How to Have the Ultimate Wild Camping Experience in Scotland
Scotland is such a beautiful country and it’s filled with stunning views, breath-taking beaches, and gorgeous wild camping spots.
Whether you want to bag a Munro or enjoy wonderful white sand beaches, there’s something to see and do for everyone – and it will make your Scottish wild camping trip truly special.
So, here’s our guide to getting the ultimate wild camping experience in one of our favourite places.
What is the law about wild camping in Scotland?
As you know, Scotland has its own laws, so it’s worth brushing up on the rules north of the border before you go.
Wild camping is legal in Scotland, but you do need to ask permission of any landowner before you camp on their land. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gave wild campers permission to camp on most unenclosed land. After inconsiderate wild camping in some areas of Lock Lomond and in the Trossachs National Park, wild camping byelaws were introduced meaning it is only permitted within campsites or with a permit for camping.
There is a Scottish Outdoor Access Code which helps wild campers stay on the right side of the rules. It says campers should not cause any pollution, take away litter, and remove all traces of their tent or campfire being there. You should leave no trace.
You should also take good care not to disturb grouse shooting or deer stalking, and you should not camp in enclosed fields containing crops or farm animals.
It’s also worth taking a look at our guide to wild camping best practice.
What should you do before heading to the hills?
Try out your tent and ensure it can withstand a windy hillside. Pitch it in all weather conditions to ensure you can do it safely and quickly.
Ensure you have an all-weather tent as the temperature and conditions can change suddenly in the mountains and hills, and you can experience driving rain, snow, and ice near the summits even when the weather is mild at the foot of the hills.
Ensure you have a plan to deal with drinking water, litter, and waste, so pack your litter bags and trowel. If you’ll need to drink water from streams, ensure you have enough water purification tablets.
Prepare for wet weather with dry bags for key items like maps, torches, phones, matches, socks, and clothes. Pack a whistle and a mirror to help you raise the alarm if necessary and ensure you have a stocked first aid kit.
Letting people know your itinerary before you go is also important and stick to camping stoves rather than having open fires to minimise the risk of wildfires.
What are the useful extras you need to pack to enjoy your stay in Scotland?
Scotland is not just famous for its scenery and whisky distilleries, it’s also famous for midges!
The term ‘midge’ covers several species of flies, and not all those species bite. However, the females of some of them need blood to help them reproduce, and their bites can be quite painful, leaving itchy red bumps.
Midge season is between late spring and late summer, and they are very common in the Scottish Highlands. So, what can you do to avoid becoming midge food?
Midges like grasslands and damp areas, they are most active at dawn and in the evening, and they prefer victims who are still rather than on the move. Pick your wild camping spot carefully and choose somewhere in direct sun with a breeze as midges don’t like these conditions.
They like dark clothes so dress in bright clothes, and avoid leaving your tent open, especially when you have the camping light on.
Pack plenty of insect repellent like Jungle Formula or Smidge and use it liberally. Highland walkers also swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft dry body oil which is also very effective against marauding midges.
Where there are a lot of midges, it’s also sensible to invest in a midge net to cover your face and it’s a good idea to ensure any screens you use over tent doors and windows don’t have any holes.
The country is also home to tens of thousands of other species of flora and fauna, everything from majestic red deer stags, otters, and wildcats to bottlenose dolphins, long-eared owls, and red squirrels. So, don’t forget to take your binoculars, too!
What are some of the best wild camping spots in Scotland?
Wild camping in the mountains – The Cairngorms National Park has some excellent wild camping spots where you will drink in the peace and freedom and marvel at the stunning views and dark skies. They include Glenfeshie, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul, Angel’s Peak, and Lairig Ghru. If you’re walking the Fisherfield Six in the Munros, wild camp at Gleann na Muice, Fisherfield, or enjoy the wild beauty of Barrisdale in Knoydart.
Wild camping beside Scottish loughs – Pitch your tent near Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, a tranquil freshwater loch, on the east of beautiful Glen Affric. Canoeists love this area as there are numerous small islets in the loch to be explored. Or explore Loch Assynt in Sutherland and look for the fabled ‘mermaid of Loch Assynt’ near the medieval castle. Or marvel at the beautiful cascading waterfall when you wild camp at Inveranan, Loch Lomond.
Wild camping on the Scottish isles or on the coast – Wake up to beautiful beaches, wide open skies, and a feeling of freedom at Glen Sannox, on the Isle of Arran, Quiraing on the Isle of Skye Peanmeanach Beach in Ardnish, or Rackwick Bay on Orkney. You could also enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Isle of Rum by wild camping at Kilmory Bay.
Looking to learn how to wild camp? – Try a night or two at Bonaly Reservoir near Edinburgh. You’ll also be able to get in some enjoyable hill walking in the Pentland Hills.
What better way to enjoy our wonderful countryside, connect with nature, and truly relax?
So, it’s time to plan that trip, pitch that tent, and enjoy the big skies of Scotland! Here’s why you’ll fall in love with it Click Here