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Thread: Scotland Otterson Loch

  1. #1
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    Default Scotland Otterson Loch

    Today I was approach by a gentleman,who informed me that the loch was private and that no paddling was allowed on it because of being of SSS SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC Interest and Scottish Heritage was mentioned because of the flaura and fawna. I said that I had looked up the internet and no mention was made of it being a bird sanctuary. I also took note that the only sign that I could see referred to enjoying feeding the ducks,but to take your litter home. No mention was made of fishing either.

    If it is as I was told,I would have thought there would and should be more signs to protect it.

    Can somebody let me know whether the above is correct or even where I could find out the correct info.

    Thanks

    Haggis

  2. #2

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    Hi Haggis,

    I might well be wrong (please correct me if i am) but i don't think it being "private" is relevant. It looks like Otterston is a SSSI for biological reasons (flora by the look of it), but (as i understand it) that doesn't necessarily mean it can't be accessed.

    There is a useful database of SSSI sites with map and information available for download about restrictions in place for activities requiring permission from SNH.

    https://www.eservices.ros.gov.uk/ros...K5P!1748186091

    I can't see any reference to access to the water in the list of operations requiring consent for Otterston. There are also several online references to use of the loch by a local club for curling in winter, so i am thinking it is probably open for access. It might well be worth contacting SNH for further info though.

    Edit- The SNH site has lots of info. and you can search for specific information about sites..

    http://gateway.snh.gov.uk/portal/pag..._schema=PORTAL

    here's what i got for Otterston..
    http://gateway.snh.gov.uk/portal/pag...W_WINDOW=false
    Last edited by happy camper; 1st-June-2011 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #3
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    This is quite an interesting situation in regards the interpretation of the rights of access law.

    It is possible that the origin of this loch is not natural but ornamental ie. created as a private bit of landscape design on some estate in the past. It is probably still part of a single ownership of property. The question arises if this still makes it private under the law (falls within the curtiledge of a private residence) in which case it does not come under the rights of access as far as I understand the law.
    However being accessible from a public road would diminish this aspect I would suspect.

    In respect of access to an SSSI there is nothing that prevents access to water unless the citation and management statements specify exclusion. In this case one would expect SNH to make this clear at the site in question.

    This link to SNH is quite useful and note the comment re access at the bottom of the page.

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    I recently e-mailed my local access officer about a similar loch near me, and got the following response:

    "The SOAC makes no difference between SSSI & non SSSI sites. There is no blanket ban on water sports during the breeding season. The onus is on the person(s) to act responsibly and canoeing on the loch in question or any other loch falls into that category. Canoeing on a small loch like the one in question could raise serious risk of disturbance - not just to the cormorants but to any other breeding water bird. As to specifics cormorants breed March to mid late June - so ideally no boats until the end of June. However as this is a tree breeder providing the canoe stays away from the nest sites which should be pretty obvious and uses open water they will minimise risk of disturbing not just to the cormorants but also the other birds which will be breeding at or near the bank."

    "It all comes down to ‘responsible access’ basically as long as you are aware of the wildlife on the site and your possible impact on it and act accordingly you should be OK. I would just be extra careful around the breeding time"

    I hope that this helps - if you want to contact your local access officer, this is the link.

    http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.co...ct-la-officer/
    --------------------
    There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats
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    In the case of Otterson Loch the value to wildlife far exceeds the potential for paddling. I know it is handy being by the road but it is very small and hardly worth the effort, even if you reckon you can access it. I used to pass it every day on my way to work and often stopped off for a look see at the birds.

    I never paddled it. Really there are much better places for a paddle, and as mentioned above, I wouldn't be suprised if it counts as 'curtiledge'.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    "Curtiledge" - correct spelling is curtilage - just could not think of it at the time

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    Thank you for the helpful advice ,I will likely contact an access officer to get their view.

    I like otterston loch and would have no wish to damage either it or it's wildlife.

