What's your activating experience with landowners?

Related to thread …

I’m sure there’s a wealth of experience to be shared on this so I’ve created a new topic.

In my experience I’ve never had a landowner or tenant farmer be rude to me once he knew what I was doing. For the few times a farmer has bothered to come up and talk to me we had a long chat on local history, etc. I think most are bothered about people lighting fires and leaving messes for the farmer to clear up.

I would definitely go to the trig point / summit to activate. Most reasonable landowners, once you explain you’re there only for an hour or so and will leave nothing behind, will be content to let you stay.

As for asking prior permission, it can be devilishly difficult to determine who the landowner is. So [unless you know it’s government / military land] go ahead and activate. If approached, be polite - the worse than can happen is you will be told to leave.


I have been moved on. The MT discouraged public discussion.
Edit -
also worth noting that the legal situation is completely different in NI, Scotland and England&Wales.

In Scotland there are definite and specific reasons why you cannot go where you want some or any of the time. But mostly you can go where you want when you want to do so.

In Scotland, most of the access issues I have fallen into two groups: parking and stalking. I’ve never been refused permission to park or to drive on private roads/tracks when making advance arrangements by email/phone or when turning up on spec and asking anyone who I could find. If I didn’t find anyone, I parked elsewhere. In all cases the owners/stalker have been positive someone was making an effort to ensure they were not causing a problem. I have agreed specific routes of ingress and egress with stalkers and also agreed to notify them if I changed plans and wasn’t accessing on the agreed date.

Making advance contact is hard work most of the time. But Google and decent maps and a dogged determination are really all that is needed to make contact. A possible issue to requesting vehicle access is the landowner’s concern if your vehicle is not up to off-road driving. Luckily I have a HiLux available and in once case telling the owner that meant he was happy. His concern was right, needed good suspension travel and 4WD-LO to get back up. Probably could have done it in any SUV that had half-decent AWD and decent tyres (no low profile/19in wheels nonsense) but a car may have failed or lost its exhaust system.

I’ve never been asked to leave or had angry owners complaining.

There is a hotel on FL/VO-002. I would recommend not to become active within sight of the hotel.
The owner immediately shouted at me and set about breaking my telescopic mast that I had attached to a fence post with Velcro.
There is a sign on the driveway saying that radio communication from the hotel car park is prohibited. I was about 50m from the hotel on a hiking trail…

This is the only bad experience I have ever had.
I think very few peaks are private property… and if they are, I haven’t noticed anything yet.

73 Armin

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Picture of FL/VO-002 and the famous sign:


I have been down this road several times and approached it from several angles. None seem to be desirable. Here is the states everybody has guns :gun:

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I’ve been there few month ago.
I’ve been more lucky than you, I got enough time to valid my activity.
This summit is a double challenge, you have to valid ur SOTA before meeting the « cool » hotel owner.
I did it one time and for sure I will never return there. So many people, every where.

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Another may be that the parking spot you had your eye on was in an area where big broon coos roam. Paul and I had this on Islay. The estate wanted us to park at a specific location which was quite a bit further away from the three summits we were tackling which made it a longer walk. However, our disappointment evaporated once we realised we would still have a vehicle to drive at the end of the day and not a pulverised heap of metal. :smile:

I would say activating in Scotland is a real pleasure. It would be brilliant if the other parts of the UK had the same rights. The farmers have also been very friendly, even to the extent where on a couple of occasions I have been beckoned through a farmyard when stood at a gate pondering the best way round. One landowner even went to the extent of suggesting I drive beyond the parking spot I was asking about, up a green lane and park at the top, not far from the actual summit. Saying thank you to such people goes a long way and may prepare the way for others.

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I’ve no experience with LandRovers but had great results in the past from my van

Craig 2e0vrx


That’s a slight exaggeration and almost falls into the category of “disinformation”.


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My strategy for this specific summit: Activate during a SOTA multiple activation weekend first thing in the morning on day 2. I activated twice near the hiking path a few metres below the summit, out of sight of the hotel.

