Yesterday, 30.June.2012, I rode my pony on a portion of "Croft" land. The gate was open. I used the land purely to teach my pony to jump some drainage ditches. No damage was done except, perhaps, a few 'hoofprints' left behind, on dry grassland! The owner of said Croft 'caught up' with me after I had left and was continuing on my ride on local highway. He was threateningly abusive, both verbally and intimidation-wise. My understanding of Scottish Tresspass is that, (a) we have the right to roam, and (b) that, without a proven order, (eg: written letter to "cease and desist" or a "Warning-off"), I would still have a right to either/both walk/ride on Crofters' Commission/Stornoway Trust Land? I neither would nor did enter land with stock on it, and it was clear that this was 'old' grazing, not newly reseeded pasture. Had the gate been closed/latched I would not have entered, assuming that a closed gate/access is a clear sign to not infringe! Please advise, particularly from the Scottish Tresspass Law/s aspect? Thanks!
Province/Country relating to question : Vatisker Village/Isle of Lewis/Outer Hebrides
Thank you for your question.From what you say you are not in contravention of the outdoor access code and were not trespassing. Trespass is the crime of lodging or camping on private land without the consent of the owner and has nothing to do with exercising the right to roam or use land for recreational purposes. You are entitled to use your horse on croft land provided that you do not cause damage to the ground or interfere with crops or other animals grazing there.A written letter or cease and desist notice are not relevant and have no legal basis as far as I am aware.Here is the official guidance for horse owners at this link:http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/out-and-about/recreation-activities/horse-riding/I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
27 years as a practising solicitor.
Dear JGM; You have just 'made my day!' Tried to enter 'rating' code, (smiley-face), but did not go through. Will try again. Meanwhile, know/use that my rating on this matter/reply is 5*/Great Big Smiley-Face! Thanks - Steph Noble/(XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX)
You are welcome.
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