    I do however feel, if restrictions are to be put in place for good reason then there should be a clear notice next to the road explaining that.
    I should not be told by an individual with his own interpretation of what the restrictions are.
    Should the authorities have decided to stop access for any reason,I would happily concur and put a sign up for them.
    We all have views regarding access versus conservation,which is why the decision should come from the appointed body,so that people like me ,or any other cannot manipulate it to their own ends.

    Haggis

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    Please report this to Mike Dales at the SCA.

    http://www.canoescotland.org/access/...sIncident.aspx

    Irrespective of whether it is either responsible or desirable to paddle here, it does sound like the chap who spoke to you was talking rubbish. Ultimately you have a right of responsible access and it is down to you to decide if you are being responsible or not.

    Disturbing wildlife is a big deal as far as responsibility goes, so if there is any risk of that it is better to leave it until you're sure you know what the impact of your paddling might be.
    Veni Vidi Natavi

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    Quote Originally Posted by urchaidh View Post
    Please report this to Mike Dales at the SCA.

    http://www.canoescotland.org/access/...sIncident.aspx

    Irrespective of whether it is either responsible or desirable to paddle here, it does sound like the chap who spoke to you was talking rubbish. Ultimately you have a right of responsible access and it is down to you to decide if you are being responsible or not.

    Disturbing wildlife is a big deal as far as responsibility goes, so if there is any risk of that it is better to leave it until you're sure you know what the impact of your paddling might be.

    Thank you, I have now reported the incident as you suggested.
    I think it is a very valid point that you make regarding the wild life.Through my ignorance or lack of signs, I do not know what damage I may do by going on to the loch,so will wait for clarification.
    Protecting an important area comes higher up the ladder than who wins a squabble.
    As said previously,I did check the internet before hand and no mention was made of restriction because of wild life or anything else for matter, that I could find.
    It will be good to have the public informed on any access limits necessary.

    Haggis

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    According to the management statement the main interest for nature conservation lies in the wet woodland and swamp areas and the associated plants to the south and west of the loch.

    The value of the open water habitat for plants seems to be in decline due to nutrient enrichment and resultant algal blooms.

    It would appear that there is no recorded wildlife species of note so not much chance of disturbing anything important.

    If access is gained from the roadside and no landings are made in the wet woodland areas then there is little chance of doing any harm in my opinion.

  11. #11
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    Thanks again,


    If the findings,by the authorities are that the area should be restricted,then I am happy to concur and help in that area.
    As with lots of things, education of us all helps,and notice of restrictions, which after all are for our long term benefits,should be clearly shown.

    Haggis

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Today I was approach by a gentleman,who informed me that the loch was private and that no paddling was allowed on it because of being of SSS SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC Interest and Scottish Heritage was mentioned because of the flaura and fawna. I said that I had looked up the internet and no mention was made of it being a bird sanctuary. I also took note that the only sign that I could see referred to enjoying feeding the ducks,but to take your litter home. No mention was made of fishing either.

    If it is as I was told,I would have thought there would and should be more signs to protect it.

    Can somebody let me know whether the above is correct or even where I could find out the correct info.

    Thanks

    Haggis
    Hi Haggis.
    I've never been to or even heard of Otterson Loch, but I have been in your situation a few times since I started paddling just a couple of years ago.

    Members of the public, particularly anglers, ornothologists, botanists, dogwalkers and general busybody's are only interested in what interests them.

    What I normally do, particularly if they are even just a wee bit nasty, accusing me of breaking the law, rules etc, is warn that person or persons that I feel that they are accosting me, intimidating me, and placing me in a state of fear and alarm, and that I am going to report them to the police.

    That's even when I know that a mouthfull of Dundee dandruff would be more than enough

    There are folks and even professional bodies and organisations who think that because they put up a sign saying you can't do this or that, that they have written a law, when in fact they have only made a rule.

    The police are not here to enforce rules made by Lords, Lairds, Angling Clubs, Birdwatching Clubs etc, only the law, so establish the difference between the two, and have no fear if you are'nt breaking one.

    Accosting, intimidating, and placing someone in a state of fear and alarm however, are all criminal acts in Scotland, punishable by fine or even a few bowlfuls of porridge

    The law as it stands says that you can paddle anywhere within reason, including public water supplies, reservoirs, fisheries, SSSI's, rivers from source to sea.

