Scotland is very well known for its brilliant wild camping spots, and the fact that it is legal to do it. Although this brings an incredible amount of freedom, there is an etiquette that you should really follow when doing so. We have outlined all of this for you in our wild camping guide, which you can check out right here! Throughout our North Coast 500 adventure, we camped wild as much as we could. This saved us an incredible amount of money, which was better spent on more important things (aka beer). This blog is for you guys, highlighting our wild camping spots around the NC500!
As budget backpackers, this is the accommodation that we would recommend, especially if you are on the go. Out of the countless reasons why this is best, here are a few –
- It doesn’t cost you a penny;
- You can choose the perfect spot that you want;
- You can constantly move on without worrying about arriving at a campsite on time to check in. There is absolutely no hurry, just pull up when you see a spot.
Around the NC500 you will see many campervans pulled up at various locations. It may be easier for them to wild camp if they have toilet and shower facilities on board and a lot of water. Although having no shower, finding the perfect pee spot and being eaten alive by midgies is all part of the fun right?! Our trip was more Wild Glamping than camping, as we brought our pillows and an air bed, for a bit of added comfort. May as well fill the car whilst we’ve got it! Check out our guide to Glamping to see the things you can pack for a more luxurious adventure.
A 5-minute drive from the small town of Dornoch is the beautiful white sandy beach. Bustling with children and families on a warm day it was almost eerie pitching up here at night with only the sound of the crashing waves. This spot was pretty perfect though as it had a sheltered area which we used for cooking.
A beautiful spot around the corner from John ‘o Groats is the Duncasby Lighthouse. This was a popular overnight stop for campervans however we were the only tent. This was a stunning place for a view of the sea and a perfect sunset. Just watch out for the sheep poo!
Strathy Point Lighthouse
Hidden away from the main road near Thurso is a road leading to the Strathy Point lighthouse. There were a few campervans parked up just before the car park, showing us its a perfect spot to pitch up. We pulled over onto a flat bit of grass just before that and spent the night. Another stunning sea view along with a beautiful walk to the lighthouse in the morning.
Ceannabeine Beach/ Village Trail
There are lots of beautiful spots around this area to wild camp. When we were choosing an area around here we wanted one that wasn’t too far a walk from the car as it had started raining, and also a spot with mobile reception. We pitched up late enough at night that there didn’t appear to be anyone coming to do the village trail. We also made sure that we were away early enough in the morning before any visitors came.
If you fancy more of a beach view and don’t mind the lack of mobile reception, the Ceannabeine Beach is perfect for you! This is slightly further away from Durness.
By night five, we were due a shower and clothes wash. We decided to pitch up at a Scourie Caravan and Camping and settled in for the night. This also allowed us to plug into electrics and charge up our many devices! This campsite is right on the seaside, with stunning views of the nearby beach and harbour.
This campsite will cost you a very reasonable £20 for 2 people, no car and an electrical hook-up. The laundry facilities are £2 for the washing machine and £1 for 30 minutes in the drier.
Ullapool was a bit harder to find a flat spot to wild camp on that was far enough away from the town. If you are entering from the north there is a flat spot up a hill that we managed to heave our car up, to camp up there. This spot is right beside a main road so can be quite noisy during the night, however it is very hidden so you won’t be bothered.
This was definitely one of my favourite spots on the trip. About 4 miles north of Poolewe we managed to pull in down an old dead-end dirt track and find a flat bit to pitch our tent with another spectacular sea view.
As it is further back from the road, you shouldn’t be bothered by the traffic too much. This spot is in high demand however, as we had about 3 people coming looking after us. Try and get there before 5pm to bag the spot before anyone else.
There are loads of wild camping spots in Applecross. We saw some tents pitched along the beach that looked set up to be spending at least a few days there. We pitched up on the other side of the town, within walking distance to the pub! Yet again, another great sea view.
So if you are planning a NC500 adventure of your own, take the leap and try out these amazing wild spots. With the views we had, you will not regret it! If you found this guide helpful then have a look at our other NC500 posts right here! Also make sure you subscribe to our mailing list so you never miss a post.
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