Wild camping in Scotland

Fancy getting off the beaten track? If you don't mind sacrificing the usual day-to-day comforts and conveniences and want to explore the areas of Scotland that very few visit, then wild camping is for you. It's a great way to discover remote parts of our stunning landscapes and get close to nature. Plus, the experience definitely comes with a great feeling of adventure!

Read The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

If you're planning a wild camping trip, be sure to familiarise yourself with our Guide to Safety Outdoors and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. It's not complicated - basically, campers should follow a policy of 'leave-no-trace'.

Here are some top points to follow:

  • Avoid overcrowding by moving on to another location if it's already a busy spot.
  • Wherever possible, use a stove rather than an open fire. Never light an open fire during dry periods or in sensitive places like forests or peaty ground.
  • Take away your rubbish and consider picking up other litter as well.
  • If in doubt, ask the landowner. Their advice just might help you find a better camping spot.

A Guide to Wild Camping in Scotland

Wild camping Skye Fairy Pools

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

However, due to overuse, areas of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is subject to wild camping byelaws. This means that camping is only permitted within campsites or with a camping permit.

Be a Responsible Camper

Getting away from cities and civilisation to spend some quality time on your own or with a few others often makes for a great holiday in Scotland. However, it is essential to be responsible and considerate of your surrounding in doing so.

Make sure you read up on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before you go, and make yourself aware of the dos and don'ts of wild camping in Scotland.

Guidance on Lighting Fires

Lighting a fire is a good source of heat and way to cook food when wild camping, but there are ways to do this that ensure safety for you and the surrounding landscapes.

  • Where possible, use a stove rather than an open fire
  • If you light a fire, keep it small, controlled and supervised
  • Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods or in areas such as forests, woods, farmland, or on peaty ground
  • Make sure the fire has been properly extinguished and remove all traces of an open fire before you leave the area

Wild Camping Top Tips to Remember

  • Leave camp as you found it
  • Avoid digging or removing vegetation and boulders; choose a flat, dry area to pitch your tent
  • Ask nearby residents if you wish to camp near houses
  • Wild camping access rules do not apply to motorised vehicles. Learn more about parking in the outdoors and read our guidelines for camping and caravanning
  • Avoid sites that are at risk of overuse
  • Take care with toilet hygiene. Use public toilets where possible

Don't forget...

Across the length and breadth of Scotland there are some really fantastic camping parks in stunning locations, from beachside crofts to wooded areas lined with ancient pines. By pitching up at a proper campsite, it means that our natural environments and their often fragile ecosystems remain intact. As we like to say, considerate campers are happy campers!