset gaming activities at certain times of the year.
- Walkers also need to respect any temporary restrictions that the land manager may impose due to land management work such as forestry harvesting, agricultural work, repair to land etc. It is also the land managers requirement to act reasonably when asking walkers to avoid land operations, to direct walkers to alternative routes and to minimise the time of restriction.
In the unlikely event of there being a dispute between the person seeking access and the land manager the ultimate course of action is as follows:
- Land managers can ask people to behave responsibly but cannot use force, their ultimate sanction if the irresponsible actions persist is to seek an Interdict.
- The public being refused access rights can report the problem to the Local Authority who has the powers to remove obstructions and to order the land manager to uphold the access rights.
- In the very worst cases of dispute and the inability to resolve the problem the dispute could be take to the Sheriff and they would make a judgement based on the Code.
Although these walks are generally less exposed walking route to many, there
are some routes over moorland or hills where
shelter is not immediate. The weather can be changeable so do bring
waterproof and wind breaking clothes.
For information on the weather forecast within the region you can call
Weathercall. (This is a premium rate telephone service run by the
The relevant Regions dialing numbers is: 09068 232 792
Alternatively access the
Met Office Website.
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Last update : August 2011