Here you'll find our policies on everything from magnet fishing to wild camping.
Scotland’s canals are vibrant and, increasingly, bustling spaces. Visit us and you could see boaters, walkers, cyclists, anglers, kayakers, rowers and even horses and riders enjoying the diverse environment provided by our inland waterways. We’re proud to offer so many different opportunities for people to enjoy themselves on and along our canals, and pleased to see more and more people doing so.
However, with so many different activities taking place, it does mean that people need to share the space responsibly and considerately. Doing so helps to ensure our canals are a much more integrated multi-use space to be enjoyed by all. To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by and on the water, we asked you to help us develop a users’ code and this is the result. It provides easy to understand and follow guidelines for sharing the land and water along Scotland’s canal network and what to expect of other users.
Scottish reservoirs have had free open swimming access since 2003.
Nearly all of Scotland’s 800 reservoirs have free open access for swimming and have done since 2003 when the Land Reform Act provided public access rights to most inland water. To Scottish people the idea of swimming in reservoirs is completely normal. Swimming in reservoirs is also perfectly legal and normal in many other European countries.
No open water swimming on lochs/canals.
Lakes and Lochs can vary considerably in size, but they are commonly large expanses of deep, cold water, formed when natural basins fill with water flowing from rivers and streams or from the water table.
You can see more about this on the National Water Safety website here.
Download the Towpath Code of Conduct - Learn about the general rights and responsibilities.
Find out more about our polices on camping, wildcamping, motorhomes and caravans