This chapter is about the kinds of inhabitation of the landscape that are made possible by outdoor access rights in Scotland, with reference to walking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparisons are also made to the Nordic practice of allemansrätten. The pandemic was a particularly acute example of how political and legal structures can shape the everyday experience of movement, and in some ways also brought to light the ways in which governance is reified and made real through ordinary life. In Scotland, outdoor access rights were severely curtailed during the pandemic, but at the same time they were enacted locally in distinctive ways. The perceived ‘margins’ of the landscape were no longer the remote rural parts of the country, but instead became the previously unthought-about and sometimes unnoticed surroundings in people’s immediate lifeworlds. Margins came much closer to home and the forms of mobility used to access them changed. I use Glick Schiller and Salazar’s concept of ‘regimes of mobilities’ to explore the regulation and surveillance of local mobilities in the pandemic, and Salazar’s distinction of essential and existential mobilities to explore people’s responses. Aesthetic relationships with landscape were also grounded in everyday, close to home movements.


Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material.

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Vergunst, J. 2023, 'Inhabiting the landscape through access rights and the COVID-19 pandemic', Mobilities on the Margins, pp. 245-262. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-41344-5_13

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Last updated: 08 December 2023
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