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  #1  
Old 3 Jan 2010
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wild camping in scotland - maybe some inspiration for someone

I just stumbled upon a trip report my friends made of a camping trip to scotland last year, which I'd forgotten about.

Lots of photos and the story of 4 guys and a dog going up to scotland on two sidecar outfits and a solo. A lot of people question how easy it is to wild camp without upsetting anyone, but if this ragtag bunch could do it then it can't be that hard, can it?


I didn't write any of it so if you find it boring don't blame me! It was a fun trip and made for a very cheap enjoyable biking holiday. You don't neccessarily have to go far and spend lots of cash to enjoy a little bit of motorcycle adventure

Scotland bash 2008


A couple of the photos:





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Old 3 Jan 2010
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That looks like a fun trip


Bring on the spring !
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Old 3 Jan 2010
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Great photo's. Not sure about the scuzzy longjohn shots though, some things are best left unshared!

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Old 4 Jan 2010
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Looks like a fun trip!

See you made it up the Applecross road too. Was there a few years ago with the girlfriend on a 5 day trip around scotland... It was May and the weather had been so bad leading up to it so we took the car... The weather was perfect the whole time!!!! arghh! wish we had taken the bike.

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Old 7 Jan 2010
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That looks like a fantastic trip!

Is it allowed in Scotland to do wild camping, cause it would seriously cut my expenses down. I've been to Glasgow once last year for the World Pipe Band Championships, a buddy of mine was playing there with their band. I went by motorcycle and arrived at 6.30pm right in time for the prize-giving and actually didn't see 1 band playing. The next day I rode back home (Antwerp-Glasgow-Antwerp in 48 hours) with a little detour around loch lomond and the Trossachs. I vowed to return cause it was to beautiful and this time with a little bit more time on my hands.

When would be the best time to go there, weatherwise?
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Old 7 Jan 2010
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hi there,
with regards to weather summer is your best bet, but the weather can change in 10 miles in a lot of areas of scotland. It also depends on what you want to see, as the hills and forrests change alot during the seasons.
The youth hostels are pretty cheap alternative to camping and the few we have used have been in nice spots. Wild Camping can be a hit or miss, fires are not allowed in most areas, Glens and forrests which have rangers or gamekeepers will move you on and if you try riding any of the forrest tracks again there is good chance either the police or a game keeper will turn up and tell you to sod off.
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Old 8 Jan 2010
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Cheers, dude!

This must have been a helluva fun trip...


Congratulations!
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Old 10 Jan 2010
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That looks like a fun trip. We'll be in the UK for about a month in June 2010 and I feel a bit inspired already, taking bits and pieces of information from here and there. That road to Applecross that you're talking about, is that this one between Tornapress and Applecross?

wild camping in scotland - maybe some inspiration for someone-applecross.jpg

In regard to wild camping: didn't the Land Reform Act of 2003 specifically legalize wild camping as long as you play fair, don't leave anything behind, and keep a minimum distance to settlements?

Quote:
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and Scottish Outdoor Access Code came into force on 9th February 2005. The Act establishes a statutory right to camp and the Code describes the responsibilities and best practice guidance that should be followed when exercising your right to camp wild.

Source: MCofS Guide to Wild Camping

I ask because we do plan to camp wild while in Scotland, and, whenever possible, also in England and Wales.
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Old 10 Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by mj View Post

In regard to wild camping: didn't the Land Reform Act of 2003 specifically legalize wild camping as long as you play fair, don't leave anything behind, and keep a minimum distance to settlements?


Source: MCofS Guide to Wild Camping

I ask because we do plan to camp wild while in Scotland, and, whenever possible, also in England and Wales.
There are rights and then there are "rights"...

The act does indeed exist and you have the legal rights that are enshrined in the act. However, tradition runs deep, many "locals" are not in favour of the act and if you camp or even walk over land the owner, his employees (game keepers etc) and the local Police don't want you on then they will move you on.

Alas, people in this country are not welcoming to foreigners or indeed people they do not know personally and even then...think of the way gypsies are treated in some parts of central and eastern Europe and that is the welcome you will receive in too many parts of the UK.

Also, in some of the Islands they lock up the children's swings on Sundays lest they "enjoy" themselves on the sabath

But hey - when has such things ever stopped people like us?
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Old 10 Jan 2010
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Yes that's applecross and the beautiful road leading to it. From the village you can follow the coast up north and come back out on the main road further up. We camped on the beach in the village as there's no other accessible beaches that we could find on that bit of coastline. However the previous year we were warned that the guy that owns the commercial camping site in the village occasionally calls the police and gets people free-camping on the beach moved on.

If you use some common sense and little bit of descretion you should be fine wild camping in Scotland. The two years I've been up there camping I didn't see too many places with 'no camping' signs. A lot of the locals wild camp themselves so don't dissaprove.

