17 June 2007

Getting over Scottish fences - mini-stile

We go to the west coast of Scotland and Hebrides quite often, eg Culkein north Assynt at Easter. There's no continuous coastal path there, though a lot is accessible. One persistent bugbear is the waist high fences, particularly on croft land I think. Getting over these is a pain. I assume that we are allowed climb over. My suggestion is to have lots of mini-stiles: a simple foot high stake banged in next to a larger fence post would let a nimble person hop over without damaging the fence or ripping their yarn - give it a go and see if it works... I think that there should be statutory provision of stiles every so often, particularly over larger fences.

Reply from Ramblers Association re fences:
"Re fences, yes you are allowed to climb over them, and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code actually gives advice for doing so responsibly, ie, climbing over near a post so as to do the least damage, or over a gate by the hinge (p95). As they are only waist-high there is no need for planning permission and it is difficult to make any comment on their construction. However, if the crofter/farmer constantly sees people climbing over the fence, it may well be an incentive to put in a stile to avoid damage to the fence from cumulative impacts!"

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