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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

15 Prime Ideas for Wild Tenting in Scotland


For those who’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradley of “Dream Large, Journey 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 skilled suggestions for wild tenting in Scotland and past.

wild camping in scotland view from campervan

Learn how to Wild Camp in Scotland

Since changing our van (who is known as Helen), we’ve pushed to dozens of nations throughout Europe, in addition to to North America & South America. Nevertheless, 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 all our private favorite locations to go to anyplace on this planet. Significantly for vanlifers, as a result of 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?

Often known as free tenting or boondocking, it’s basically tenting in a single day exterior of registered campsites, or at a location the place you don’t must pay for.

Wild tenting just isn’t the identical as tenting on the whole. 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 automotive park.

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

2. Select the fitting motorhome or campervan

tips to wild camp in scotland

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

  • Dimension – 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 reside in, they’re tougher to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. That is crucially necessary to recollect, as most roads in Scotland are very slim; 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.
  • Finances – Don’t neglect to find out your price range, which is able to 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 in the event you’re renting from a dependable rental firm, however essential in the event 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, keep in mind that it’ll not solely be a automobile, but in addition the place you’ll sleep, prepare dinner, eat, and chill out all through your journey.

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

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

3. Know the wild tenting legal guidelines in Scotland

wild camping laws in scotland

Be sure to’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 positively simpler to wild camp in the event 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 simple to get permission.

The Scottish Outside Entry Code

how to wild camp in scotland outdoor access code

The Scottish Outside 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, look after the atmosphere, and be accountable 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 really embody vehicular entry. It does, nonetheless, permit wild tenting so long as it’s “light-weight and carried out 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 implies it’s crucial that you simply ask for permission earlier than parking your automobile anyplace.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

wild camp in scotland loch lomond

Wild tenting is usually doable in most locations throughout the nation, aside from one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationwide Park. Between March and September, tenting is barely allowed on official campsites or if in case you have a tenting allow.

This byelaw goals to guard the Nationwide Park from environmental harm, which is smart as a result of Loch Lomond is without doubt 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 need to be high quality.

We are going to cowl extra rules beneath that you must comply with to have a protected 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 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 or not you’ve lived in a van earlier than or that is your first-time wild tenting, that is severely such a helpful app that may make your journey much less anxious. 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 all the time updating on daily basis. 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 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 tv for pc to search out new places

beautiful wild camping in scotland

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

Or just search “parking” in any space of the map, which is able to then record 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 a good way to scout the world and see what it seems to be like. 

If 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 seems to be like.

  • Learn extra journey guides in Scotland

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

For instances if you’re wanting to remain close to the town, it’s value asking at pubs and eating places in the event you can park your automobile close by and keep the evening. We’ve got carried out this a number of instances ourselves and persons are usually very good about it. Simply make sure that to ask upfront.

On an identical word, asking locals can be a good 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 good day might 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 yr (it’s launched on a yearly foundation) which is able to then offer you entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you possibly can keep at at no cost. 

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 plenty of distinctive spots, from nation pubs, wineries, and fruit farms to vacationer points of interest, 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’d like while visiting. 

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

8. Don’t go away any mess (Depart no hint coverage)

how to wild camp in scotland leave no trace

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. Because of this, lots of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have limitations, indicators and police patrols to cease the follow. Be part of the answer, not the issue.

The Scottish Outside Entry Code encourages campers to keep away from inflicting issues for native individuals and animals, therefore the “go away no hint” coverage.

This consists of issues like:

  • Eradicating all of your litter
  • Maintaining fires small and placing them out utterly 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, vegetation, previous archaeological buildings, and so on)

Usually, attempt to minimise any lasting affect 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 evening falls. Noise could 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 advocate shopping for domestically each time doable. 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 follow of untamed tenting.

Additionally, don’t go organising such as you’re at a campsite. This actually winds individuals 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 under 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’re over the alcohol restrict, there’s a likelihood 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 if 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 individuals in Scotland and different international locations. 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 for my part, the dangers merely don’t outweigh the prices. For those who plan on having a number of 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 solely 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 usually fairly changeable. For instance, the West will get twice as a lot rainfall because the East.

As you may anticipate, summer time is one of the best time for wild tenting in Scotland when it comes to climate, although the visitors could get intense. Regardless of the sunshine, you must nonetheless put together for cloud, wind, and rain all in the identical day! In addition to midges, that are famously horrendous to cope with so you’ll need bug spray in the event 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 evening. It’s all a bit overwhelming in the event you’re unprepared, however actually, I feel 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 will be fairly an excessive throughout peak winter and summer time months. 

You’ll be able to rise up to 18 hours of daylight in June within the Northern Highlands, which is numerous 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 maintain the within of your automobile (or tent) tremendous darkish. Oh, and don’t neglect plenty of sunscreen too!

Then again, you may get daylight solely from 9am to 3pm in December. Pack sufficient headlamps and flashlights so you possibly can nonetheless do stuff exterior. 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 most likely 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 state of affairs?

wild camp scotland tips

One of the vital widespread considerations individuals have when wild tenting is the lavatory state of affairs. This shouldn’t be an issue if 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… Properly, 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 effectively away from trails. Keep away from waterways and sapling bushes, although bigger established bushes and bushes are okay. Don’t go immediately in small our bodies of water, however greater lakes or rivers can dilute any urine. In alpine areas, it’s advisable to do it on a rock floor.

Now, when doing quantity two, you need to be extra cautious. Stroll a minimum of 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 must cowl the opening with the unique filth. For those who use any bathroom paper, make sure that to deliver it again with you and eliminate it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Most 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, you could 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 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 improbable 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 everything of your journey? There’s no cause you possibly can’t strategy it slowly. For lots of first-timers, it’s an amazing 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 approach 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 really probably the greatest methods to expertise Scotland. You’ll be able to cease anyplace and don’t must depend on registered campsites, so in a approach it’s far 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.

For those who keep in mind just one factor from this large record, it’s to be respectful and thoughtful in all places you go!

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