England's another matter though. Expect to struggle to find discrete nice spots. And like the above poster said, don't be surprised if you get a negative reaction off locals if someone comes across you. Land owners (famers) can be very hostile to "tresspassers", i've had someone try to start a fight with me before in totally innocent circumstances. If you're dressed up like a typical "adventure motorcyclist" in bmw or touratech type gear, and on a foreign number plate, you might get a warmer reaction. An "old school" biker image will probably not go down quite so well. Sometimes you can camp round the back of village pubs - If you spend some cash in there drinking first. Though some village pubs can be surprisingly posh and/or snobby.

If you like I can mark up a map with a few places I know are good for camping in Scotland, and a couple of commercial camping sites in England.
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Old 10 Jan 2010
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If you like I can mark up a map with a few places I know are good for camping in Scotland, and a couple of commercial camping sites in England.
That would be great and very helpful, I'd really appreciate it.

I wonder tho (maybe that's the German in me): if the law says wild camping is legal how is it possible that the police actually asks you to move on? Or is that one of those rights and "rights" situations? To be honest, from what I've read here Scotland does not seem very friendly and welcoming, and I was actually looking forward to going there and spending some time off the beaten path. But then again Fastship is probably right - when did that ever stop people like us? We'll probably still have a great time and nothing to worry about.
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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To be honest, from what I've read here Scotland does not seem very friendly and welcoming,
That is so very far from the truth.

The Scots are one of the most hospitable people in the UK, but you get out what you put in. Some places have very strick religious undertones, such as the Islands, but then again treat it as you would visiting anywhere, with understanding and respect. When in Rome, as they say!

I visit Scotland every year, on numerous occasions and I've never ever had a bad experience with people being un-friendly, apart from some English people who take thier 'city life' attitude with them.

I've wild camped on occasion, and treat it like I would wild camp anywhere. be discrete, clear up and alway have a firendly nad open outlook to others. B&B's, hotels and Guest Houses offer a great way to get into the minds of the locals. In Skye I was given some ideas of where to camp from a Guest House owner.

There is a difference between 'wild camping' and what some Gypsy's are doing (staying for weeks). This is probably the basis for any bad will, in my opinion it's fine to wild camp overnight, but when it becomes two or three days in the same spot it's not really in the spirit of it.
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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That would be great and very helpful, I'd really appreciate it.

I wonder tho (maybe that's the German in me): if the law says wild camping is legal how is it possible that the police actually asks you to move on? Or is that one of those rights and "rights" situations? To be honest, from what I've read here Scotland does not seem very friendly and welcoming, and I was actually looking forward to going there and spending some time off the beaten path. But then again Fastship is probably right - when did that ever stop people like us? We'll probably still have a great time and nothing to worry about.
Hey don't let what I say put you off. Scotland is a spectacular and beautiful place you will love it (despite some of the people!) and you are correct, there is a difference between a German foreigner and being an English foreigner. The english are despised by some people in Scotland and they ensure you know this but I don't think this would apply to a German person.

Don't even get me started on the Welsh and the Taffy Taleban!!!

Re. the Police, what they say goes. End of.

I heard an explanation of why some of the more remote communities in Scotland dislike strangers, the introduction of new ideas and experiences into an isolated, rigidly controlled, closed society was one but another was a natural wariness of new people who brought common diseases into an isolated community that had low resistance due to their isolation and this manifested in (unconcious) unfriendliness. I think this would apply to many places around the world.

At least in Wales the sheep are friendly
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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Friendly sheep.... interesting. I remember Irish sheep and they were fecking idiots

wild camping in scotland - maybe some inspiration for someone-irish_sheep.jpg

Anyway, I'm not scared yet. I find that you get what you put in actually describes my personal experience best. There are always some people who will try to make your life as miserable as possible, but they exist everywhere. And it does depend where you're at and where you're from, because there are animosities between certain groups and nations. That never stopped me from being generally friendly and smiling when encountering new people tho - I find a smile opens more doors than anything else, and once the doors are open you meet the actual person behind the facade we call nationality.

Thanks everybody for clearing this up. Not that it would've kept us from going to Scotland but it might have rendered me a bit insecure when approaching locals. Thus, I would like to withdraw my previous statement about the lack of Scottish friendliness. I should've known that an English person would not speak well of Scots in the same way that a German person would not speak well of Austrians, or a <insert-random-nationality-here> of the French
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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Hi i can only comment by my experiance how friendly scotland is ,three trips in the last two years two of them solo and iv had a great welcome either in B+B or camping one evening when id left it quite late after enjoying the deserted roads i couldnt find a B+B with any rooms left i asked if i could pitch my tent in the croft behind the cottage ,no problem the land lady then offered me use of facilities did me a bowl of soup offered me breakfast the next morning and i put my bike in the workshop all for a few pounds there were a couple of lads staying locally and i got asked to go fishing next day which i did seeing some small lochs you cant see from the road and by the way ae kept along shores below sight of local houses i take it you may have called it poaching i felt it rude to ask any way .some of the campsites such as applecross have an honesty box so if you arrive late and leave early you can leave ur payment it just adds to the laid back way .Enjoy your trip you will love it ROB
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