This is not like your usual camping adventure. Instead of setting up your tent in an organized campsite, wild camping means going out of your comfort zone and sleeping in the wild.

Unlike the usual camping, you have to carry your tent, hike in the wilderness, and find a secluded spot where you’ll spend the night. 


Is Wild Camping Legal?

Wild camping is illegal in some European countries and parts of the United Kingdom like England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, if there’s no permission from the landowners. However, you don’t need to worry because Scotland is the only country in the UK that favors wild camping, which means that you're allowed to pitch your tent.

Scotland is one of the best places to travel if you want to experience wild camping. There are plenty of hiking trails that will surely take you to the most stunning places in Europe. Whether it's the forest, rivers, rolling hills, coastlines, offshore islands, mountains, beaches, and even national parks, you can see all of these breathtaking and incomparable views once you go wild camping in Scotland.

If you love the idea of waking up to Scotland’s dramatic landscapes that consist of spectacular mountains, magnificent glens, and stunning beaches, then check out this guide to the best wild camping in Scotland.

If you love the idea of waking up to Scotland’s dramatic landscapes that consist of spectacular mountains, magnificent glens, and stunning beaches, then check out this guide to the best wild camping in Scotland.


1. Orkney

Too often, the Orkney Islands are excluded from the list of tourist hot spots in Scotland. But this archipelago of 70 islands has plenty of amazing things to offer especially for the wild campers.

Wild camping in the Orkney Islands will reward you with the stunning views of magnificent cliffs, ancient stone circles, and the fascinating Old Man of Hoy, a sea stack that rises from the ocean water like swords.

Wild camping is allowed in the Orkney Islands for as long as you adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Given the vast open space in Orkney, it’s not surprising why many campers would flock to this area during the warmer months of summer.

For a truly remote wild camping experience, check out the Hoy’s west coast. This area opens to the dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean and has plenty of hiking trails around. 


2. Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are among Scotland’s most scenic destinations for wild camping.

For outdoor enthusiasts who love exploring the wild, these areas are like paradise. Aside from wild camping, you can also go cycling and hiking, or take part in various water sports activities such as jet-skiing, canoeing, and kayaking 

Take note that before you can go wild camping in Loch Lomond, you must first obtain a Loch Lomond camping permit, which you can get for a very reasonable price. One of the best camping spots in the area is the Firkin Point, an incredibly beautiful spot on the west bank of Loch Lomond about halfway between Inverbeg and Tarbet.

If you are looking for something a little different, consider staying in a Scottish country castle, such as Callander House. These historic house opens to the gorgeous views and might just be worth the break from the Scottish wilderness.  


3. The Highlands

Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is one of the most amazing places to visit in Scotland, filled with amazing things to discover, from majestic wild places, ancient castles, and charming towns and villages.

When it comes to the best spots to go wild camping in the Highlands, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Glencoe, for instance, is a beautiful village that's steeped in legend and history. It's home to secluded valleys surrounded by scenic mountains, making it a great spot for wild camping and hiking.

Featuring breathtaking scenery that’s easy for everyone to access, the picturesque Glen Nevis in the heart of the Highlands is definitely the best spot for camping in the wild. It has a steep-sided gorge that’s surrounded by some of the regions tallest mountains and opens up to the enchanting views of the hanging valley and alpine meadows.

The Ardnish Peninsula in Lochaber is also a great location for your Scottish wild camping. It’s located on the west coast of Scotland, near the West Highland Railway. But what makes this area stand out from the other wild camping spots in the Highlands is that it is completely uninhabited.

As you explore the area, you’ll find ruins of buildings from a different era, as well as mysterious vitrified forts built during the pre-Roman period.


4. Around Edinburgh

You don’t need to travel far to go wild camping in Scotland. Edinburgh, the country’s capital, has plenty of amazing wild camping locations for those who love to sleep in the wild. The Thieves Road in Pentland Hills has a sprawling path where wild campers can pitch their tent. During the day, hike to the top of East Cairn and be rewarded by the magnificent views of Edinburgh.

The North Esk Reservoir in Pentland Hills is also a great spot for campers. It features an interesting sense of wilderness even though it’s located close to Edinburgh. This area is surrounded by flat greenery giving you plenty of spaces to pitch your tent. The Doon Hill in Dunbar is also a great place to check out. It’s located approximately two miles south of Dunbar and the site of a timber hall about 6,000 years ago. These days, the rolling peak features a serene and quiet atmosphere, a perfect place for wild campers.

A more exciting way to explore the wilderness around the city is to hire an Edinburgh campervan and drive into the outskirts. You will have plenty of vehicles to choose from, including a large motorhome that can accommodate a large group. These vehicles are also equipped with heating, electricity, as well as cooking and sleeping facilities, allowing for a more convenient and comfortable way of discovering Edinburgh’s magnificent sceneries.

One tip is if you are flying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland it’s worth registering for UK flight delay cover before you set off so you can get straight on with your travels and not get caught up in emailing the flight provider. You might also want to check out some of the top free things to do in Edinburgh to make the most of this incredible city.


5. Perthshire

Perthshire offers plenty of amazing things to do for all kinds of travellers. The city of Perth used to be Scotland's capital city and home to several ancient buildings, grand castles, and historic museums.

The area straddles the Highlands and the Lowlands, which explains the rich variety of natural scenery. You can spend a few days here and explore the surrounding villages or take strolls by the river. The villages of Birnam and Dunkeld are some of the most charming places to explore in the area. 

Perthshire’s beautiful rolling mountains make a perfect backdrop for wild camping. The River Tay is also nearby, which is Scotland's grandest river. Perthshire’s unique landscape offers varying hiking routes that cater to all levels of hikers, from beginners to experts. Don’t forget to explore the area’s hidden gems, such as the winding Glen Lyon and the beautiful Glen Tilt.


Tips for Wild Camping. in Scotland

Although wild camping is completely legal in Scotland, campers should still adhere to the rules of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This law outlines your rights and responsibilities when accessing the land and inland waters in Scotland. It highlights the most important points when wild camping, which are:

  • Carry your litter with you
  • As much as possible, use stoves instead of open fires
  • Keep human waste 30 metres away from open water
  • Don't leave any trace of your pitch
  • Keep your group small
  • Camp away from roads, houses, and buildings
  • Respect the environment 

Wild camping is undoubtedly one of the best adventures you should to try at least once in your life. You can explore the beauty of Scotland through these five wild camping sites and keep in mind the guidelines for a safer and more enjoyable journey.