Traveling With Finesse

15 Top Tips for Wild Camping in Scotland

15 Top Tips for Wild Camping in Scotland

If you’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradly of “Dream Big, Travel Far” shares his 15 high suggestions and methods to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving world wide since 2020 and have knowledgeable suggestions for wild tenting in Scotland and past.


How to Wild Camp in Scotland

Since changing our van (who known as Helen), we’ve pushed to dozens of nations throughout Europe, in addition to to North America & South America. However, Scotland stays very near our hearts as we spent greater than 4 months there, residing in our van and driving round this spectacular nation.

It is hands-down one among our private favorite locations to go to anyplace in the world. Particularly for vanlifers, because of the many superb spots for wild tenting in Scotland. Teeming with extraordinary nature and wildlife, there’s no higher approach to discover the nation than in your personal automobile. Without additional ado, let’s get proper into it!

1. Understand what wild tenting is

But first… what’s wild tenting?

Also referred to as free tenting or boondocking, it’s primarily tenting in a single day outdoors of registered campsites, or at a location the place you don’t must pay for.

Wild tenting is just not the identical as tenting in basic. While organising tents in wilderness areas is a type of wild tenting, so is sleeping in an RV, campervan, or motorhome! Some examples embody parking in a subject, close to a lake, or in a public automobile park.

As the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our ideas in the present day are for vehicle-based wild tenting. However, most of the factors truly apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, equivalent to in a tent. Check out a Scotland highway journey at: North Coast 500 – The Ultimate Trip Guide to Scotland’s Epic Drive

2. Choose the proper motorhome or campervan

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The very first thing it’s best to do earlier than beginning your journey is to decide on the proper automobile. Whether you’re shopping for your personal or renting a campervan, it’s essential to choose the perfect one for your wants. Some options to consider embody:

Size – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Make certain that you would be able to confidently drive your chosen automobile. While a bigger motorhome could also be extra snug to dwell in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. This is crucially essential to recollect, as most roads in Scotland are very slender; even alongside the NC500 and notably in cities. Number of beds – Likewise, take note of the variety of berths or passengers {that a} automobile can accommodate. Budget – Don’t overlook to find out your price range, which can have an effect on the kind of automobile you will get and its situation. Full service historical past – This final one shouldn’t be a trouble for those who’re renting from a dependable rental firm, however essential for those who’re shopping for your personal automobile. Ideally, you need it to come back with a full service historical past to make sure that it’s well-maintained.

When contemplating which camper or motorhome to get, keep in mind that it’s going to not solely be a automobile, but additionally the place you’ll sleep, cook dinner, eat, and loosen up all through your journey.

We noticed all types of campers throughout Scotland. Some travellers had been even in giant transformed 4×4 ex-military automobiles that may be pushed onto seashores. You can hire all kinds of automobiles from giant rental companies like McRent.

Or even from native Scottish folks by websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private choice; although I might suggest the smaller the higher in case you are unfamiliar driving in the UK, and on smaller slender roads.

3. Know the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland

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Make certain you’ve learn up on all of the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland. Is wild tenting authorized in Scotland? The brief reply isn’t any, however it’s tolerated and customarily allowed, so long as you do it responsibly.

Land Reform Act 2003

This Scottish land reform act doesn’t contemplate parking in a single day in a motorhome as wild tenting. While it’s positively simpler to wild camp for those who’re on foot or bike, as you don’t have to fret an excessive amount of about the place you possibly can or can not park, it’s typically fairly simple to get permission.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

how to wild camp in scotland outdoor access code
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The Scottish Outdoor Access Code grants you accountable entry to the Scottish open air. This consists of forests, hills, seashores, rivers, lochs, parks, and a few farmlands.

Respect others, care for the surroundings, and be accountable for your actions. Basically, present frequent sense and decency whilst you’re wild tenting. More on Scotland Travel at: 7 Crazy Adventures in Scotland

While this legislation offers entry to all unenclosed land and inland waters in Scotland, it doesn’t truly embody vehicular entry. It does, nonetheless, permit wild tenting so long as it’s “lightweight and done in small numbers”.

Road Traffic Act of 1988

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The Road Traffic Act of 1988 acknowledges most roads as personal land, which suggests it’s crucial that you simply ask for permission earlier than parking your automobile anyplace.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

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Wild tenting is usually doable in most locations throughout the nation, besides for one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Between March and September, tenting is simply allowed on official campsites or in case you have a tenting allow.

This byelaw goals to guard the National Park from environmental injury, which is sensible as a result of Loch Lomond is likely one of the high vacationer locations in Scotland!

Overall, the final rule of thumb when wild tenting is to respect any “No overnight parking” signal. And so long as you park someplace distant and wise, you have to be advantageous.

