Access in Scotland
Scotland has some of the best paddling environments in the world and we have a right of responsible access to them. With our rights come responsibilities. This part of the SCA website is dedicated to providing you with the information needed to enjoy our sport in Scotland responsibly and with sensitivity to our environment.
The SCA does not enter into agreements with landowners that restrict access to water, as we believe canoeing is a legitimate activity and paddlers are entitled to make their own decisions about when and where to paddle. Individual clubs and other organisations are free to make their own agreements with landowners, but it must be made clear to the landowners that these only apply to the specific club or individuals involved, and not other paddlers in general. Some landowners and their representatives may try to deter paddlers claiming that there is "an agreement" with the SCA to control paddling. No such agreements exist at present, but please let the office know if you are challenged in this way, as we are aware that there may be some misunderstandings from times past that require quick resolution.
The SCA is willing to pass on landowners' comments on other uses of lochs and rivers and preferred paddling times in order that paddlers can make their decisions based on a full knowledge of that particular stretch of water. The SCA will also negoiate about access and egress points to water (particularly where vehicle access is concerned) and paddlers are asked in the interests of good relations to use these where they have been established.
Access Rights in Scotland
The SCA played a key role in helping develop the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which together form the basis of our responsible right of access to most land and inland waters. The access arrangements in Scotland work on the basis of balancing rights and responsibilities. The SCA has condensed the relevant rights and responsibilities for canoeists in the Paddlers' Access Code that is available as a leaflet, as well as on this website. SCA policy has been not to devise or agree specific versions of this leaflet for individual rivers, lochs and canals.
Encounter an Access Problem?
Please fill in this form to inform us of any issues you come across.
For further information on any current access issues, please visit the Access page.