Wild Camping in Scotland
We are very lucky in Scotland, not only do we have the most beautiful landscape on this planet but we also have a right of access to most of the land and inland waters, meaning we can go almost everywhere responsibly.
Wild camping in Scotland can be a truly uplifting experience. There’s nothing quite like camping under the stars on a crisp evening, watching the aurora and listening to the silence. Being off the grid, back with nature, contemplating your existence, resetting your priorities, being happy!
I had some amazing camps last year, watching the aurora over An Teallach, in Glen Affric and above the Lairig Ghru to name a few. My favourite probably just down from the Devils Point, watching the sunset on Ben Macdui, it was just stunning.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established the framework for our access rights. These rights are based on responsible access with conditions for the user and land owners. These responsibilities are set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, know the code before you go! http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/
Last week’s press was full of comment about the introduction of new bylaws for the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. These new bylaws restrict access to some of the areas around the National Park and fines can be imposed should the responsible camper go outside the designated (pay to camp) camping areas. The full details can be found on their website - http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/.
These restrictions have been put in place in an effort to clean up the loch sides. Unfortunately they penalise the responsible camper instead of the intended irresponsible “party” camper, who does not understand the concept of “leave no trace”. True, they might move these people on but they will just go elsewhere. We should be educating them instead and policing using existing laws to penalise unsocial behaviour. Any erosion into our access rights should be a concern but sustainable access must also be considered. It’s never a black and white answer, the key is consultation and buy in. I wonder where the next restriction will be imposed by land owners watching these developments.
I’ll be taking my trusty tent out again this year, so many places to explore. If you’d like to try a wild camping experience just get in touch!