    The law ie; Outdoor Access Scotland is in place to protect people like us, from people like them ie; those who want to keep it all to themselves.

    I hope that you will give Otterson Loch another go Mr Haggis, forewarned is forearmed

    All the best, WW.

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    Thank you William Wallace,with a name like that there is more chance I will get a hard time in a confrontation than you.

    The person in Question said that he owned the Loch. If I was him, I would probably see the first watercraft as a scout ant about to bring the rest of the hoards,so apart from the law side of it ,I can understand his concerns.
    My son does launch from the road and does not exit anywhere else (balance allowing).The loch being shallow has a fair bit of surface growth come the summer,so we wouldn't be using it then anyway.
    I am not trying to launch a campaign,just establish the facts regarding the law and my effect on the area.
    Should it be fine on both counts I will be able to pass him a letter quietly in the future with the names in authority that he should speak to if he has a problem.He may or may not have those facts and information at the moment, but I will assume his intentions are well meant at present.

    Haggis

    Haggis

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Thank you William Wallace,with a name like that there is more chance I will get a hard time in a confrontation than you.

    The person in Question said that he owned the Loch. If I was him, I would probably see the first watercraft as a scout ant about to bring the rest of the hoards,so apart from the law side of it ,I can understand his concerns.
    My son does launch from the road and does not exit anywhere else (balance allowing).The loch being shallow has a fair bit of surface growth come the summer,so we wouldn't be using it then anyway.
    I am not trying to launch a campaign,just establish the facts regarding the law and my effect on the area.
    Should it be fine on both counts I will be able to pass him a letter quietly in the future with the names in authority that he should speak to if he has a problem.He may or may not have those facts and information at the moment, but I will assume his intentions are well meant at present.

    Haggis

    Haggis

    I'd be interested to hear if you do get any facts or information from SNH or the access officer etc. Keep us posted

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Thank you William Wallace,with a name like that there is more chance I will get a hard time in a confrontation than you.

    The person in Question said that he owned the Loch. If I was him, I would probably see the first watercraft as a scout ant about to bring the rest of the hoards,so apart from the law side of it ,I can understand his concerns.
    My son does launch from the road and does not exit anywhere else (balance allowing).The loch being shallow has a fair bit of surface growth come the summer,so we wouldn't be using it then anyway.
    I am not trying to launch a campaign,just establish the facts regarding the law and my effect on the area.
    Should it be fine on both counts I will be able to pass him a letter quietly in the future with the names in authority that he should speak to if he has a problem.He may or may not have those facts and information at the moment, but I will assume his intentions are well meant at present.

    Haggis

    Haggis
    We both know that I'm not really William Wallace, Mr Haggis. He was hung, drawn and quartered many years ago
    I'm sure though, that the person in question knows all about the Land Reform Act of 2003, and like the vast majority of landowners has read it until he's blue in the face, (like myself) and interprets it in the best way that suits him.
    I recently had a run in with a couple of keepers at Loch Lee, Dalhousie Estate. These chappies felt it neccessary to do a SAS style pincer movement on myself and Mrs Wallace using two Landrovers. They then started a very agressive tirade of threats and accusation about trespass etc and told me that the police had been called. I told them that I was glad that the police were on their way because I felt threatened by their agressive behaviour and the fact that they were the ones breaking the law.
    They were quite taken aback by this and I had to explain in Janet and John terms that as my wife was in tears, that they had committed a breach of the peace, were placing us in a state of fear and alarm, threatened us with a vehicle etc etc etc.
    The police never arrived, so as we went through Brechin, the nearest town, I stopped at the police station and told the duty officer what had happened. He told me that he would go and visit these keepers the very next day. He also told me that over the summer these keepers frequently call them to deal with rowdy campers as they are too scared to approach them themselves. He was quite annoyed that they were brave enough to tackle a middle aged couple in such a manner.
    Upshot is that he went to see them, and established that we, or anyone for that matter, can paddle on Loch Lee as it is actually a public water supply. Unfortunately, Mrs Wallace was too upset by the whole scenario that she does'nt wish to go back there.
    So I hope you can see Mr Haggis that WW has a bee in his bonnet about access rights, and I'm very sympathetic towards anyone who gets a raw deal regards access.
    Regards,WW.
    Last edited by KeithD; 3rd-June-2011 at 12:56 PM. Reason: fix quotes

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Wallace View Post
    Hi Haggis.

