Scotland is a land of mountains, lochs, and rugged coastline. It’s a country with a rich history and stunning natural beauty that draws visitors from all over the world. If you’re looking for an adventure in Scotland, wild camping is an excellent way to experience the country’s wilderness, whether it be in a motorhome, campervan or tent.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about wild camping in Scotland, including where to camp, what to bring, and how to leave no trace.
Where to Wild Camp in Scotland?
Scotland has a law that allows people to wild camp in most of the countryside. However, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which provides guidelines on responsible access to the outdoors. Here are some popular spots for wild camping in Scotland:
- Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park: This national park has some of the best wild camping spots in Scotland. You can camp near the loch or in the surrounding hills. We spent a night wild camping right on the shores of Loch Lomond when we travelled Scotland in our motorhome, and it was beautiful, minus the rain and the midges!
- Isle of Skye: The Isle of Skye has some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes. You can camp on the beach or in the hills and enjoy the stunning views. If you’re planning to travel Scotland in your motorhome or campervan, then the Isle of Skye needs to be high on your list of places to visit.
- Cairngorms National Park: This park is the largest in Scotland and has plenty of wild camping spots. You can camp near rivers or in the hills.
- The West Highland Way: This long-distance trail has many wild camping spots along the way. You can camp near streams or in the hills and enjoy the scenery.
Our favourite Wild Camping spots in Scotland
Loch Lomond – This is a great spot right on the shores of Loch Lomond and also close to many hiking routes up Ben Lomond. Wild camping is allowed here and it is also right next to the Ben Lomond visitor centre where there are some facilities available – , , West Highland Way, Stirling, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
Tain, Balintore – This is an amazing beach wild camping spot as you may your way up towards the NC500 – , Tain,Port Street, Highland Council, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
Durness – We stayed here for one night and it was an incredible wild camping spot with the most amazing views over the beach. There is also a zipline that you can do here, the Golden Eagle zip line, which runs right across the beach! , Lairg,A838, Highland Council, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
The Isle of Skye – We parked here overnight before we made the crossing onto the Isle of Skye – , Kyleakin, South Obbe Road, Highland, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
The Kylesku Bridge – An amazing spot right next to the Kylesku Bridge , , A894, Highland, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
Loch Lochy – This was one of our favourite wild camping spots in Scotland. It is right on the shores of Loch Lochy which is absolutely beautiful. You can get into the loch for swimming, kayaking etc. , Spean Bridge, A82, Highland, United Kingdom (park4night.com)
What to Bring for Wild Camping in Scotland?
When you’re planning a wild camping trip in Scotland, you need to make sure you have the right gear. Here are some essentials:
- Tent: If you’re wild camping in a tent, you need a good quality tent that can withstand the Scottish weather.
- Sleeping bag: Make sure you have a warm and comfortable sleeping bag.
- Cooker: You’ll need a camping stove to cook your meals.
- Food: Bring plenty of food, including snacks and drinks.
- Warm clothing: Scotland can be cold and wet, so make sure you have warm and waterproof clothing.
- First aid kit: A first aid kit is essential in case of accidents.
- Map and compass: Make sure you have a map and compass and know how to use them.
- Headtorch or flashlight: You’ll need a headtorch or flashlight for navigating in the dark.
- Insect repellent: Scotland has plenty of midges, so insect repellent is absolutely essential.
If you’d like to know more about van life in Scotland, we have a whole bunch of blog posts that you can check out here – Scotland – Three As A Bird – Van Life Travels
How to Leave No Trace When Wild Camping in Scotland
It’s important to leave no trace when wild camping in Scotland. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Camp on durable surfaces: Choose a spot that won’t be damaged by your camping gear.
- Leave no rubbish: Take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it properly.
- Use a stove: Use a camping stove to cook your meals and avoid starting fires.
- Respect wildlife: Keep your distance from wildlife and don’t disturb their habitats.
- Respect other campers: Keep noise to a minimum and respect the privacy of other campers.
Is wild camping legal in Scotland?
Yes, wild camping is legal in most of the Scottish countryside, but you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Do I need a permit for wild camping in Scotland?
No, you don’t need a permit for wild camping in Scotland.
Can I camp anywhere in Scotland?
No, you can’t camp anywhere in Scotland. You can only camp in the countryside, away from residential or agricultural areas. Also, it’s important to choose a spot that won’t damage the environment.
Is it safe to wild camp in Scotland?
Yes, it’s generally safe to wild camp in Scotland, but you should take precautions to ensure your safety. Make sure you know the weather forecast, carry appropriate gear, and let someone know your plans.
What are the best times to go wild camping in Scotland?
The best times to go wild camping in Scotland are during the summer months from May to September when the weather is milder. However, it’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions, even in summer.
Wild camping in Scotland is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty of the country. With its stunning landscapes and rich history, Scotland is an ideal destination for adventurous travellers.
However, it’s important to follow the guidelines provided by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to ensure that you leave no trace and respect the environment. By planning carefully and packing the right gear, you can have a safe and memorable wild camping trip in Scotland.
We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need for your next adventure in Scotland!
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!