The Highlands of Scotland offers some of the most spectacular flying in the UK, on the right day! Progressive access laws coupled with spectacular and largely uninhabited mountain landscapes make for exciting, challenging and potentially hugely rewarding flying experiences.
The Highland Club welcomes visiting pilots from all over the world. We encourage you to contact us if you want to fly in the Highlands.
Not only will we welcome you but we will assist you in finding suitable sites, navigating our unpredictable Scottish weather, understanding the limitations of the Right to Roam land access laws in Scotland and quirky land management customs.
We have a number of sites at which we have negotiated special access agreements and/or drive up permissions (particularly important to our hang glider pilots) with landowners. It is vital that you contact us before heading for any of these sites and ensure all site rules are applied should permission be granted for you to fly there. (See below).
Scotland has a long standing tradition of red deer stalking and grouse shooting, which take place right across the Highlands at certain times of year. It is vital that we respect these practices and work with land owners and managers to maintain the access that we currently enjoy.
Please get in touch. You’ll find us a very friendly and welcoming bunch!
There is only one airport in the Highlands, located in the vecinity of Inverness.
Caution and adequate research and planning needs to be done prior taking up to the hills anyway. During weekdays fighter Jets frequently fly across the Highlands. It is therefore vital to check the NOTAM (Notices to Airmen) whenever we are planning to head out and submit a Civil Aircraft Notification Procedure (CANP) .
Sites with Access Agreements
Over many years special access agreements have been agreed with land owners and Inverness Airport. It is vital that all pilots – whether resident or visiting – adhere to these agreements.
This coastal soaring site, which works on a sea breeze or a NE met wind between about 7 and 9 miles an hour can accommodate a small number of gliders and is often popular on summer evenings.
Prior to flying at Alturlie pilots MUST phone Dalcross Airport Control Tower on 01667 464000 and advise the duty controller of their intention to fly. You will be asked for a flight ceiling (usually 300ft AGL) and the number of pilots active. Alturlie can only really accommodate 2 or 3 gliders in the air at the same time.
It is essential that the last pilot to leave the site also phones the Control Tower to advise that flying activity has ceased for the day. This is a delicate site, in full view of the Control Tower and incoming/out-going air traffic. It is highly likely that the access situation will change in the future as airspace changes to Inverness Airport are currently in the pipeline. It is therefore vital that any pilot flying at Alturlie adheres to these arrangements.
Ben Bhraggie – Golspie
The Club has an agreement with Sutherland Estates for members to have drive up access to the monument. This site is mainly flown by hang gliders due to the extensive area of Forest below take off. There are two locked gates on route with access keys/codes strictly limited. While the site is available for anyone to fly if they walk up, the Estate has asked that their Liability Disclaimer form (attached) be completed and put through the letter box of the Estate Office before heading up the hill on any flying day. This is essential for anyone driving up but the club asks that any other free fliers also comply with this request from this very supportive Estate. If you would like more information about the use of Ben Bhraggie please complete the contact form in the first instance.
Hang Glider pilots have restricted permission to drive up part way to a very specific launch area at certain times of the year to allow hang gliding at this very valuable site. This permission has been granted on the condition that we do all we can to ensure that all free fliers keep away from the extensive areas of grouse moor on this estate except where specific permission has been granted. This is to protect the habitat for grouse and the livelihood of those who work this land. We therefore ask that anyone wishing to fly in this area should contact us using the contact form and refrain from walking up to any nice looking take off points in the area as this could jeopardise hang gliding access in the future. If you would like more information about restrictions to flying on Lochindorb Estate please complete the contact form in the first instance.
There is currently no access to Cairngorm via the funicular.
The Highland Club is currently in discussion with the relevant bodies over possible future access. In the meantime pedestrian access is open to all, but please act responsibly and try to avoid entering conservation areas (anything outside of Coire Cas or Coire Ciste).