Wild camping in Scotland

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  • Two cyclists sitting outside their tent while camping on Horgabost beach on the Isle of Harris
    Horgabost beach on the Isle of Harris
  • A shot of a pitched tent by the coast with the ruins of Dunnottar Castle on a clifftop  in the background.
    Camping near the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
  • View of a pitched tent by the coastline near Horgabost on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides
    Wild camping near Horgabost on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides
  • Shot of a tent pitched on the edge of the Lyne Water, The Scottish Borders.
    Wild camping by the Lyne Water, The Scottish Borders
  • A tent pitched by the sea at Sandy Geo, near Ness of Ork, on Shapinsay, Orkeny.
    Camping at Sandy Geo on Shapinsay, Orkney

You can go wild camping in Scotland and enjoy a night under the stars but be sure you follow the guidelines laid out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Where organised campsites aren't available, wild camping can be a great way of exploring remote parts of Scotland's stunning countryside, getting close to nature and responsibly enjoying the tranquillity of some of the wildest places in the UK.

As part of Scotland’s access legislation, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, you are allowed to camp on most unenclosed land.

But with this right of wild camping in Scotland comes responsibilities and it's vital that campers leave these wild places unblemished by their visit and protect them for future visitors and campers.

Responsible wild camping

In order to camp safely and responsibly, make sure you read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which provides guidelines for accessing the countryside and choosing appropriate campsites.

Wild campers should apply the good practice 'leave-no-trace' guidelines as detailed on Scotland’s Outdoor Access website.

These are:

  • Avoid overcrowding by moving on to another location
  • Carry a trowel to bury toilet waste and urinate well away from water courses
  • Use a stove or leave no trace of any camp fire. Never cut down or damage trees
  • Take away your rubbish and consider picking up other litter as well
  • If in doubt, ask the landowner. Their advice might help you find a better camping spot.

Alternatively, you can also enjoy Scotland’s breathtaking beauty without damaging the environment by camping at caravan parks and takingfull advantage of all their facilities.

Find out more about camping and caravan park holidays or get some great ideas on things to do with our camping summer pocket guide to Scotland.