We will cowl extra ideas under that it’s best to observe to have a protected and enjoyable wild marketing campaign expertise in Scotland. But lengthy story brief, we by no means as soon as had any issues wild tenting in Scotland after dozens of nights in each single a part of the nation.

4. Download Park4Night

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Park4Night is by far the perfect place to search out wild tenting spots all throughout Scotland (and Europe). It’s a free cell app out there on each iPhone and Android that reveals you all of the spots the place you possibly can park up in a single day.

Whether you’ve lived in a van earlier than or that is your first-time wild tenting, that is severely such a helpful app that can make your journey much less hectic. No extra hours of researching on-line simply to find {that a} parking spot feels dodgy and unsafe.

I like that the database is made by fellow van lifers and that it’s all the time updating day by day. Plus, you possibly can share private experiences and ideas a few spot, and studying updates from different customers offers you insightful data.

The interface itself is tremendous easy and straightforward to make use of. My favorite perform is the fast search, which helps you to browse particular factors like nature spots or water refill stations, and filter solely 5* areas.

5. Use Google Satellite to search out new areas

beautiful wild camping in scotland
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Another useful gizmo for discovering new areas is Google Satellite. You can use the satellite tv for pc view on Google Maps to search out giant open automobile parks or areas the place you can probably keep the night time. 

Or merely search “parking” in any space of the map, which can then listing parking spots and you’ll zoom in to examine if it’s viable.

Alternatively, if you have already got a selected spot in thoughts, that is nonetheless a good way to scout the world and see what it appears to be like like. 

When you’re wild tenting in Scotland or anyplace else, all the time attempt to be as ready as doable. This consists of having an thought of what the positioning you’re planning to sleep in appears to be like like.

Read extra journey guides in Scotland

6. Ask at pubs & eating places for those who can keep there

For instances whenever you’re wanting to remain close to town, it’s price asking at pubs and eating places for those who can park your automobile close by and keep the night time. We have achieved this a couple of instances ourselves and persons are typically very good about it. Just be certain to ask in advance.

On an analogous observe, asking locals can be a good way to search out the right tenting spot. This means, you’ll find locations that aren’t even talked about in guidebooks and on-line databases. A pleasant hiya may take you to a hidden gem or two!

7. Buy the Brit Stops ebook 

tips to wild camp in scotland scottish highland cow
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This one is a extremely cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops ebook for the 12 months (it’s launched on a yearly foundation) which can then provide you with entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you possibly can keep at for free. 

It was impressed by the corporate Harvest Hosts in the USA (which we additionally love), so that is just like the UK model. The listing options plenty of distinctive spots, from nation pubs, wineries, and fruit farms to vacationer points of interest, vintage centres, and extra. 

The ebook itself prices £32 and provides you the possibility to remain in some actually cool areas. You may also buy some native goodies in order for you while visiting. 

What’s extra, they now provide a model new app with the acquisition that you should use to fulfill native hosts. It’s positively a good way to fulfill new folks and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

8. Don’t depart any mess (Leave no hint coverage)

how to wild camp in scotland leave no trace
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Following Covid lockdowns, van site visitors and wild tenting in Scotland has exploded. And the poor behaviour of many of those new van lifers has actually upset locals. As a outcome, most of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have obstacles, indicators and police patrols to cease the observe. Be part of the answer, not the issue.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code encourages campers to keep away from inflicting issues for native folks and animals, therefore the “leave no trace” coverage.

This consists of issues like:

Removing all of your litter Keeping fires small and placing them out utterly afterwards Not inflicting any type of air pollution Travelling and tenting on sturdy floor, equivalent to rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow Not damaging what you discover (flowers, vegetation, outdated archaeological buildings, and many others)

In basic, attempt to minimise any lasting impression on the grounds!

9. Be respectful in different methods

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In addition to cleansing up after your personal mess, it’s additionally good to be respectful in different methods. This is related irrespective of the place you’re wild tenting, and being thoughtful whereas tenting out in nature or public locations goes a great distance.

For instance, don’t be noisy, particularly as soon as night time falls. Noise could disturb different campers in the world or worse, drive away surrounding wildlife from their pure habitat! I all the time go about it by remembering that I’m merely a visitor and to maintain quiet as a lot as I can.

I’d additionally suggest shopping for domestically every time doable. Whether meaning going to native pubs and eating places or buying from native shops, you’ll be serving to increase the native financial system whereas being extra supportive to the observe of untamed tenting.

Also, don’t go organising such as you’re at a campsite. This actually winds folks up, particularly if it appears to be like such as you intend to remain in the identical spot for many days! As a rule of thumb, I might say that staying for solely an evening or two is finest.

