Carrying fixed blades whilst wild camping

  • UPDATE - The main upgrade is now finished. The site should now be functioning as normal, I will be making tweaks over the weekend, particularly to look of the site. If you notice something is broken or have any comments please let me know. Many thanks Matt (Lithril)

dannyk64

Full Member
Apr 1, 2015
106
17
Nottingham
Hi,

I am planning on doing some wild camping in may to the west of Fort William for a couple of weeks and thought I would contact the local police to get some advise in regards to carrying my edged tools just to be on the safe side.

The tools I'm carrying will be a Small Forest Axe, Helle Harding (4inch fixed blade), Laplander

so the Local police replied and have effectively said that I can carry the Axe and Laplander fine as I have a reasonable excuse however carrying the knife is illegal and if I happened to be stopped (I know it is unlikely) I would be arrested despite my reasons as it would not be exempt under the work/religion/national costume sections of the legislation.

This has confused me slightly as I previously had the same conversation with Nottinghamshire Police and they told me that participating in bush craft as a hobby was a reasonable excuse to have all three and that as long as I kept them in a closed bag when not in use and was sensible in using the tools it was fine.

So I have two conflicting statements from two different police forces which I find slightly confusing.

If anyone has any experiences with the police regarding fixed blade knifes or carrying them in the highlands would love to hear what you have to say.

p.s.

does it not seem slightly funny that I can roam around the highlands with a axe but not a fixed blade knife?
 

artschool

Forager
Sep 14, 2014
111
0
chester
tell them you are of scottish heritage and you will be wearing a kilt and that you are carrying a fixed blade dirk as part of national costume.
 

dannyk64

Full Member
Apr 1, 2015
106
17
Nottingham
tell them you are of scottish heritage and you will be wearing a kilt and that you are carrying a fixed blade dirk as part of national costume.
:lmao: that's actually a really good idea, my dads still got his lein croich somewhere will have to make sure I pack it
 

Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,164
492
Cornwall
I do agree it would be unlikely that you would be stopped.............................however
Although on the face of it, it would seem that you have a reasonable excuse to carry a fixed blade knife, ie. camping, bushcraft activities, there are two things to take into account, 1. Scottish law is different than English law, and there may be local byelaws in regard to carrying a fixed blade knife (in the area you asked the police about) for instance in a National park which may be regarded as a public place, and secondly it is basically up to the Police to ascertain whether in their opinion you are in breach of the law regarding carrying a knife, and if prosecuted your responsibility to argue your case in respect of a reasonable reason to carry a knife.
Now it may seem odd that you can carry an axe but not a knife, but wouldn't it be more normal to see someone in a forested area with an axe rather than a knife?,most people seeing someone with an axe in a forest would assume they are collecting firewood, doing tree management, camping etc, yet if they saw someone brandishing a knife, what would they think then? Unfortunately we cannot win, the law is against us, my advice when carrying a knife is keep it out of site at all times, until you have made your camp and are sure you are on your own (or with like minded colleagues).

PS. Make sure you are up to date on the new Guidelines for camping in the Loch Lomond and other areas in Scotland
As far as I know even if you wear a Kilt, you can only carry a dirk in your stocking, and a dirk is not much use to to you when wild camping.......lol
 
Last edited:

dannyk64

Full Member
Apr 1, 2015
106
17
Nottingham
Cheers for the reply and advice mate, recon I might order a svord peasant knife and file it down slightly to 3inch see how i get on with it for a few weeks and take that. I'm not a big fan of folders but i like the look of the extended tang.
 

ValeTudoGuy

Nomad
Mar 8, 2017
325
0
Preston, England
Given they have a record of correspondence, I suggest you take heed. We can speculate all we like... But if the worst happens and they charge you it will really affect your defence. You basicaly wont have any defence.
 
Last edited:

Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
Not this again.


[EDIT: What follows is factually incorrect for Scotland]
Section 139 applies to:

(2)Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except a folding pocketknife.

