Hillwalking at Chesthill

Scotland offers excellent hillwalking, however Summer and Autumn are important times for deer stalking, which is essential for sustainable deer management.

The deer management programme here is very important to the livelihoods of local people and our employees and the welfare of the deer herd, so we would ask you to respect the guidance we offer.

View Deer management activity & alternative routes brochure

Walking needs to be fitted into the estate business programme and has to be managed. Responsible access is a public privilege.

A Message from the Estate to the Walking Community

The estate is subject to ever increasing access which is affecting wildlife operations and our estate business throughout the year. We would ask you to cooperate with the estate to mitigate these adverse environmental impacts. A sensible balance is needed if the uplands here are to remain sustainable (90 % of the estate being open hill moorland). These barren open areas support ground nesting birds, (ptarmigan, a few grouse, dotterel and plover, raptors) as well as other wildlife.

Disturbance impacts are felt particularly acutely by the animals and birds during the breeding seasons April to July, especially when walkers fail to follow the way marked recognised clockwise route to Carn Gorm and fail to control their dogs. In May June, July, straying from the recognised clockwise route chases calving hinds from the ground where they "heft" their calves. This is a process for the young which teaches them how to survive over their lives. Human intrusion and disturbance is destabilising to this.

Wildlife Legislation and the Access Code places a responsibility on walkers to avoid conflicting and disrupting animals and birds, especially during their breeding seasons, as well as deer management activity in the autumn.

Our policy is designed to give the public access and to advise on how to avoid conflicting with the estate's activities and business. With the support of the authorities from September through November, a short period over which the estate core business takes place, hill walking is discouraged on the hills north of Invervar. Our business underwrites jobs, conservation management, and animal welfare, as well as obliging Nature Scotland deer management policy.

Such sensibly reduced access is being encouraged by P&K Council and by Nature Scotland (through advice in the Access Code).

Access is available throughout most of the rest of the year December - August. Please work to the following guidelines:

- Follow the recognised route in a clockwise direction from Invervar, up the track, over the bridge, to the way marks( Orange and Green markers) which are signed westward to Carn Gorm. Walk up the east side of the ridge to the peak.
- Stay on the ridges and do not come down into the corries. Walk quietly - Avoid disturbing deer and birds.
- Keep dogs on leads at all times. This will avoid disturbing ground nesting birds and deer. Dogs cause disturbance and damage to wildlife and great stress to deer and their young at any time of year, but particularly in May - July, just after calves are borne.
- If you find a deer or deer calf, do not handle it.

If the car park at Invervar is full, please walk elsewhere. Do not park on the verges or in lay byes and passing places on this narrow road. The authorities will take a dim view!

In summer please be off the hill by well before dusk (7pm) to allow the hinds to return peacefully to their calves. (which they leave hidden during the day) (May to July).

We are relying on the public and hillwalkers to act responsibly within the Access Code and guidelines and seek alternative walks over this short period September – November annually.

Thank you for your cooperation in working towards sustainability and helping us achieve a better balance between man and nature as well as offering everyone the opportunity to enjoy the hills.

The  Heading for the Scottish Hills service helps you find out where this is taking place during the stag stalking season (1st July to 20th October, but with most stalking from August onwards), so you can plan routes which minimise the chance of disturbing stalking, in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Heading for the Scottish Hills

Access News Article and Nature Scotland advice