10. Avoid ingesting alcohol

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If you’re requested to maneuver on by police and you’re over the alcohol restrict, there’s a probability you’re going to get fined and prosecuted for driving below the affect. So, it’s all the time finest to keep away from ingesting, particularly whenever you’re transferring to a brand new metropolis or space.

We personally haven’t had this downside, however have heard horror tales of this taking place to folks in Scotland and different international locations. If you’re in your automobile with the keys accessible, and you’re the driver and over the restrict of alcohol, then it’s classed as an intention to drive drunk. 

Your name; however in my opinion, the dangers merely don’t outweigh the prices. If you propose on having a couple of drinks one night time (which, let’s face it, you’re in Scotland so why not?!) then keep in a campsite.

11. Be ready for temperamental climate

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Here’s the factor about Scottish climate: it’s virtually fully unpredictable, and you’ll’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, in half, what has helped make Scotland so wild, rugged and exquisite. 

The local weather additionally varies between areas, but it surely’s typically fairly changeable. For instance, the West will get twice as a lot rainfall because the East.

As you may anticipate, summer season is the perfect time for wild tenting in Scotland in phrases of climate, although the site visitors could get intense. Despite the sunshine, it’s best to nonetheless put together for cloud, wind, and rain all in the identical day! As nicely as midges, that are famously horrendous to cope with so you will want bug spray for those who go to in this time interval.

Winter in the Highlands means snow and ice, with the temperature reaching as little as minus 4 at night time. It’s all a bit overwhelming for those who’re unprepared, however actually, I feel the changeable skies add to the expertise…

12. Pack blackout curtains in summer season or headlamps in winter

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Scotland is sort of far north and the hours of daylight will be fairly an excessive throughout peak winter and summer season months. 

You can rise up to 18 hours of daylight in June in the Northern Highlands, which is lots of alternative to discover the wilderness! But that additionally means sleeping generally is a little bit of an issue. 

I like to recommend utilizing blackout curtains that may maintain the within of your automobile (or tent) tremendous darkish. Oh, and don’t overlook plenty of sunscreen too!

On the opposite hand, you may get daylight solely from 9am to 3pm in December. Pack sufficient headlamps and flashlights so you possibly can nonetheless do stuff outdoors. Otherwise, you’ll simply be caught inside your van all day, which isn’t an thrilling approach to camp.

While it’s in all probability not the perfect time for wild tenting, the snowy panorama of the winter months does have its personal appeal…

13. …what concerning the lavatory scenario?

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One of the most typical considerations folks have when wild tenting is the lavatory scenario. This shouldn’t be an issue whenever you’re staying near civilization. And in case your automobile has a rest room, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Well, time to study the artwork of doing your enterprise open air.

In the wilderness, it’s usually okay to decide on any spot that’s nicely away from trails. Avoid waterways and sapling bushes, although bigger established bushes and bushes are okay. Don’t go straight in small our bodies of water, however greater lakes or rivers can dilute any urine. In alpine areas, it’s beneficial to do it on a rock floor.

Now, when doing quantity two, you have to be extra cautious. Walk at the least 200 toes away from a path or water supply, then dig a gap of round 6 to eight inches deep. This is an efficient depth that can nonetheless decompose the waste whereas stopping others from stepping on it.

Once achieved, it’s best to cowl the opening with the unique dust. If you employ any rest room paper, be certain to deliver it again with you and eliminate it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Many of the perfect wild tenting spots in Scotland will replenish very early on, particularly in the busy summer season months of June, July and August. In some circumstances, chances are you’ll need to arrive at your location by round 2 or 3pm to have a greater probability of securing a spot to arrange in a single day.

Better but, contemplate visiting through the off season! We did North Coast 500, a 500-mile journey across the Highland space of Scotland, again in November 2020. It was unbelievable as a result of we just about had the route all to ourselves.

15. Try The 2:1 Rule

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Intimidated by the concept of untamed tenting for everything of your journey? There’s no purpose you possibly can’t strategy it slowly. For lots of first-timers, it’s a terrific thought to interrupt up the journey with extra snug campsites.

You’ll be wild tenting for two nights and staying on a campsite for one night time. This is a pleasant approach to benefit from the pleasure of untamed tenting whereas nonetheless having fun with the advantages of a campsite’s amenities. A pleasant rest room, scorching bathe, stocking up on necessities, and extra.

All in all, wild tenting is actually the most effective methods to expertise Scotland. You can cease anyplace and don’t must depend on registered campsites, so in a means it’s rather more releasing.

The Scottish countryside is certainly an oasis of breathtaking sceneries and numerous wildlife. I hope the following pointers will assist make your upcoming journey go extra easily.

If you keep in mind just one factor from this large listing, it’s to be respectful and thoughtful in every single place you go!

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