73 Jens HB9EKO

I have built up a list of Private land holders phone numbers whom I call a couple days before I visit the summit on their land. Things I do to prevent getting in trouble and losing access is : Never go to summits during fire ban season or our summer. Always ask farmers about the Lambing cycle for their sheep nothing worse than have all these young lambs following you because their mothers have run off. Give them a bottle of nice wine most visits must have given 10 dozen wines away since I started. Even though some summits in vk5 have a gazetted unmade roadway to the summit some farmers still denie access sometimes, so I don’t push my luck. Land ownership might change so you need to deal with the new owners or they may not give access, lost two summits for that reason. The summits in Conservation Areas are usually ok but sometimes they are closed for reasons so it pays to check Parks website before heading off to find a closed sign when you get there. Ring up don’t Rock up and leave the place as you found it usually works for me.
vk5cz …


My experiences both pre & post my discovering SOTA have been generally positive, both with game keepers and once in Scotland activating Little Wyvis (GM/NS–050) quite delightful.

On my way down I met the farmer who was struggling to coral 3 or 4 largish calves into another field. I offered to help, which he accepted and we soon got them moved. He was quite chatty and offered me a lift down in his pick up. (the road almost reaches the summit). Never the one to look a gift horse in the mouth I accepted. I obviously told him what I was doing and then discovered he was interested in all sorts of stuff: He’d built his own house from trees he’d grown, he was feeding wild eagles and hoped to remove all the spruce off his land and replace them with native trees. . I got a free tour of his house and garden!! And an offer to run me up the hill next time I was passing. !!


I have to say that every farmer or landowner that I’ve ever had interactions with has been very pleasant. Many of them also enjoy a friendly chat.

My parents brought me up on the philosophy of “treat others how you would like to be treated yourself”.

As a landowner myself, I would be a little uncomfortable with people showing up unannounced & setting up in my field. Especially if I wasn’t a radio amateur & didn’t know/understand what they were doing. Hence my reluctance to just pitch up unannounced.

I think most landowners are fairly accommodating if you are respectful, reasonable with your request & get their permission first.

I have been approached by several people over the years asking if they can “borrow” my field for various purposes. I have never said no to anyone yet.

Some of the requests I have received have been a little surprising & unexpected:-

  • I have allowed several metal detector enthusiasts to go in there, albeit that I set very strict & clearly defined boundaries for them as I didn’t want them digging up the radials for my 80m 1/4 wave vertical or my buried feeder cables!!!

  • I let someone to use it for a firework display & large fire for a private bonfire night party. It was actually an incredibly good night. I got a free firework display, a load of cake from the buffet to take home with me & a bottle of vodka out of it. As a bonus, they also burnt all of my rubbish on the bonfire!

  • I have given a key to the local amateur radio club for their field days with a condition that they are “secondary users” & must contact me in advance to ensure that there won’t be any clashes with other activities. They have also said that they will assist with erecting antennas if I ever need it (I’ve got a bit of an antenna farm going on there).

  • I’ve also got an agreement with another local land owner for them to put their horses in the field in return for occasional help with maintenance. The horses make great lawn mowers (which means that I don’t have to spend hours driving round on a lawnmower). It is also handy to have free tractor & driver hire on speed dial if I need something ripped out of the ground with the hydraulic lift or if I manage to get my vehicle stuck in the field!!!

My point is that I think most landowners would be fairly accommodating once they understand what’s going on, but I personally would want people to ask me first, rather than just showing up out of the blue.

There lies the problem!

In an ideal world I would always favour asking the landowner. As you rightly point out this is very difficult to work out. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start with this.

In the States, land ownership and property rights is serious. I got kicked off a guys land last summer for attempting a SOTA hike. Pretty sure he was armed and after trying to explain SOTA a couple of times decided it wasn’t worth it.

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I only had issues once during my SOTA career.

Being warned by remarks on www.hb9sota.ch, I stayed out of the webcam view when activating HB/BE-048.

73 Jens HB9EKO

Despite reading this thread and updates several times before, I still get caught by reading the title as either

  • activating with land owners, ie. taking them up to the summit with you
  • activating experience with lawnmowers.

I think one other person read it as Landrovers. Or pretended to…

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Andrew, thanks for fixing my typo in ‘activating’.

‘Land owner’ and ‘landowner’ are both acceptable forms. But since you brought it to my attention the more I look at ‘landowner’ the more it looks like lan-downer.

Hi Andy,

I am trying to work out what a lan-downer is, perhaps a defunct DHCP server?

Or a duplicate ip address somewhere.


73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Mast base under front wheel?