15 Prime Suggestions 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

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 among our private favorite locations to go to wherever on the earth. Notably for vanlifers, because of the many wonderful spots for wild tenting in Scotland. Teeming with extraordinary nature and wildlife, there’s no higher solution 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 basically. Whereas establishing 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 area, close to a lake, or in a public automobile park.

Because the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our options as we speak are for vehicle-based wild tenting. Nevertheless, lots of the factors truly apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, comparable to 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 best 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 individual or renting a campervan, it’s vital to choose the very best one to your wants. Some options to consider embody:

  • Measurement – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Just remember to can confidently drive your chosen automobile. Whereas a bigger motorhome could also be extra comfy to dwell in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. That is crucially vital to recollect, as most roads in Scotland are very slender; even alongside the NC500 and notably 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 trouble 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 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 have been even in giant transformed 4×4 ex-military automobiles that may be pushed onto seashores. You may lease all types of automobiles from giant rental companies like McRent.

And even from native Scottish folks by websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private choice; although I’d suggest the smaller the higher in case you are 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 brief 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 contemplate 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 not park, it’s usually fairly straightforward 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 liable for your actions. Mainly, present frequent sense and decency whilst 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, nonetheless, permit wild tenting so long as it’s “light-weight and achieved 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 non-public land, which suggests it’s crucial that you just 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 inside the nation, aside from one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationwide Park. Between March and September, tenting is barely allowed on official campsites or you probably have a tenting allow.

This byelaw goals to guard the Nationwide Park from environmental harm, which is sensible as a result of Loch Lomond is likely 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 smart, you have to be tremendous.

We’ll cowl extra rules under that you need 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 the very 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 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 severely such a helpful app that can make your journey much less nerve-racking. 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 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 simple 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 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 search out giant open automobile parks or areas the place you may 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 realm and see what it appears to be like like. 

Once you’re wild tenting in Scotland or wherever else, all the time attempt to be as ready as attainable. This consists of having an thought of what the positioning you’re planning to sleep in appears to be like 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 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 achieved this a number of instances ourselves and individuals are usually very good about it. Simply make certain to ask upfront.

On the same 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 hi there may take you to a hidden gem or two!

7. Purchase the Brit Stops ebook 

tips to wild camp in scotland scottish highland cow

This one is a extremely cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops ebook 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 possibly can keep at totally free. 

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 a lot of distinctive spots, from nation pubs, wineries, and fruit farms to vacationer sights, vintage centres, and extra. 

The ebook itself prices £32 and provides you the possibility to remain in some actually cool places. You may also buy some native goodies in order for you 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 an effective way to satisfy new folks 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 site visitors and wild tenting in Scotland has exploded. And the poor behaviour of many of those new van lifers has actually upset locals. In consequence, 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 folks and animals, therefore the “go away no hint” coverage.

This consists of issues like:

  • Eradicating all of your litter
  • Retaining fires small and placing them out fully afterwards
  • Not inflicting any type of air pollution
  • Travelling and tenting on sturdy floor, comparable to rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow
  • Not damaging what you discover (flowers, vegetation, previous archaeological constructions, and so on)

Usually, 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 great 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 suggest shopping for regionally each time attainable. Whether or not meaning going to native pubs and eating places or procuring 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 establishing 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’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

If you’re requested to maneuver on by police and you might be 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 ingesting, particularly if 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. 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 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 nearly totally unpredictable, and you may’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, partly, what has helped make Scotland so wild, rugged and delightful. 

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

As you would possibly count on, summer season is the very best time for wild tenting in Scotland when it comes to climate, although the site visitors could 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 cope with so you will want 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 believe 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 might be fairly an excessive throughout peak winter and summer season months. 

You may rise up to 18 hours of daylight in June within the Northern Highlands, which is loads 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 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 exterior. In any other case, you’ll simply be caught inside your van all day, which isn’t an thrilling solution to camp.

Whereas it’s most likely not the very best time for wild tenting, the snowy panorama of the winter months does have its personal attraction…

13. …what concerning the lavatory scenario?

wild camp scotland tips

One of the crucial frequent issues folks have when wild tenting is the toilet scenario. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re staying near civilization. And in case your automobile has a bathroom, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Properly, time to study the artwork of doing your enterprise outside.

Within the wilderness, it’s sometimes okay to decide on any spot that’s nicely away from trails. Keep away from 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 really useful to do it on a rock floor.

Now, when doing quantity two, you have 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. It is a good depth that can nonetheless decompose the waste whereas stopping others from stepping on it.

As soon as achieved, you need to cowl the opening with the unique filth. In the event you use any rest room paper, make certain to carry 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 season months of June, July and August. In some instances, it’s possible 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.

Higher but, contemplate visiting in the course of the off season! We did North Coast 500, a 500-mile journey across the Highland space of Scotland, again in November 2020. It was incredible 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 motive you possibly can’t method it slowly. For lots of first-timers, it’s an ideal thought 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. It is a good solution to benefit from the pleasure of untamed tenting whereas nonetheless having fun with the advantages of a campsite’s services. A pleasant rest room, scorching bathe, stocking up on necessities, and extra.

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

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 keep 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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