Stay Safe in the Countryside

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust manages a diverse range of sites including the Fife Pilgrim Way, Fife Coastal Path, Lomond Hills Regional Park, beaches, nature reserves and many other sites. While not the dramatic landscapes of the Highlands, the terrain can be challenging in places and the Scottish weather can be unpredictable. We want you to enjoy your visit to Fife but ask that you abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Remember your safety is always your responsibility. Please follow the guidance below to ensure you stay safe.


Weather, Clothing and Route Conditions

  • For up-to-date weather forecasts, visit the Met Office website. Many of our walks have a link to local weather on the key information section of the page.
  • Hill fog on the Lomond Hills Regional Park or coastal fringes can descend even in summer, reducing visibility to a few metres. Paths can be rough and uneven under foot. Woodland and forest paths can be wet, muddy and slippery at any time of year. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, even on the shortest walks.
  • Our sea cliffs and moorland escarpments are dangerous – it’s not just the possibility of falling off them but of rocks falling from them. The cliffs can slump, and escarpment edges can crumble, so stay away from the bottom as well as taking care on the top.
  • On coastal walks, check the tide times. The Fife Coastal Path can be impassable at high tide (twice a day) in some places or you may need to use a high tide diversion. When planning a walk always allow adequate time to negotiate tidal sections of the route.
  • In dry weather there is a higher risk of moorland fires, started either accidentally or through carelessness. Pay attention to local notices about fire risks, including possible path closures. All moorland is closed at times of exceptional fire risk.
  • Winter walking presents other challenges, especially on the high moors. Make sure you have additional warm and waterproof clothing, and allow enough daylight time to complete your walk. Please download our FCCT Winter Walking Leaflet for some useful information.
  • Slips and falls are one of the most common risks that people face in the hills. This is especially true in the winter when paths can become almost impossible to walk on due to sheet ice. Whilst full mountaineering crampons are not appropriate for relatively low-level path walking, microspikes are an excellent in-between option. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and can slide on to almost any boot or shoe. Options like Kahtoola Microspikes or Yaktrax ice grips will allow you to walk on icy paths with increased confidence and make slips much less likely. The sturdy spikes will grip into frozen turf, icy paths and packed snow, whilst being easy to slip over your boots. Please note that microspikes should never be used as a replacement for full crampons, and are not designed to be used for mountaineering or on steep icy slopes.


  • Download the free what3words app before you head out on the hills. What3words is a simple way to talk about a precise location. It has divided the world into 3m squares and given each a unique 3 word address – so you can refer to any location with just 3 words.
  • Over the coming months we will be adding the unique 3 word address to many of the key locations we manage and the starting point of our walking routes.
  • The app also works offline and is compatible with offline navigation apps including ViewRanger. The emergency services and Mountain Rescue teams are also making use of it to help locate people in more remote locations. While it doesn’t substitute for a map when route planning, it is another useful tool for emergencies.

Livestock and Animals

  • The Scottish Outdoor Access Code  provides guidance to ensure that a visit to the countryside is safe and enjoyable. Please read our guidance on walking with dogs.
  • Access rights extend to fields with farm animals, but remember that some animals, particularly cows with calves but also horses, pigs and farmed deer, can react aggressively towards people. Before entering a field, check to see what alternatives there are. If you are in a field of farm animals, keep a safe distance and watch them carefully. If you have a dog with you, see the guidance on dogs.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to people by ticks.

  • You can pick up ticks by brushing through tall vegetation like bracken, but you can minimise the risk by wearing long-sleeved shirts and leaving no gap between footwear and trousers. Insect repellent may also help.
  • If you find a tick on your skin, do not try to squeeze, twist or crush the tick with your fingers – remove it with a proper tick-removal tool or seek medical advice. Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to try and force the tick out. Ticks are very small and their bites can go unnoticed at first. A common symptom of Lyme disease is a red circular rash (the so-called ‘bull’s eye’ rash) appearing anywhere on the body.
  • For more information see the advice offered on the NHS Scotland