15 Prime Ideas for Wild Tenting in Scotland

In the event you’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradley of “Dream Large, Journey Far” shares his 15 high ideas and tips to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving all over the world since 2020 and have knowledgeable 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 is 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 the planet. Notably for vanlifers, because of the 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 personal car. 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?

Also 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 must pay for.

Wild tenting isn’t the identical as tenting generally. Whereas 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 subject, close to a lake, or in a public automotive park.

Because the latter is what we’re finest accustomed with, our options at present are for vehicle-based wild tenting. Nonetheless, 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 appropriate motorhome or campervan

tips to wild camp in scotland

The very first thing it’s best to do earlier than beginning your journey is to decide on the proper car. Whether or not you’re shopping for your personal or renting a campervan, it’s essential to choose the very best one to your wants. Some options to consider embrace:

  • Measurement – Are you travelling alone or with another person? Just remember to can confidently drive your chosen car. Whereas a bigger motorhome could also be extra snug to reside in, they’re more durable to navigate tough terrains and off-the-beaten observe. That is crucially essential 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} car can accommodate.
  • Price range – Don’t overlook to find out your funds, which is able to have an effect on the kind of car you will get and its situation.
  • Full service historical past – This final one shouldn’t be a problem when you’re renting from a dependable rental firm, however essential when you’re shopping for your personal car. 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’s going to not solely be a car, but additionally the place you’ll sleep, cook dinner, eat, and chill out all through your journey.

We noticed all types of campers throughout Scotland. Some travellers have been even in giant transformed 4×4 ex-military autos that may be pushed onto seashores. You possibly can lease all kinds of autos from giant rental corporations like McRent.

And even from native Scottish folks via websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private desire; 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 customarily 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 when 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, take care of the atmosphere, and be answerable for your actions. Mainly, present frequent 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 embrace vehicular entry. It does, nevertheless, enable wild tenting so long as it’s “light-weight and finished in small numbers”.

Street Site visitors Act of 1988

wild camping scotland road traffic act

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

Loch Lomond Byelaws

wild camp in scotland loch lomond

Wild tenting is usually doable in most locations throughout the nation, apart 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 injury, which is sensible as a result of Loch Lomond is among the high vacationer locations in Scotland!

Total, 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 smart, you have to be high-quality.

We’ll cowl extra ideas beneath that it’s best 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 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 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 hectic. 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 offers you insightful data.

The interface itself is tremendous easy and simple 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 seek out new areas

beautiful wild camping in scotland

One other useful gizmo for locating new areas is Google Satellite tv for pc. You should utilize the satellite tv for pc view on Google Maps to seek out giant open automotive parks or areas the place you might doubtlessly keep the night time. 

Or just search “parking” in any space of the map, which is able to then checklist parking spots and you’ll zoom in to verify if it’s viable.

Alternatively, if you have already got a particular spot in thoughts, that is nonetheless a good way to scout the realm and see what it seems like. 

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

  • Learn extra journey guides in Scotland

6. Ask at pubs & eating places when you can keep there

For instances if you’re wanting to remain close to the town, it’s price asking at pubs and eating places when you can park your car close by and keep the night time. Now we have finished this just a few instances ourselves and persons are typically very good about it. Simply be sure to ask prematurely.

On an identical be aware, asking locals can also be a good way to seek out the proper tenting spot. This manner, you could 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 e book 

tips to wild camp in scotland scottish highland cow

This one is a very cool idea. You purchase a bodily Brit Stops e book for the 12 months (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 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 points of interest, vintage centres, and extra. 

The e book itself prices £32 and offers you the prospect to remain in some actually cool areas. It’s also possible to 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 folks and get native suggestions of issues to do across the space!

8. Don’t go away any mess (Go away 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, lots of the finest wild tenting spots have began to shut down and now have limitations, indicators and police patrols to cease the observe. 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
  • Conserving 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, crops, outdated archaeological constructions, and so on)

Normally, 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 great distance.

For instance, don’t be noisy, particularly as soon as night time 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 at any time when doable. 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 observe of untamed tenting.

Additionally, don’t go establishing such as you’re at a campsite. This actually winds folks up, particularly if it seems 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 less than 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’re over the alcohol restrict, there’s a likelihood you’ll get fined and prosecuted for driving underneath 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 occurring to folks in Scotland and different international locations. If you’re in your car 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 night time (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 fully unpredictable, and you’ll’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, partly, 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 season is the very best time for wild tenting in Scotland by way of climate, although the site visitors might get intense. Regardless of the sunshine, it’s best 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 have bug spray when 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 night time. It’s all a bit overwhelming when you’re unprepared, however actually, I feel 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 will be fairly an excessive throughout peak winter and summer season months. 

You possibly can rise 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 is usually a little bit of an issue. 

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

Alternatively, 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 approach 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 appeal…

13. …what concerning the lavatory scenario?

wild camp scotland tips

One of the vital frequent considerations 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 car has a rest room, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Effectively, 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 not less than 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 may nonetheless decompose the waste whereas stopping others from stepping on it.

As soon as finished, it’s best to cowl the opening with the unique grime. In the event you use any rest room paper, be sure 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 season months of June, July and August. In some instances, chances are you’ll 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.

Higher but, contemplate 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 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 snug campsites.

You’ll be wild tenting for 2 nights and staying on a campsite for one night time. It is 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 rest room, scorching bathe, stocking up on necessities, and extra.

All in all, wild tenting is really among the best methods to expertise Scotland. You possibly can cease anyplace and don’t must depend on registered campsites, so in a means it’s way more releasing.

The Scottish countryside is certainly an oasis of breathtaking sceneries and various wildlife. I hope the following pointers 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 all over the place you go!

Leave a Comment