Comparative naked rambling law
Being in comparative studies mode at the moment, Scots Law News has learned that Scotland is not the only country to criminalise nude pedestrianism.
Thanks to Der Spiegel Online and The Guardian for 29 January 2009, we can inform our readers that the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Switzerland, is in the process of passing a law to make naked rambling a criminal offence. Apparently the area has gained a reputation via the Internet as an ideal venue for the pastime. When last autumn local police arrested a boots-only hiker passing through the area, they had to let him go because there was no law against what he was doing. (Swiss law, it should be pointed out, is code-based and doesn’t have anything like these handy catch-all common law offences such as breach of the peace: they believe that legislators should make law, not judges.)
Der Spiegel notes however that naked ramblers should not despair that the world is against them:
Those preferring to trek in the buff get a more welcome reception elsewhere in the German-speaking world. In the central German Harz mountain range, two villages put themselves on the map last year by advocating special routes through their forested slopes as an ideal stomping ground for naked hikers. And the practice of "FKK" (which stands for "free body culture") is a serious pursuit in Germany. … Since reunification, German FKK fans of all ages sunbathe in the nude as well as partaking in naked sports ranging from canoeing to horseriding.
Before everyone rushes to Germany at once, casting their apparel as soon as they cross the frontier, note that The Guardian says that FKK hitherto has been confined to designated beaches.
Another image of Stephen Gough available on the Spiegel site, incidentally.