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 prime suggestions and methods to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving around the globe since 2020 and have professional 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, dwelling in our van and driving round this spectacular nation.

It is hands-down considered one of our private favorite locations to go to anyplace in the world. Particularly for vanlifers, because of the many wonderful 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. Without additional ado, let’s get proper into it!

1. Understand what wild tenting is

But first… what’s wild tenting?

Also 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 should pay for.

Wild tenting will not be the identical as tenting in normal. While establishing tents in wilderness areas is a type of wild tenting, so is sleeping in an RV, campervan, or motorhome! Some examples embrace parking in a area, close to a lake, or in a public automobile park.

As the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our recommendations right this moment are for vehicle-based wild tenting. However, lots of the factors truly apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, corresponding to in a tent. Check out a Scotland street journey at: North Coast 500 – The Ultimate Trip Guide to Scotland’s Epic Drive

2. Choose the fitting 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 fitting automobile. Whether you’re shopping for your personal or renting a campervan, it’s essential to choose one of the best one for your wants. Some options to consider embrace:

Size – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Make positive that you could confidently drive your chosen automobile. While a bigger motorhome could also be extra snug to reside in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten monitor. This is crucially essential to recollect, as most roads in Scotland are very slim; even alongside the NC500 and significantly 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 funds, 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 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’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 every kind of campers throughout Scotland. Some travellers have been even in giant transformed 4×4 ex-military autos that may be pushed onto seashores. You can hire all kinds of autos from giant rental corporations like McRent.

Or even from native Scottish individuals via websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private desire; although I’d advocate the smaller the higher if you’re unfamiliar driving in the UK, and on smaller slim roads.

3. Know the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland

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Make positive you’ve learn up on all of the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland. Is wild tenting authorized in Scotland? The brief reply is not 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 take into account 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’ll be able to or can’t park, it’s typically fairly simple to get permission.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

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The Scottish Outdoor Access Code grants you accountable entry to the Scottish outdoor. This contains forests, hills, seashores, rivers, lochs, parks, and a few farmlands.

Respect others, care for the atmosphere, 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 regulation offers entry to all unenclosed land and inland waters in Scotland, it doesn’t truly embrace 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 non-public land, which implies it’s crucial that you just ask for permission earlier than parking your automobile anyplace.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

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Wild tenting is usually potential 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 when you have a tenting allow.

This byelaw goals to guard the National Park from environmental harm, which is sensible as a result of Loch Lomond is likely one of the prime 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 superb.

We will cowl extra ideas under that it’s best to comply with to have a secure 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 one of the best place to search out wild tenting spots all throughout Scotland (and Europe). It’s a free cellular app out there on each iPhone and Android that reveals you all of the spots the place you’ll be able to 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 significantly such a helpful app that may make your journey much less demanding. 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 at all times updating day by day. Plus, you’ll be able to share private experiences and ideas a couple of spot, and studying updates from different customers provides you with insightful info.

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 to search out new places

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Another useful gizmo for discovering new places 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 might doubtlessly keep the evening. 

Or merely search “parking” in any space of the map, which can then checklist parking spots and you may zoom in to test 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 appears to be like like. 

When you’re wild tenting in Scotland or anyplace else, at all times attempt to be as ready as potential. This contains having an concept of what the location 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 while you’re wanting to remain close to the town, it’s price asking at pubs and eating places for those who can park your automobile close by and keep the evening. We have completed this just a few instances ourselves and persons are usually very good about it. Just make sure that to ask in advance.

On an analogous observe, asking locals can be an effective way to search out the proper tenting spot. This manner, you will discover 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. Buy the Brit Stops guide 

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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 provide you with entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you’ll be able to 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 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 provides you the possibility to remain in some actually cool places. You also can 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 need to use to satisfy native hosts. It’s positively an effective way to satisfy new individuals and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

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

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Following Covid lockdowns, van 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 consequence, lots of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have obstacles, indicators and police patrols to cease the apply. Be part of the answer, not the issue.

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

This contains issues like:

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

In normal, attempt to minimise any lasting influence 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 good distance.

For instance, don’t be noisy, particularly as soon as evening falls. Noise could disturb different campers in the realm 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 advocate shopping for regionally each time potential. Whether meaning going to native pubs and eating places or buying from native shops, you’ll be serving to enhance the native economic system whereas being extra supportive to the apply of untamed tenting.

Also, don’t go establishing such as you’re at a campsite. This actually winds individuals 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’d 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 likelihood you’re going to get fined and prosecuted for driving beneath the affect. So, it’s at all times finest to keep away from ingesting, particularly while you’re shifting to a brand new metropolis or space.

We personally haven’t had this drawback, however have heard horror tales of this taking place to individuals in Scotland and different nations. 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 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

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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, 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 count on, summer season is one of the best time for wild tenting in Scotland in phrases of climate, although the 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 effectively as midges, that are famously horrendous to take care of so you have to 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 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 season or headlamps in winter

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Scotland is sort of far north and the hours of daylight may 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 numerous alternative to discover the wilderness! But 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 numerous sunscreen too!

On the opposite hand, 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. Otherwise, you’ll simply be caught inside your van all day, which isn’t an thrilling technique to camp.

While it’s most likely not one of the best time for wild tenting, the snowy panorama of the winter months does have its personal allure…

13. …what concerning the lavatory state of affairs?

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One of the commonest considerations individuals have when wild tenting is the lavatory state of affairs. This shouldn’t be an issue while you’re staying near civilization. And in case your automobile has a bathroom, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Well, time to be taught the artwork of doing what you are promoting outdoor.

In the wilderness, it’s usually okay to decide on any spot that’s effectively away from trails. Avoid waterways and sapling bushes, although bigger established bushes and bushes are okay. Don’t go immediately in small our bodies of water, however larger 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 have to be extra cautious. Walk no less than 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 may nonetheless decompose the waste whereas stopping others from stepping on it.

Once completed, it’s best to cowl the opening with the unique dust. If you employ any bathroom paper, make sure that to carry it again with you and get rid of it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Many of one of the best wild tenting spots in Scotland will refill very early on, particularly in the busy summer season months of June, July and August. In some circumstances, you could need 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.

Better 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. Try The 2:1 Rule

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Intimidated by the concept of untamed tenting for the whole lot of your journey? There’s no motive you’ll be able to’t method it slowly. For numerous first-timers, it’s a terrific concept to interrupt up the journey with extra snug campsites.

You’ll be wild tenting for two nights and staying on a campsite for one evening. This is a pleasant technique 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 top-of-the-line methods to expertise Scotland. You can cease anyplace and don’t should depend on registered campsites, so in a manner it’s rather more releasing.

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.

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

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