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15 Prime Ideas for Wild Tenting in Scotland

In the event you’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradly of “Dream Large, Journey Far” shares his 15 high ideas and methods to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving around the globe since 2020 and have professional ideas for wild tenting in Scotland and past.

wild camping in scotland view from campervan

Tips on 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. Nonetheless, Scotland stays very near our hearts as we spent greater than 4 months there, dwelling in our van and driving round this spectacular nation.

It’s hands-down one in every of our private favorite locations to go to anyplace on this planet. Notably for vanlifers, because of the many superb spots for wild tenting in Scotland. Teeming with extraordinary nature and wildlife, there’s no higher technique to discover the nation than in your personal 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?

Often known 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 just isn’t 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 subject, close to a lake, or in a public automobile park.

Because the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our options right now are for vehicle-based wild tenting. Nonetheless, most of the factors truly apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, reminiscent of in a tent. Take a look at a Scotland street journey at: North Coast 500 – The Final Journey Information to Scotland’s Epic Drive

2. Select the correct motorhome or campervan

tips to wild camp in scotland

The very first thing you need to do earlier than beginning your journey is to decide on the proper automobile. Whether or not you’re shopping for your personal or renting a campervan, it’s necessary to choose the perfect one to 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 comfy to stay in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. That is crucially necessary 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 finances, 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 problem 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, bear in mind that it’ll not solely be a automobile, but in addition the place you’ll sleep, prepare dinner, eat, and loosen up all through your journey.

We noticed every kind of campers throughout Scotland. Some travellers had been even in massive transformed 4×4 ex-military autos that may be pushed onto seashores. You’ll be able to lease all kinds of autos from massive rental companies like McRent.

And even from native Scottish folks by way of websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private choice; although I might 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

Be sure you’ve learn up on all of the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland. Is wild tenting authorized in Scotland? The quick reply is not 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 think about parking in a single day in a motorhome as wild tenting. Whereas 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’ll be able to or can not park, it’s typically 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 outside. This consists of forests, hills, seashores, rivers, lochs, parks, and a few farmlands.

Respect others, take care of the setting, and be answerable for your actions. Mainly, 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 truly embody vehicular entry. It does, nevertheless, enable wild tenting so long as it’s “light-weight and carried out in small numbers”.

Highway Site visitors Act of 1988

wild camping scotland road traffic act

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

Loch Lomond Byelaws

wild camp in scotland loch lomond

Wild tenting is mostly doable in most locations throughout the nation, apart from one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationwide Park. Between March and September, tenting is just allowed on official campsites or when you’ve got a tenting allow.

This byelaw goals to guard the Nationwide Park from environmental harm, which is sensible as a result of Loch Lomond is without doubt one of the high vacationer locations in Scotland!

General, the final 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 need to be high quality.

We are going to cowl extra ideas beneath that you need to comply with to have a secure and enjoyable wild marketing campaign expertise in Scotland. However lengthy story quick, 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 the perfect place to seek out wild tenting spots all throughout Scotland (and Europe). It’s a free cellular app out there on each iPhone and Android that exhibits you all of the spots the place you’ll be able to 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 irritating. 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-after-day. Plus, you’ll be able to share private experiences and ideas a couple of spot, and studying updates from different customers gives you 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 seek out new places

beautiful wild camping in scotland

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

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

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

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

  • Learn 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 value asking at pubs and eating places for those who can park your automobile close by and keep the evening. We have now carried out this just a few instances ourselves and individuals are usually very good about it. Simply ensure to ask upfront.

On an analogous be aware, asking locals can be an effective way to seek out the right tenting spot. This manner, you’ll find locations that aren’t even talked about in guidebooks and on-line databases. A pleasant howdy 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 extremely cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops guide for the yr (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’ll be able to keep at without spending a dime. 

It was impressed by the corporate Harvest Hosts within the USA (which we additionally love), so that is just like the UK model. The checklist options numerous 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 possibility to remain in some actually cool places. You can too buy some native goodies if you would 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 positively an effective way to fulfill new folks and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

8. Don’t depart any mess (Depart 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. Because of this, most of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have boundaries, indicators and police patrols to cease the follow. 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 consists of issues like:

  • Eradicating all of your litter
  • Preserving fires small and placing them out fully afterwards
  • Not inflicting any type of air pollution
  • Travelling and tenting on sturdy floor, reminiscent of rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow
  • Not damaging what you discover (flowers, crops, outdated archaeological buildings, and so on)

On the whole, attempt to minimise any lasting impression on the grounds!

9. Be respectful in different methods

tips to safely wild camp in scotland

Along with cleansing up after your personal 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 evening falls. Noise might disturb different campers within the space 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 regionally each time doable. Whether or not 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 follow of untamed tenting.

Additionally, 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 a lot of days! As a rule of thumb, I might say that staying for less than an evening or two is finest.

10. Keep away from consuming alcohol

wild camping tips scotland view of campervan

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

We personally haven’t had this drawback, however have heard horror tales of this occurring 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 view, the dangers merely don’t outweigh the prices. In the event you plan on having just a few drinks one evening (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 virtually completely unpredictable, and you may’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, partially, 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 count on, summer time is the perfect time for wild tenting in Scotland when it comes to climate, although the site visitors might get intense. Regardless of the sunshine, you need 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 want bug spray for those who go to on this time interval.

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

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

wild camping scotland tips sunrise

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

You’ll be able to stand up to 18 hours of daylight in June within the Northern Highlands, which is a number of alternative to discover the wilderness! However that additionally means sleeping generally is a little bit of an issue. 

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

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

Whereas 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 state of affairs?

wild camp scotland tips

One of the crucial widespread considerations folks have when wild tenting is the toilet state of affairs. This shouldn’t be an issue whenever you’re staying near civilization. And in case your automobile has a bathroom, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Nicely, time to be taught the artwork of doing what you are promoting outside.

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 straight 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 need to be extra cautious. Stroll at the very least 200 toes 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 carried out, you need to cowl the opening with the unique dust. In the event you use any bathroom paper, ensure to convey it again with you and eliminate it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Lots of the finest wild tenting spots in Scotland will replenish very early on, particularly within the busy summer time months of June, July and August. In some instances, chances are you’ll wish 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.

Higher but, think about visiting throughout 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. Strive The two:1 Rule

wild camping in scotland driving tips

Intimidated by the concept of untamed tenting for the whole lot of your journey? There’s no purpose you’ll be able to’t method it slowly. For lots of first-timers, it’s an awesome concept to interrupt up the journey with extra comfy campsites.

You’ll be wild tenting for 2 nights and staying on a campsite for one evening. This can be a good technique to benefit from the pleasure of untamed tenting whereas nonetheless having fun with the advantages of a campsite’s amenities. 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’ll be able to 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 tips will assist make your upcoming journey go extra easily.

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



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