(3)This section applies to a folding pocketknife if the cutting edge of its blade exceeds 3 inches
Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/33/section/139

That includes the axe you've had confirmation from plod that you can carry. Their advice is confusing and, just possibly, shows that they don't understand section 139 very well. Either ask for clarification as to which law they are using OR don't carry either.
 
Last edited:

Suwarrow

Member
Jul 7, 2016
40
0
London
Copy and paste from CPS website:

"Defence
The defendant is entitled to be acquitted if he shows on the balance of probabilities that:
- he had "good reason or lawful authority" for having the bladed or pointed article; or..."

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/offensive_weapons_knives_bladed_and_pointed_articles/#a11

Good reason is highly subjective. Hence why the officers that issued the advice believe it is reasonable to carry an axe but not a knife when both implements are covered under the section. They clearly believe there is no need for a fixed blade knife in this circumstance. Others including a court may disagree.

How you are using it or carrying it may inform an officer's opinion of whether you have reasonable grounds (i.e. if it's on your belt when you are nowhere near where you might use it).

The more tactical your knife looks the less likely you are going to be able to persuade an officer that you are carrying it to process wood or for bushcraft.

To be safe in this instance I would heed their advice (you have it in writing) and perhaps take a folding knife instead that meets the requirements (folding pocket knife with a cutting edge of less than 7.62cm/3 inches)

Also as a previous poster mentioned there may be local bylaws in place that further prohibit the carrying of fixed blade knives.




Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

ol smokey

Full Member
Oct 16, 2006
433
1
Scotland
Someone is getting mixed up between a dirk and a skean dubh . A dirk is a large knife about half the length of a sword, and is worn at waist level an may have a knife and fork in sheaths on the front of the main sheath.
The one worn in the stocking is a skean dubh and has a blade about three to four inches in length. Wearing either, other
than in full highland dress, on a special occasion such as a wedding, is likely to get you in trouble with the police.
Some folk have thought that they could get away with wearing either of these weapons,(because that is what they are)
along with a cheap tourist kilt to go to a Scottish football match wearing a T shirt and climbing boots but they are
breaking the law. This comes into the same legislation as other religious dress such as the Sikh Kirpan is part of their national dress. Full Highland dress will cost you about £500 , so is an expensive way to try and get round the law by a back door. It would not be found roaming around in the woods, so wound be out of character, and not be a defence.
 
Last edited:

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,830
142
Knowhere
Someone is getting mixed up between a dirk and a skean dubh . A dirk is a large knife about half the length of a sword, and is worn at waist level an may have a knife and fork in sheaths on the front of the main sheath.
The one worn in the stocking is a skean dubh and has a blade about three to four inches in length. Wearing either, other
than in full highland dress, on a special occasion such as a wedding, is likely to get you in trouble with the police.
Some folk have thought that they could get away with wearing either of these weapons,(because that is what they are)
along with a cheap tourist kilt to go to a Scottish football match wearing a T shirt and climbing boots but they are
breaking the law. This comes into the same legislation as other religious dress such as the Sikh Kirkpatrick is part of their
full ceremonial dress. Full Highland dress will cost you about £500 , so is an expensive way to try and get round the law
by a back door. It would not be found roamed ng around in the woods, so wound be out of character.
A month or so ago I was in Edinburgh and there was a guy on the Royal Mile, with his face painted blue, with a whacking great claymore. I wonder if he had a licence for it :) On another occasion I did walk through central Edinburgh in a kilt with a dirk hanging from my belt, I had taken the precaution to replace the blade with a plastic imitation, but nobody stopped me to inquire whether it was fake or not, they were more interested in having there pictures taken standing next to me. I was attending an international conference and the hotel security were not in the least troubled by my appearance. I suppose I was taking a bit of a risk though as I had a butter knife and fork in the sheath as I sometimes wonder whether in some circumstances you could not find yourself arrested for carrying a KFS as technically you have a fixed blade over 3 inches. On the subject of sgian dubhs there is a modern safety alternative now, the sgian brew, which instead of a knife blade features a bottle opener.
 

