Dave Windle

In the previous issue of Mountain Views, reference was made to work ongoing to develop a best practice guide for ATV use in the Cairngorms National Park. The following work-in-progress has been discussed in the full group but remains in progress. The following will help to give an idea of the sort of areas that it will cover.

Example of ATV tracks, Glen Derry ©Joe Dorward, 2017, CC BY-SA2.0

Best practice guide for ATV use in the Cairngorms National Park

What's this guide for?

The aim of this guide is to help you to make good use of all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) on the open hill in the Cairngorms National Park. It does not cover use of ATVs in forests or on farms.

In this guide "ATV use" includes any powered vehicle used off-road, off-constructed tracks and on the open hill, including for example: quad bikes, Argocats and Landrovers.

Why do I need this guide?

ATVs are extremely useful for upland management, often in remote, hard to reach areas. They can also have serious long-term impacts on the ground leading to unnecessary, expensive repairs and avoidable damage to habitats and landscapes.

This guide is to help you to do all you reasonably can to look after your hill by:

Before setting out

When planning your routes you should avoid vulnerable areas and sensitive sites as much as possible, these include:

Many people using ATVs need to access the same areas repeatedly, maybe several times a year, several times a month or even daily. It is easy to get into the habit of repeatedly going over the same route. It may be time to review what you're doing, look over the whole area and carefully re-consider all your options. For example:

Top tips

The following points are a checklist of ways to minimise unnecessary damage:

Unnecessary track duplication, Geallaig ©Jean Robinson

And finally

If damage is unavoidable

Sometimes there may be no viable alternative to using an ATV and the location makes it very difficult to avoid damage. In these cases small-scale measures such as temporary matting or small bridges can help reduce further impacts. If you think you need to input materials please check first with the CNPA planning team for advice on whether or not you require planning permission. Email: or phone 01479873535.

ATV safety

This is not a "safety guide". It is a legal requirement for employers to provide adequate training for employees who use ATVs. For further information on training for safe use of ATVs please visit:

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