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 tips to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving all over the world since 2020 and have skilled 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, residing in our van and driving round this spectacular nation.

It is hands-down one in all our private favorite locations to go to anyplace in the world. Particularly for vanlifers, as a result of 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 individual automobile. Without additional ado, let’s get proper into it!

1. Understand what wild tenting is

But first… what’s wild tenting?

Also often called 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 need to pay for.

Wild tenting isn’t the identical as tenting in common. 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 in the present day are for vehicle-based wild tenting. However, lots of the factors really apply to the opposite type of wild tenting, resembling 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 precise motorhome or campervan

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The very first thing you must do earlier than beginning your journey is to decide on the precise automobile. Whether you’re shopping for your individual or renting a campervan, it’s essential to select the very best one for your wants. Some options to consider embrace:

Size – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Make positive which you could confidently drive your chosen automobile. While a bigger motorhome could also be extra comfy to reside in, they’re tougher 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 price range, which is able to 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 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 come back 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’s going to 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 massive transformed 4×4 ex-military automobiles that may be pushed onto seashores. You can lease all kinds of automobiles from massive rental corporations like McRent.

Or even from native Scottish folks via websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private desire; although I might suggest the smaller the higher in case you are 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 think about parking in a single day in a motorhome as wild tenting. While 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 straightforward to get permission.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

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The Scottish Outdoor Access Code grants you accountable entry to the Scottish outside. This consists of 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 really 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 personal land, which implies it’s crucial that you simply ask for permission earlier than parking your automobile anyplace.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

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Wild tenting is mostly potential in most locations throughout the nation, besides for one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National 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 National Park from environmental harm, which is smart as a result of Loch Lomond is among the prime vacationer locations in Scotland!

Overall, the overall rule of thumb when wild tenting is to respect any “No overnight parking” signal. And so long as you park someplace distant and smart, you have to be nice.

We will cowl extra rules under that you must observe to have a protected 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 the very best place to seek out wild tenting spots all throughout Scotland (and Europe). It’s a free cell app accessible on each iPhone and Android that reveals you all of the spots the place you possibly can 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 critically 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 each day. Plus, you possibly can share private experiences and ideas a few 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 perform 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 seek out new areas

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Another useful gizmo for discovering new areas is Google Satellite. You can use the satellite tv for pc view on Google Maps to seek out massive open automobile parks or areas the place you could possibly probably keep the evening. 

Or merely search “parking” in any space of the map, which is able to then listing parking spots and you may zoom in to test 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 seems to be like. 

When you’re wild tenting in Scotland or anyplace else, at all times attempt to be as ready as potential. This consists of having an concept of what the positioning you’re planning to sleep in seems to be like.

Read extra journey guides in Scotland

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

For occasions while 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 have accomplished this just a few occasions ourselves and individuals are typically very good about it. Just be certain that to ask in advance.

On the same word, asking locals can also be an effective way to seek out the proper tenting spot. This method, you’ll find 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. Buy the Brit Stops e book 

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This one is a very cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops e book for the yr (it’s launched on a yearly foundation) which is able to then provide you with entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you possibly can 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 listing options plenty of distinctive spots, from nation pubs, wineries, and fruit farms to vacationer points of interest, vintage centres, and extra. 

The e book itself prices £32 and provides 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 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 folks and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

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

how to wild camp in scotland leave no trace
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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. As a consequence, lots of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have boundaries, indicators and police patrols to cease the observe. Be part of the answer, not the issue.

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

This consists of issues like:

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

In common, attempt to minimise any lasting impression on the grounds!

9. Be respectful in different methods

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In addition to cleansing up after your individual 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 might 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 suggest shopping for domestically at any time when potential. Whether which means 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 observe of untamed tenting.

Also, don’t go establishing 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 many days! As a rule of thumb, I might say that staying for solely an evening or two is finest.

10. Avoid consuming alcohol

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If you might be 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 underneath the affect. So, it’s at all times finest to keep away from consuming, particularly while you’re shifting 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 might be 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 intend 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 nearly totally 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 usually fairly changeable. For instance, the West will get twice as a lot rainfall because the East.

As you would possibly count on, summer time is the very best time for wild tenting in Scotland in phrases of climate, although the site visitors might get intense. Despite the sunshine, you must nonetheless put together for cloud, wind, and rain all in the identical day! As nicely as midges, that are famously horrendous to cope with so you’ll need bug spray in the event you 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 in the event you’re unprepared, however actually, I believe the changeable skies add to the expertise…

12. Pack blackout curtains in summer time 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 time months. 

You can rise up to 18 hours of daylight in June in the Northern Highlands, which is a number of alternative to discover the wilderness! But that additionally means sleeping could be 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 plenty of sunscreen too!

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

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

13. …what concerning the toilet scenario?

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One of the most typical considerations folks have when wild tenting is the lavatory scenario. This shouldn’t be an issue while 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… Well, time to be taught the artwork of doing your corporation outside.

In the wilderness, it’s sometimes okay to decide on any spot that’s nicely 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 ft 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 accomplished, you must cowl the opening with the unique filth. If you employ any bathroom paper, be certain that to deliver it again with you and get rid of it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Many of the very best wild tenting spots in Scotland will replenish very early on, particularly in the busy summer time months of June, July and August. In some circumstances, 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.

Better but, think about 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 everything of your journey? There’s no motive you possibly can’t method it slowly. For a number of first-timers, it’s an awesome concept to interrupt up the journey with extra comfy 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, sizzling bathe, stocking up on necessities, and extra.

All in all, wild tenting is really the most effective methods to expertise Scotland. You can cease anyplace and don’t need to depend on registered campsites, so in a method it’s way 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.

If you keep in mind just one factor from this huge listing, it’s to be respectful and thoughtful in all places you go!

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