dannyk64

Full Member
Apr 1, 2015
106
17
Nottingham
Cheers for the replies,

checked the byelaws and they don't prohibit anything

Only reason I contacted them was due to a previous run in with the police where a friend got his knife confiscated when he was pulled over as we left the woods (he'd left it dangling around his neck.).

the officer copy and pasted the full Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 - 47 Prohibition of the carrying of offensive weapons

His interpretation was that the axe and saw are tools - so reasonable excuse exists
Fixed blade knives are not acceptable under any circumstance apart from Work/Religion/National dress

I've ordered myself a folder and will stick to that whilst in Scotland
 

artschool

Forager
Sep 14, 2014
111
0
chester
Cheers for the replies,

checked the byelaws and they don't prohibit anything

Only reason I contacted them was due to a previous run in with the police where a friend got his knife confiscated when he was pulled over as we left the woods (he'd left it dangling around his neck.).

the officer copy and pasted the full Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 - 47 Prohibition of the carrying of offensive weapons

His interpretation was that the axe and saw are tools - so reasonable excuse exists
Fixed blade knives are not acceptable under any circumstance apart from Work/Religion/National dress

I've ordered myself a folder and will stick to that whilst in Scotland
thats interesting. I am off deer stalking in scotland at the weekend and will be carrying multiple mora knives as well as my fallkniven F1.
 

brambles

Settler
Apr 26, 2012
731
21
Aberdeenshire
Not this again. Section 139 applies to:



Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/33/section/139


That includes the axe you've had confirmation from plod that you can carry. Their advice is confusing and, just possibly, shows that they don't understand section 139 very well. Either ask for clarification as to which law they are using OR don't carry either.
Wrong country. Wrong law. Wrong advice.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,412
1,111
55
W.Sussex
Wrong country. Wrong law. Wrong advice.
Its UK law, that includes Scotland. And I believe the point being made is that it applies to bladed and pointed items, there's no difference between the axe and knife in law.

The police sometimes don't fully understand s139, and the advice given in this case is wrong. If you have good reason to carry your knife, and bushcraft is a perfectly good one, then carry it. You would have a perfectly good defense, as should it come to it, a judge would at least be more familiar with the law than local plod.

Having said that I know of one BB member who had his legal EDC Spyderco taken from him because the policeman said it locked because he could hear it click!

And a gardener friend of mine had his bill hook and other tools removed from his van and had to attend court. Only for the judge to charge the policeman with wasting his and the gardeners time.
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,830
142
Knowhere
Its UK law, that includes Scotland. And I believe the point being made is that it applies to bladed and pointed items, there's no difference between the axe and knife in law.

The police sometimes don't fully understand s139, and the advice given in this case is wrong. If you have good reason to carry your knife, and bushcraft is a perfectly good one, then carry it. You would have a perfectly good defense, as should it come to it, a judge would at least be more familiar with the law than local plod.

Having said that I know of one BB member who had his legal EDC Spyderco taken from him because the policeman said it locked because he could hear it click!

And a gardener friend of mine had his bill hook and other tools removed from his van and had to attend court. Only for the judge to charge the policeman with wasting his and the gardeners time.
Regardless of whether the police understand the law correctly, they are the ones who are on the front line enforcing it, so unless you really want your day in court, you would be wise to heed the local advice, of course if you wave an axe about like a viking berserker, you'll get arrested for that too. I think what is happening with the advice is that an axe not only does not look like a knife, it is easier to justify as a tool and something used for work than a knife in the circumstances. There are fine lines to be drawn between what is camping, and what is bushcrafting or whatever other country pursuits you are involved in such as fishing or hunting where I don't think a knife would be a problem. Ironically I cannot think that the police would object if you had a set of chefs knives in your caravan, it is all down to that balance of probabilities thing as to how succesful the defence would be. Scotland seem to have some wierd notions about a lot of things, and back in the days of the Glasgow razor gangs, I do not think it was much of a defence to say that you were carrying one so you could keep yourself well groomed.
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,830
142
Knowhere
I used to be a Bobby and English Police have no authority in Scotland as their legislation is different. Sorry.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Does that mean if they are in hot pursuit up the A1 they cannot cross the state line or have I been watching to many US movies?