    Members of the public, particularly anglers, ornothologists, botanists, dogwalkers and general busybody's are only interested in what interests them.

    I'm always slightly confused when members of the 'paddling community' portray us as if we are somehow different to everyone else. I am a member of the public, an angler, I do a bit of bird watching, and I have walked a dog now and again.

    Presumably that makes me an introspective busy body, only interested in myself without considering the views of others.

    Oh hang on, I'm also a paddler so that must make me a saint, a pillar of the community and a thoroughly reasonable person, unlike anyone else who isn't.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by darbinotley View Post
    I'm always slightly confused when members of the 'paddling community' portray us as if we are somehow different to everyone else. I am a member of the public, an angler, I do a bit of bird watching, and I have walked a dog now and again.

    Presumably that makes me an introspective busy body, only interested in myself without considering the views of others.

    Oh hang on, I'm also a paddler so that must make me a saint, a pillar of the community and a thoroughly reasonable person, unlike anyone else who isn't.
    I feel sure WW was only pointing out,that in general, we ALL tend to see our side of the story and , having clearly been upset by some of the actions taken by others,is naturally quite emotional about it.

    Haggis

    Haggis

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by darbinotley View Post
    I'm always slightly confused when members of the 'paddling community' portray us as if we are somehow different to everyone else. I am a member of the public, an angler, I do a bit of bird watching, and I have walked a dog now and again.

    Presumably that makes me an introspective busy body, only interested in myself without considering the views of others.

    Oh hang on, I'm also a paddler so that must make me a saint, a pillar of the community and a thoroughly reasonable person, unlike anyone else who isn't.
    Funny you should say that Mr Darbinotley, I have an English Springer Spaniel who goes everywhere with me, I'm a very keen pike angler, a member of the public, and of course, a paddler. I do a bit of birdwatching, but that's usually the type that wear short skirts and halter tops on sunny, warm days.
    I have never ever approached a angler, dog walker, ornothologist or busybody and told them "you are not allowed to be here", but have been on the recieving end from them a good few times over the last couple of years, for excercising my right, by law to be there.

    If the rest of the UK ever has a Land Reform Act passed in favour of paddlers, you will find out for yourself soon enough what it's like to be told, "you are not allowed to paddle here", even though you know that you are.

    Regards, WW,
    Last edited by William Wallace; 3rd-June-2011 at 02:24 PM.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Wallace View Post
    If the rest of the UK ever has a Land Reform Act passed in favour of paddlers, you will find out for yourself soon enough what it's like to be told, "you are not allowed to paddle here", even though you know that you are.

    Regards, WW,
    Oddly enough, as I do most of my paddling in Yorkshire where we do not benefit from an LRA or similar, I have frequently been told "you are not allowed to paddle here". lol I paddle pretty extensively in Scotland (though undoubtedly not as much as you), and since the LRA I've luckily never had the misfortune to have any difficulties with access to rivers or lakes (although a man from Dunvegan Castle once shouted at me whilst paddling on Loch Dunvegan--it's the sea!!). It is always a shame when less tolerant people confront you, it always taints the day out, so you have my sympathies for the Loch Lee (and any other) instances.

    And I was once (and only once) told by a paddler that I wasn't allowed to fish on the Wharfe. He had misunderstood fishing season dates. But overall Mr Wallace, I agree with you and Mr Haggis, that we all see things from our once unique points of view.

  20. #20
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    Default Thank you

    The issue of access to Otterston Loch has now been ratified.Mike Dales the SCA access officer has confirmed with both the Fife Council Access officer (Alison Irvine) and the SNH Office in Cupar (Keith Dagleish) the Scottish Access rights do apply to this Loch.
    Any mention of SSSI is not to be used as an excuse for stopping people from using the water.

