The Right To Roam

One of the great advantages of living in Scotland is the right to roam. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 comprehensively codified into Scots law the ancient tradition of the right to universal access to the land in Scotland. This means that anyone has a right to be on land for recreational, educational and certain other purposes and a right to cross land. These rights exist only if they are exercised responsibly and apply to all non-motorised activities (walking, cycling, horse-riding and wild camping). Of course it is necessary to respect the landowners rights regarding livestock, crops etc. but the application of a little common sense is sufficient.

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If you have been following my blog you will know that I have recently been investigating some of the ancient monuments and soon realised that it may only be a small percentage of them are actually mapped. This is particularly true of cairns, typically a mound of rough stones erected as a memorial or landmark, often on a hilltop or skyline. The nearby Torhouse Stone Circle is the perhaps the most significant of these in the local area but who knows what lies undiscovered in the surrounding countryside?

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As part of my ecoarts project, I am hoping to work towards living sculptures i.e. something that can exist outside and grow/change within the environment. Scotland’s great outdoors provides a spectacular backdrop as well as a source of inspiration. Today I stopped to investigate some stone structures in fields that were slightly off the beaten track. One of the main hazards of using your freedom to roam about here is undoubtedly cattle. You have to weigh up your options once you leave the main road and always be careful to close gates behind you. Fortunately only sheep were spectators to my first exploration among the stones.

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Even with all of today’s wonderful technology it is still difficult to find out a great deal about your local landmarks. I suppose there will be records in existence somewhere to tell me whether I am looking at a random heap of stones from an old farm building or perhaps some prehistoric monument! There appeared to several raised areas within this one field and it was easy to speculate that this may have been a burial site of some kind in the distant past.

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Stones very often take on a character of their own, particularly when you are able to associate the shape with something. My digital camera is invaluable for storing these images for reference purposes, although I was unable to pinpoint anything on the geographical maps when I returned from my visit today. There are cairns listed in the area and they will require further “off road” navigation.

I am gradually building up quite a library of images and uploading them free to Bigvyor.com. The site is completely free to join and you can set up your own galleries and even sell your work online. Whether you are a photographer or artist, or even if you just want to share a visual scrapbook, it is a great resource.

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