Scotland’s great outdoors is one of its greatest appeals, and one of the best ways of experiencing the exhilarating views and spectacular wildlife is on a camping holiday. There’s a huge range of high quality camp sites to choose from situated in just about every corner of Scotland. And there are camp sites to suit all budgets, tastes and itineraries, so whether you are looking for a fun family break with plenty of activities and facilities, or simply a relaxing holiday in a more isolated spot, there are lots to choose from.
But if you believe camping is supposed to be about enjoying the great outdoors and getting back to the simple life, surrounded by nature, then the answer is ‘wild camping’. The idea is simple – choose your location, pack your tent and head-off into the landscape, map in hand for a few nights under the stars. No official campsites involved, no other people to worry about, no problems.
Wild camping is one of the most exciting and enjoyable ways to explore the Scottish countryside and absorb its dramatic vistas. It’s perhaps an experience everyone should undertake at least once in their lives. But how can you prevent your ‘great escape’ being totally spoiled by a sudden visit from an angry landowner? Well, in reality this doesn’t happen very often in Scotland, and if you set-up camp responsibly it most likely will never happen.
Legally speaking, the Trespass (Scotland) Act of 1865 made it an offence to camp or light fires on private land without the consent of the landowner. However, thanks to the Land Reform Act 2003, in Scotland wild camping is now legal, provided it is carried-out responsibly (there are exceptions in certain sensitive areas – please check with relevant authorities if you are in doubt).
If you’d like to experience wild camping for yourself, then here are a few tips on camping etiquette that’ll keep the landowner’s feathers from being ruffled and possibly making an ‘official’ complaint.
- Keep groups small
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible
- Leave camp as you found it
- Remove all litter (even other people’s)
- Carry out everything you carried in
- Carry out tampons and sanitary towels (burying them doesn’t work as animals dig them up again)
- Choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
- Toilet duties should be performed 50m from water and buried at least 20cm deep
- Avoid lighting a fire unless you are very sure is does not represent a fire risk to surrounding countryside
- At all time, help preserve the environment
- And if you are in any doubt about what you’re doing, and where you are going, find out more
Hope this has been helpful – any further information you may require, check with Scottish Natural Heritage. Happy camping.