Camping In Scotland - Camping in the Wilderness
came into effect on the 9th of February 2005. In short this code serves to give best practice advice to both landowners and countryside users alike with the aim of opening up rural tracks and paths to the general public for recreational use.
One of the joys of visiting Scotland is to appreciate their long standing culture of their ‘no trespass law’ in which so long as nothing is disturbed you will have the right to wander the land as you please. The new laws which have been bandied around the Scottish Parliament for the last two years have attempted to rectify certain grey areas in this field and no doubt we will be seeing more advertisements in the ‘Know before you go’ vein. For further details on the new rights of access - http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com
With all this new land opening up there becomes even more to explore in the highlands, but depending on how wild you want it, Scotland has much to offer. In this article I aim to provide a few specific places to visit as well as an overview of the surrounding territory to allow the reader to embark on their own adventure whilst utilising some useful tips from previous forays.
Langholm – Eskdale – Gerwaldwaterfoot – Fingland (not on maps pre-1995) –
Based on a route from the border to the West Highlands of Scotland, these places offer their own unique style of sheltered camp spots, beautiful scenery and the chance to recoup from a long drive/walk. While being on the main route to the heart of Scotland there are many secluded spots for wild camping to be found by tracing branching roads into parkland or forestry. As ever, trial and error play a big part in this regard. Always keep a look out for livestock and wardens and be prepared to move on should either present themselves. If in doubt, move out.
Besides filling your packs with suitable underpants, there are important considerations which need to be made before embarking on your chosen route into the wilderness. There’s an old adage which encourages attentiveness to any given scenario which is, ‘Fail to plan - plan on failing.’ This is a particularly militaristic approach that would not necessarily apply to all of us. Indeed it is fair to say that with ‘on the hop’ planning you’ll be better prepared for ever changing weather conditions and won’t be confined to a single pitch. There’s something quite magical about kitting up and not knowing where you may be spending the next night and very rewarding too (whether or not that is at the end of the day’s journey or months on in hind sight and after a few stiff drinks.). From a practical point of view it would be wise to consider the following;-
As a general rule of thumb, be prepared to pitch late and rise early and leave the site as you found it. Also try not to stay more than one night in the same place when camping wild as various types of heather may take a long time to recover from being over burdened.