    The only point that was raised in addition was to be cautious during the months of May and June not to frighten any breeding ducks or there chicks,which,of course would be the sensible approach on any waterway.

    Thanks for all comments,especially the important on of passing the situation over to the people who deal with these things all of the time,The SCA access officer,who have the contacts and can then deal with it without personalities becoming involved and in a less crusading nature.

    Thanks again.

    Haggis

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    The issue of access to Otterston Loch has now been ratified.Mike Dales the SCA access officer has confirmed with both the Fife Council Access officer (Alison Irvine) and the SNH Office in Cupar (Keith Dagleish) the Scottish Access rights do apply to this Loch.
    Any mention of SSSI is not to be used as an excuse for stopping people from using the water.

    The only point that was raised in addition was to be cautious during the months of May and June not to frighten any breeding ducks or there chicks,which,of course would be the sensible approach on any waterway.

    Thanks for all comments,especially the important on of passing the situation over to the people who deal with these things all of the time,The SCA access officer,who have the contacts and can then deal with it without personalities becoming involved and in a less crusading nature.

    Thanks again.

    Haggis
    Well done Mr Haggis!! I think you should be rewarded with a poem about Haggis.
    Horace Poem


    Horace
    Much to his Mum and Dad's dismay
    Horace ate himself one day.
    He didn't stop to say his grace,
    He just sat down and ate his face.
    "We can't have this his Dad declared,
    "If that lad's ate, he should be shared."
    But even as he spoke they saw
    Horace eating more and more:
    First his legs and then his thighs,
    His arms, his nose, his hair, his eyes...
    "Stop him someone!" Mother cried
    "Those eyeballs would be better fried!"
    But all too late, for they were gone,
    And he had started on his d**g...
    "Oh! foolish child!" the father mourns
    "You could have deep-fried that with prawns,
    Some parsley and some tartar sauce..."
    But H. was on his second course:
    His liver and his lights and lung,
    His ears, his neck, his chin, his tongue;
    "To think I raised him from the cot
    And now he's going to scoff the lot!"
    His Mother cried: "What shall we do?
    What's left won't even make a stew..."
    And as she wept, her son was seen
    To eat his head, his heart, his spleen.
    And there he lay: a boy no more,
    Just a stomach, on the floor...
    None the less, since it was his
    They ate it – that's what haggis is.


  22. #22
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    Default Haggis

    There was I thinking that a Haggis was a non flying bird with one leg longer than the other that lived on gently sloping hills.

    Still, it is good that Otterston Loch has been opened up to all that wish to use it sensibly.

    Thanks for your help

    Haggis

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    There was I thinking that a Haggis was a non flying bird with one leg longer than the other that lived on gently sloping hills.

    Still, it is good that Otterston Loch has been opened up to all that wish to use it sensibly.

    Thanks for your help

    Haggis
    I had a spot of bother again yesterday Mr Haggis. The Mrs and I decided to have a quiet paddle on the Loch of the Lowes at Dunkeld. We parked in a layby at the east end of the 98 hectare/240 acre loch. After about 30 minutes a warden of the Scottish Wildlife Trust appeared and beckoned us to come to the bank. He informed us that, as the loch is a SSSI, no boats are allowed. He went on to say that we were "disturbing the ospreys". I asked him where the ospreys were and he told me that they were at the other side of the loch. I told him that we had no intention of visiting/disturbing the osprey's, and would be more than happy to stay on the other side of the loch from them. This however, was'nt good enough, and he insisted that we leave, which we did.

    The most annoying thing though, is that they (The Scottish Wildlife Trust) are the only ones disturbing the ospreys. They have built a Visitor Centre, souvenir shop, (get your plastic osprey here) toilet facilities, car park (coach parties welcome) and webcams constantly filming the birds, and a series of paths and hides. They also charge entry, £4 + extra if you use the hide.

    Rather than argue with these people, I have contacted the Access officer for the area, (as you did) and await their reply.
    Regards, WW

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    Default Rights ,Ignorance and Education

    I think in these cases ,it can become all to easy to assume that you have met someone that is a bit power crazy,however it could simply be that he is as ill informed as i was just three weeks ago.

