15 Prime Ideas for Wild Tenting in Scotland

In the event you’re planning to wild camp in Scotland, Bradley of “Dream Huge, Journey Far” shares his 15 high ideas and methods to make your expertise safer and extra nice. They’ve been driving world wide since 2020 and have professional ideas for wild tenting in Scotland and past.

wild camping in scotland view from campervan

The best way 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. Nevertheless, 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 certainly one of our private favourite places to visit anywhere in the world. Notably for vanlifers, because of the many superb 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 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?

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

Wild tenting is just not 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 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 ideas right now are for vehicle-based wild tenting. Nevertheless, most of the factors truly 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 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 car. Whether or not you’re shopping for your individual or renting a campervan, it’s essential to select one of the best one in your wants. Some options to consider embrace:

  • Dimension – 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 comfy to stay 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 slim; 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 finances, which can 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 if you happen to’re renting from a dependable rental firm, however essential if you happen to’re shopping for your individual car. 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 car, but in addition 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 may lease all types of automobiles from massive rental companies like McRent.

And even from native Scottish folks via websites like Outdoorsy. It actually does rely in your private choice; although I might 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 you’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 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. Whereas it’s positively simpler to wild camp if you happen to’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 typically fairly simple to get permission.

The Scottish Outside Entry Code

how to wild camp in scotland outdoor access code

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code grants you accountable entry to the Scottish outdoor. 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 widespread sense and decency whilst you’re wild tenting. Extra on Scotland Journey at: 7 Loopy Adventures in Scotland

Whereas this legislation offers entry to all unenclosed land and inland waters in Scotland, it doesn’t truly embrace vehicular entry. It does, nevertheless, 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 just ask for permission earlier than parking your car anyplace.

Loch Lomond Byelaws

wild camp in scotland loch lomond

Wild tenting is usually attainable in most locations inside the nation, apart from one: the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationwide Park. Between March and September, tenting is just allowed on official campsites or when you 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!

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 wise, you ought to be tremendous.

We are going to cowl extra rules under that you must 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 one of the best place to search 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 critically such a helpful app that may make your journey much less worrying. 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 every single day. Plus, you possibly can share private experiences and ideas a couple of spot, and studying updates from different customers offers you insightful info.

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 areas

beautiful wild camping in scotland

One other useful gizmo for locating new areas 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 possibly can probably keep the evening. 

Or just search “parking” in any space of the map, which can then listing 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 an effective way to scout the realm and see what it seems like. 

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

  • Learn extra journey guides in Scotland

6. Ask at pubs & eating places if you happen to can keep there

For instances once you’re wanting to remain close to the town, it’s price asking at pubs and eating places if you happen to can park your car close by and keep the evening. We have now carried out this a couple of instances ourselves and persons are typically very good about it. Simply be sure that to ask upfront.

On an identical notice, asking locals can also be an effective way to search out the right tenting spot. This fashion, you will discover locations that aren’t even talked about in guidebooks and on-line databases. A pleasant howdy 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 12 months (it’s launched on a yearly foundation) which can then offer you entry to over 1000 wild tenting spots throughout the UK, together with Scotland, the place you possibly can keep at without spending a dime. 

It was impressed by the corporate Harvest Hosts within the USA (which we additionally love), so that is just like the UK model. The listing options a number of distinctive spots, from nation pubs, wineries, and fruit farms to vacationer sights, vintage centres, and extra. 

The guide 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 would like while visiting. 

What’s extra, they now provide 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 depart any mess (Go away 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. In consequence, most 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 Outside Entry Code encourages campers to keep away from inflicting issues for native folks and animals, therefore the “depart no hint” coverage.

This consists of issues like:

  • Eradicating all of your litter
  • Holding 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, outdated archaeological buildings, and many others)

Generally, 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 individual mess, it’s additionally good to be respectful in different methods. That is related regardless 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 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 at any time when attainable. Whether or not 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 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 might 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 might be over the alcohol restrict, there’s a probability you’re going to get fined and prosecuted for driving beneath the affect. So, it’s all the time finest to keep away from ingesting, particularly once 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 folks in Scotland and different nations. 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 a couple 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’ll’t depend on forecasts. This dramatic local weather and shifting climate is, partially, what has helped make Scotland so wild, rugged and delightful. 

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 would possibly count on, summer season is one of the best time for wild tenting in Scotland when it comes to climate, although the visitors might 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 deal with so you will have bug spray if you happen to 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 if you happen to’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 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 could be a little bit of an issue. 

I like to recommend utilizing blackout curtains that may maintain the within of your car (or tent) tremendous darkish. Oh, and don’t overlook a number 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 outdoors. 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 in all probability not one of the best time for wild tenting, the snowy panorama of the winter months does have its personal appeal…

13. …what in regards to the rest room state of affairs?

wild camp scotland tips

Probably the most widespread issues folks have when wild tenting is the lavatory state of affairs. This shouldn’t be an issue once you’re staying near civilization. And in case your car has a bathroom, it’s all a matter of accountable waste disposal. If not… Properly, time to study the artwork of doing your corporation outdoor.

Within the wilderness, it’s usually okay to decide on any spot that’s effectively away from trails. Keep away from waterways and sapling timber, although bigger established timber and bushes are okay. Don’t go instantly 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 ought to be extra cautious. Stroll no less than 200 toes 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 carried out, you must cowl the opening with the unique filth. In the event you use any rest room paper, be sure that to deliver it again with you and get rid of it correctly!

14. In busy season, plan forward

Most of the finest wild tenting spots in Scotland will refill very early on, particularly within the busy summer season 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 probability 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 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 thought of untamed tenting for everything of your journey? There’s no cause you possibly can’t method 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. 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 actually the most effective methods to expertise Scotland. You may 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 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 listing, it’s to be respectful and thoughtful in every single place you go!