The Freedom to Roam, unburdened of fences and posted signs, angry landowners and angrier guard dogs, is a shared dream among adventurers. Scotland codified it in 2003. The Land Reform Act puts it pretty plainly: every person has the statutory right “to be… on land” — that is, all of it in the nation — and has “the right to cross” that land. Within guidelines for respectful use, recreational or educational, that means any Joe Scot can bring a backpack, a tent, and a friend and saunter cross-country, going where they please among the nation’s 30,000 square miles — many of them unpopulated, all of them free of any major predators besides the biting midges that emerge during the summer months. That is to say: pure adventure.
This sounded romanticized. So we set out to test it.
What we found was one of the most beautiful, alluring places on earth. Population density low, individual kindness high. Big country, history and culture. A food renaissance. And a national drink worth a flight halfway round the world all on its own.
And now we turn over our travel notes to you. Fifty stories — essays, videos, anecdotes, photo essays, travel guides, fibs, tall tales, recipes, folklore and history and poetry — from three men in Scotland, poised and bewildered, anxious and luxuriating, frustrated and joyful. But always curious, and always seeking that sweet spirit alive in the Right to Roam. Live it with us.