    Education is the thing and the SCA access officer is the one qualified to teach him.


    I hope the agro it is not getting your wife down.

    Haggis

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    I think in these cases ,it can become all to easy to assume that you have met someone that is a bit power crazy,however it could simply be that he is as ill informed as i was just three weeks ago.

    Education is the thing and the SCA access officer is the one qualified to teach him.


    I hope the agro it is not getting your wife down.

    Haggis
    I dont really buy that Mr Haggis. The Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003 has been in force for about eight years now, it's nothing new. I reckon it's more a matter of "call my bluff" with these people, and I'm sick of it. From now on, when challenged I will leave, but be straight on to the Access Officer for the area.
    As for the Mrs, it's getting to the stage where she does'nt want to try new water because someone always seems to come along with some kind of bee in their bonnet, and ruin our day.
    Regards, WW, and thanks for your concern

  26. #26
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    Default Opt out Scheme

    I wonder if there is a list of waters in Scotland that the public are not allowed on.
    If there is,it would be nice to be able to present a card with either a copy of the list or a website address containing it..
    The card could simply say ,Unless the water is on that list, it is open to all, if you feel it should be on a "reserve" list ,register it,but until then it is Public Domain.

    A bit like ,you can sensibly park where you like,unless there is a double line,or obvious restrictions..

    Haggis

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    I wonder if there is a list of waters in Scotland that the public are not allowed on.
    If there is,it would be nice to be able to present a card with either a copy of the list or a website address containing it..
    The card could simply say ,Unless the water is on that list, it is open to all, if you feel it should be on a "reserve" list ,register it,but until then it is Public Domain.

    A bit like ,you can sensibly park where you like,unless there is a double line,or obvious restrictions..

    Haggis
    Easier to carry a copy of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and politely ask them to show you the bit that says you are not allowed to paddle your canoe on an SSSI or better still, show you a copy of their exemption order.
    I've spent the last two hours Googling this stuff and can find no mention of any of the 1437 SSSI's being exempt from the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003.
    At work tomorrow I'm going to print off the whole thing, laminate it, punch it, and put it in a folder, along with any favourable reply I get from the Perth and Kinross Access Officer, and any other relevant information I come across in the future.
    These paddlers in England and Wales seem under the impression that once they get a favourable land reform act, that they'll just paddle off into the sunset, boy are they in for a shocker

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    I live near Forfar, in the county of Angus, Scotland.
    Posts
    594

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    I wonder if there is a list of waters in Scotland that the public are not allowed on.
    If there is,it would be nice to be able to present a card with either a copy of the list or a website address containing it..
    The card could simply say ,Unless the water is on that list, it is open to all, if you feel it should be on a "reserve" list ,register it,but until then it is Public Domain.<br>
    <br>
    A bit like ,you can sensibly park where you like,unless there is a double line,or obvious restrictions..<br>
    <br>

    Haggis
    Easier to carry a copy of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and politely ask them to show you the bit that says you are not allowed to paddle your canoe on an SSSI or better still, show you a copy of their exemption order.I've spent the last two hours Googling this stuff and can find no mention of SSSI's being exempt from the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003.At work tomorrow I'm going to print off the whole thing, laminate it, punch it, and put it in a folder, along with any favourable reply I get from the Perth and Kinross Access Officer, and any other relevant information I come across in the future.

    These paddlers in England and Wales seem under the impression that once they get a favourable land reform act, that they'll just paddle off into the sunset, boy are they in for a shocker.
    .
    Put your postcode into this link to see how many SSSI's are close by, I had 10
    http://www.jasonwheeler.com/sssi_fin...ul&limitstr=10

  29. #29

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    Just joined this site today, was attracted by haggis's thread on otterson loch, Well I managed to have half an our on the water last sunday with no problems whatsoever.. a tractor even passed my car when I was out and a car entered the driveway of the house opposite the loch no approach by anyone which has to be good for us paddlers......p.s I was in a kayak....

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Fife Scotland
    Posts
    313

    Default

    That's good to hear,the occasional passage will help keep the artery open.

    Haggis

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