Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC)

"Know the code before you go!"

Know the Code

Affric Kintail Way Route Marker Travellers on the Affric Kintail Way are advised to familiarise themselves with the main principles of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC). The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives you some of the best access rights in the world and as the AKW will take you through a variety of landscapes from agricultural land to protected areas it is vital that you know your obligations under the legislation. The main requirements are that you:

  • take responsibility for your own actions
  • respect the interests of other people
  • care for the environment

Additional Information for Dog Owners

We want you and your dog to enjoy the Affric Kintail Way but we ask that you follow a few simple rules to help yourself and others fully benefit from access rights. Access rights apply to you if you're walking your dog(s) provided they're kept under proper control.

  • LAMBS: Don't take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals.
  • FARM ANIMALS: Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals.
  • SAFETY AROUND CATTLE: Cattle can act aggressively. Care should be taken before crossing through any field of livestock to check if there may be a bull with the cows. Cows with young calves are just as dangerous as bulls, and walkers (especially with dogs) should never get between a cow and its calf. Keep yourself and your dog at a safe distance and if necessary let your dog go so that you can both seek safety.
  • GATES: Field gates should be left as you find them, whether open or closed.
  • GROUND NESTING BIRDS: During the bird breeding season (usually April to July) keep your dog under close control or on a short lead in areas such as moorland, forests, grassland, loch shores and the sea shore.
  • PLANTED FIELDS: Don't take your dog into fruit and vegetable fields unless there is a clear path, and keep your dog to the path.
  • PUBLIC PLACES: Keep your dog under close control and avoid causing concern to others, especially those who fear dogs.
  • LITTER: Take all litter with you and dispose of it in a suitable place.
  • DOG WASTE: Pick up and dispose of carefully.


The following files are valuable sources of information on the operation of SOAC:

Scottish Outdoor Access Code (Full Document)

Scottish Outdoor Access Code (Leaflet)

For further information on SOAC please visit: