When you’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradly of “Dream Massive, Journey Far” shares his 15 high ideas and tips to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving all over the world since 2020 and have knowledgeable ideas for wild tenting in Scotland and past.

Easy methods 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. Nonetheless, 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’s hands-down one in every of our private favorite locations to go to wherever on this planet. Significantly for vanlifers, because of the many wonderful spots for wild tenting in Scotland. Teeming with extraordinary nature and wildlife, there’s no higher approach to discover the nation than in your individual automobile. With out additional ado, let’s get proper into it!

1. Perceive what wild tenting is

what is wild camping in scotland

However first… what is 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 should pay for.

Wild tenting is just not the identical as tenting generally. Whereas 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 discipline, close to a lake, or in a public automobile park.

Because the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our recommendations right now are for vehicle-based wild tenting. Nonetheless, lots of the factors really apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, equivalent to in a tent. Try a Scotland highway journey at: North Coast 500 – The Final Journey Information to Scotland’s Epic Drive

2. Select the precise motorhome or campervan

tips to wild camp in scotland

The very first thing it is best to do earlier than beginning your journey is to decide on the precise automobile. Whether or not you’re shopping for your individual or renting a campervan, it’s essential to choose one of the best one on your wants. Some options to consider embody:

  • Measurement – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Just be sure you can confidently drive your chosen automobile. Whereas a bigger motorhome could also be extra snug to stay in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. That is crucially essential to recollect, as most roads in Scotland are very slender; even alongside the NC500 and significantly in cities.
  • Variety of beds – Likewise, take note of the variety of berths or passengers {that a} automobile can accommodate.
  • Price range – Don’t overlook to find out your price range, which can have an effect on the kind of automobile you may get and its situation.
  • Full service historical past – This final one shouldn’t be a problem in case you’re renting from a dependable rental firm, however essential in case you’re shopping for your individual automobile. Ideally, you need it to return with a full service historical past to make sure that it’s well-maintained.

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

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

And even from native Scottish folks via websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private choice; although I’d suggest the smaller the higher if you’re unfamiliar driving within the UK, and on smaller slender roads.

3. Know the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland

wild camping laws in scotland

Ensure 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 usually allowed, so long as you do it responsibly.

Land Reform Act 2003

This Scottish land reform act doesn’t take into account parking in a single day in a motorhome as wild tenting. Whereas it’s undoubtedly simpler to wild camp in case you’re on foot or bike, as you don’t have to fret an excessive amount of about the place you possibly can or can’t park, it’s usually fairly straightforward to get permission.

The Scottish Out of doors Entry Code

how to wild camp in scotland outdoor access code

The Scottish Out of doors Entry Code grants you accountable entry to the Scottish open air. This contains forests, hills, seashores, rivers, lochs, parks, and a few farmlands.

Respect others, look after the setting, and be answerable for your actions. Principally, present widespread sense and decency when you’re wild tenting. Extra on Scotland Journey at: 7 Loopy Adventures in Scotland

Whereas this regulation offers entry to all unenclosed land and inland waters in Scotland, it doesn’t really embody vehicular entry. It does, nevertheless, enable wild tenting so long as it’s “light-weight and executed in small numbers”.

Street Visitors Act of 1988

wild camping scotland road traffic act

The Street Visitors Act of 1988 acknowledges most roads as non-public land, which suggests it’s crucial that you simply ask for permission earlier than parking your automobile wherever.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

wild camp in scotland loch lomond

Wild tenting is usually attainable in most locations throughout the nation, apart from one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationwide Park. Between March and September, tenting is simply allowed on official campsites or you probably have a tenting allow.

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

General, the overall rule of thumb when wild tenting is to respect any “No in a single day parking” signal. And so long as you park someplace distant and wise, you ought to be effective.

We are going to cowl extra ideas under that it is best to comply with to have a secure and enjoyable wild marketing campaign expertise in Scotland. However 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. Obtain Park4Night

wild camping in scotland caravan park

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

Whether or not you’ve lived in a van earlier than or that is your first-time wild tenting, that is critically such a helpful app that may make your journey much less disturbing. No extra hours of researching on-line simply to find {that a} parking spot feels dodgy and unsafe.

I really like that the database is made by fellow van lifers and that it’s at all times updating daily. Plus, you possibly can share private experiences and ideas a couple of spot, and studying updates from different customers will provide you with insightful data.

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

5. Use Google Satellite tv for pc to search out new areas

beautiful wild camping in scotland

One other useful gizmo for locating new areas is Google Satellite tv for pc. You should use the satellite tv for pc view on Google Maps to search out massive open automobile parks or areas the place you would doubtlessly keep the night time. 

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

Alternatively, if you have already got a particular spot in thoughts, that is nonetheless an effective way to scout the realm and see what it seems to be like. 

While you’re wild tenting in Scotland or wherever else, at all times attempt to be as ready as attainable. This contains having an thought of what the location you’re planning to sleep in seems to be like.

  • Learn extra journey guides in Scotland

6. Ask at pubs & eating places in case you can keep there

For instances whenever you’re wanting to remain close to town, it’s value asking at pubs and eating places in case you can park your automobile close by and keep the night time. We’ve got executed this just a few instances ourselves and individuals are usually very good about it. Simply make certain to ask upfront.

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

7. Purchase the Brit Stops guide 

tips to wild camp in scotland scottish highland cow

This one is a very cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops guide for the 12 months (it’s launched on a yearly foundation) which can then offer you entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you possibly can keep at free of charge. 

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

The guide itself prices £32 and offers you the prospect to remain in some actually cool areas. You can even buy some native goodies if you’d like while visiting. 

What’s extra, they now supply a model new app with the acquisition that you should utilize to fulfill native hosts. It’s undoubtedly an effective way to fulfill new folks and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

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

how to wild camp in scotland leave no trace

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. Consequently, lots 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 Out of doors Entry Code encourages campers to keep away from inflicting issues for native folks and animals, therefore the “depart no hint” coverage.

This contains issues like:

  • Eradicating all of your litter
  • Retaining 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, crops, previous archaeological constructions, and so on)

Normally, attempt to minimise any lasting influence on the grounds!

9. Be respectful in different methods

tips to safely wild camp in scotland

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

For instance, don’t be noisy, particularly as soon as night time falls. Noise could disturb different campers within the space or worse, drive away surrounding wildlife from their pure habitat! I at all times 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 regionally every time attainable. Whether or not meaning going to native pubs and eating places or purchasing from native shops, you’ll be serving to enhance the native financial system whereas being extra supportive to the observe of untamed tenting.

Additionally, don’t go organising such as you’re at a campsite. This actually winds folks up, particularly if it seems to be such as you intend to remain in the identical spot for a lot of days! As a rule of thumb, I’d say that staying for less than an evening or two is finest.

10. Keep away from ingesting alcohol

wild camping tips scotland view of campervan

In case you are requested to maneuver on by police and you might be over the alcohol restrict, there’s a likelihood you’re going to get fined and prosecuted for driving underneath the affect. So, it’s at all times 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 nations. In case you are 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 view, the dangers merely don’t outweigh the prices. When you plan on having just a few 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

Dunnet Head Scotland view

Right here’s the factor about Scottish climate: it’s nearly totally unpredictable, and you’ll’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, partly, what has helped make Scotland so wild, rugged and exquisite. 

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

As you would possibly anticipate, summer season is one of the best time for wild tenting in Scotland by way of climate, although the site visitors could get intense. Regardless of the sunshine, it is best to nonetheless put together for cloud, wind, and rain all in the identical day! In addition to midges, that are famously horrendous to take care of so you will have bug spray in case you go to on this time interval.

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

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

wild camping scotland tips sunrise

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

You possibly can rise up to 18 hours of daylight in June within the Northern Highlands, which is lots of alternative to discover the wilderness! However that additionally means sleeping is usually 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 a lot of sunscreen too!

Then again, you would possibly get daylight solely from 9am to 3pm in December. Pack sufficient headlamps and flashlights so you possibly can nonetheless do stuff outdoors. In any other case, you’ll simply be caught inside your van all day, which isn’t an thrilling approach to camp.

Whereas it’s in all probability not one of the best time for wild tenting, the snowy panorama of the winter months does have its personal attraction…

13. …what in regards to the rest room scenario?

wild camp scotland tips

One of the widespread issues folks have when wild tenting is the toilet 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… Nicely, time to be taught the artwork of doing your corporation open air.

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

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

As soon as executed, it is best to cowl the outlet with the unique filth. When you use any bathroom paper, make certain to carry it again with you and get rid of it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Lots of the finest wild tenting spots in Scotland will refill very early on, particularly within the busy summer season months of June, July and August. In some instances, you might wish to arrive at your location by round 2 or 3pm to have a greater likelihood of securing a spot to arrange in a single day.

Higher but, take into account 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. Attempt The two:1 Rule

wild camping in scotland driving tips

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

You’ll be wild tenting for 2 nights and staying on a campsite for one night time. This can be a good approach to benefit from the pleasure of untamed tenting whereas nonetheless having fun with the advantages of a campsite’s services. A pleasant bathroom, scorching bathe, stocking up on necessities, and extra.

All in all, wild tenting is actually among the best methods to expertise Scotland. You possibly can cease wherever and don’t should depend on registered campsites, so in a method it’s way more liberating.

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

When you bear in mind just one factor from this huge record, it’s to be respectful and thoughtful in every single place you go!



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