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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.

Access & Environment Policy Committee

To contact the Access & Environment Policy Committee please email:

The committee consists of the following SCA members:

  • Gavin Millar
  • Jonathan Kitching
  • Grant Dolier
  • Dave Rossetter
  • Robin Cole
  • Eddie Palmer

Andy Jackson Fund for Access

The Andy Jackson Fund for Access is a registered Scottish Charity SCO38644 - a separate entity from the Scottish Canoe Association. It provides grant aid to projects which promote and protect access to water in Scotland for the sport of canoeing:

Principles and Goals

The principles and goals of the Fund are:

  • Protecting Access
  • Promote and protect access to water in Scotland for the population, by improving and enhancing physical access to waterways
  • To advance the education and understanding of the public in the subject of responsible access to water in Scotland
  • To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the water environment and Scottish waters for their own sake, for the inspiration they give to humanity and for future generations, by promoting good practice by those taking access to water, by bringing to public attention environmentally harmful practices etc. and by practical intervention
  • Improve public participation in healthy paddle sports and recreation by both promoting education of responsible access and physical improvements to improve access to water

The Way the Fund Works

The Fund is run and administered by a Board of Trustees.  The Trustees oversee all applications to the Fund for assistance.  Applications are evaluated in relation to the principles and goals of the Fund

Income Sources

Funding comes from a number of sources including:

  • Scottish Whitewater Guidebook
  • Donations
  • Proceeds from Guidebook sales
  • A proportion of proceeds from Andy Jackson's biography - "Tall Stories"
  • Profits from annual SCA "Wet West Paddlefest" (previously the "Andy Jackson Memorial Weekend")

Relationship to the SCA

The Andy Jackson Fund for Access has three connections to the SCA:

  • The SCA has published and sells a number of Guidebooks, proceeds of which go to the Fund
  • The SCA Access Committee is the main point of contact for access issues relating to canoeing in Scotland. The Access Committee may apply to the Fund for financial help when addressing these issues
  • The SCA may nominate some of the Fund's Trustees

How to Apply

In the first instance, applicants are encouraged to approach the SCA Access Committee. However, anyone can also apply to the fund directly.  An application form is available from the fund trustees or alternatively via the SCA