Growing up as very outdoorsy people, both Gemma and I have a huge passion for camping, hiking and all other outdoor activities. Camping opens up endless possibilities of budget travel not only in Scotland, but across the entire world. We love to share these experiences and this enthusiasm with as many people as possible, in order to inspire and encourage everyone to try it. This is our guide to Wild Camping and all of our best tips that go with it!
One of Scotland’s greatest charms is the Right to Roam law, allowing all persons to venture where you please, as long as you do so respectfully. This opens the door to the glorious and desolate highlands that Scotland has to offer, and the beauty that lies there. As well as this right, across the majority of Scotland’s incredible landscape, you have the right to camp where you wish. This of course does have certain limitations, see here for details.
Why Choose to Camp Wild
There is honestly no better feeling than getting out into the open and being the only one for miles around. The only problem with that is, there isn’t going to be a hotel in the middle of nowhere.. That’s where the fun begins! Carry a tent, sleeping bag and roll mat on your back and you can choose what view you wake up to, wherever it may be.
In addition to this incredible independence from society, wild camping also offers a much cheaper way of travelling around Scotland’s incredible landscape. Even though campsites around Scotland are not overly expensive, wild camping is completely free! During our North Coast 500 adventure, we camped wild for the vast majority of our trip and saved an incredible amount of money.
How to Find the Perfect Spot
When you are looking for a spot to pitch up for the night, you cannot just choose anywhere you wish. Some people might not take too kindly to waking up to discover you pitched up in their back garden.
The rules we usually follow are
- Ensure you’re out of sight of any residences, or at least 200m away from them.
- Choose a spot that is that isn’t going to have people walking past your tent regularly.
- Don’t pitch up right beside a campsite, this is seen as quite rude. If you find an ideal spot, head around the corner out of sight of the campsite and you will be fine.
- When you leave the camping spot as you found it. There should be no evidence that you were there, apart from footprints and good memories!
Packing Essentials for Wild Camping
In order to survive in the wild, you will need to bring certain items with you that you normally wouldn’t need to worry about. Without an accessible toilet, washing facilities, drinking water, cooking facilities or shelter, life in the wild is all about being prepared.
Our years of experience camping both wild and on campsites have given us enough failures to put together a good list of camping essentials to survive in the wild. For a full guide to what we bring camping, read our Cheap Guide to Glamping.
Items specific to wild camping are:
- Toilet paper
- Water storage containers (at lesast 5L worth)
- Cooking equipment (gas, cooker, plates, pots and pans, cutlery etc.)
- Poo shovel (lol, but yeah seriously hide your poo)
- Tupperware for preparing and storing meals. These are brilliant for turning dinner leftovers into tomorrows lunch.
One last thing that must be made clear is how to behave if you do decide to wild camp. Across Scotland, there are more and more spaces where wild camping has been made illegal. This is mainly due to the disrespect these spaces have received due to people camping and not behaving themselves.
When we wild camp, the essential rules you MUST follow are:
- Only camp where it is acceptable (as per the previous section)
- Do not disturb the surrounding area and respect the locals. Remember you are their guest, act as such.
- When you leave the area (and I know I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again), make sure you leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories! The biggest crime you can do while wild camping, and is the main reason it is becoming illegal.
- Bury your waste (including the toilet paper). Don’t leave your business lying around.
So get out there and enjoy the incredible scenery that Scotland has to offer! Hopefully with this guide, we can inspire you to explore a bit more and treat this beautiful world with the respect it deserves.
If you found this guide useful then check out our other Travel Tips and follow our adventure on our social medias.
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