When it comes to wild camping in Scotland, there are no hard and fast rules that save the ability to choose a location, set up camp, and spend the night.
Some people use tents for shelter, while others consider stopping their camper by the side of the road for the night to be wild camping in Scotland, and still, others will never use a tent, preferring to bring only a three-season mummy bag and a waterproof Bivy. The most appealing aspects of wild camping in Scotland remain the same regardless of how you choose to do it: complete unpredictability and not having to pay for a night’s lodging.
You are choosing a location for the night.
Everything belongs to someone, even land, whether it be a tiny plot of farmland or a vast national park. If someone discovers you sleeping on their private property, they have every right to move you on. The national parks all have regulations regarding what you can and cannot do, so it is worth checking ahead of time.
Trying to figure out who owns what property may be complex, especially if you are searching for a spot to sleep after a day of trekking, and this is always a bit of a grey area, but following a few simple guidelines can protect you from being moved on during the night.
Allow yourself enough time to choose a suitable sleeping location.
When you have the option to choose a spot to sleep for the night a few hours before sunset and return just as it gets dark, you minimize the likelihood of anybody noticing where you are sleeping and should always be a safety concern.
Light and Noise
Unless you are genuinely in the middle of nowhere or have permission to camp, it is usually a good idea to keep light and noise to a minimum.
Before you go, make sure you have everything in order.
When you pack up the next day, leave nothing but the divot in the grass from where you slept. I like to gather my gear and then take a final walk around to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. If you don’t leave a mess, you’ll be able to utilize the place again if you need to, and you won’t irritate any potential landowners who are against hikers and ramblers.
If possible, obtain permission.
If you have the opportunity to request permission to be on someone’s property, always do so; in my experience, most people will be OK with it if you are courteous and explain that you will leave the area neat.
Wild Camping in Scotland Suggestions
Take everything you’ve learned from years of wild camping in Scotland. I’ve compiled a top ten list of tips and tactics to make my wild camp a little more comfortable.
- Place your sleeping bag and your camping blanket in the bottom of your suitcase (it is the last item you will need) This guide can help you if you need sleeping accessories.
- Put your sleeping bag inside a waterproof dry bag; nothing is worse than a chilly, damp bag.
- Bring one wet kit (for usage throughout the day) and one dry equipment (for use in the evening).
- Place your wet gear in a dry bag and use it as a cushion.
- If frost is predicted on a chilly night, place your boots inside a sack and then into the foot-well of your sleeping bag to keep them from freezing.
- Use a metal mug to cook, boil in the bag meal and make a lovely warm drink with the remaining water right before night.
- A tarp is much lighter than a tent; try it on your next vacation, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
- Light activity before getting into your sleeping bag on a chilly night helps warm you up and warm the air in your sleeping bag faster.
- Always have a headlamp with you when you go into your bag; you will undoubtedly wake up in the middle of the night having to use the restroom and not be able to see anything.
- Before you go into your bag, boil some water and put it in your water bottle; it will keep you warm till you fall asleep.