Highland Environment being part of a rural community on the edge of Monadhliath Mountains makes us at Mountains Campers really appreciate and understand the beauty and fragility of the Scottish Highland Environment. The Scottish highlands is a place of stunning beauty, it is without doubt one of the last real wild places in the United Kingdom. It is a complex environment with a mix of rare wildlife species and scenic beauty which are remarkable as well as breathtaking. It is also at times unforgiving in its nature, catching out the both the experienced and unprepared explorer, sometimes with tragic results. But that’s why people come to Scotland and part of that attraction is to experience the wilderness, which for many is something which is lost or rarely experienced.
Wild Camping the romanticism of wild camping is part of the appeal and with the advent of the NC500 route becoming more popular year on year, that appeal has grown, combining road trip and wild camping holiday. From cyclists, to bikers to vintage race cars, to motor homes and our bread and butter Camper Vans.
Can you Wild Camp in a Camper Van? This is not an easy question to answer. But it is a very important one to get right, as it is central to our whole mission and philosophy at Mountain Campers. Wild Camping in Scotland is a very much misused, or probably more accurately, a misunderstood term, especially amongst the Motorhome & Camper Van Community. In terms of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code there simply is no provisions for using vehicles to ‘Wild Camp’.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 ensures everyone has statutory access rights to most of Scotland’s outdoors, if these rights are exercised responsibly, with respect for people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and for Scotland’s environment. We encourage our customers to read and understand the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, we give guidance and have implemented Terms and Conditions of Rental which place restrictions on what you can do in one of our vehicles. These restrictions are not only part of our insurance clauses but also designed to help protect the environment that our clients are travelling in.
So to answer the question can you Wild Camp in one of our vehicles? Well in short no, because no one can Wild Camp in a vehicle in Scotland. But what you can do is act responsibly and still enjoy this wonderful environment and experience the Wildness of the Highlands.
Overnight Camping The Highlands of Scotland is a fragile environment which needs to be preserved. The popularity of the NC500 and other tourist trails have no doubt brought challenges to the infrastructure and environment. But that doesn’t mean we should stop people enjoying this beautiful landscape. It means we all have a responsibility to ensure we preserve the environment by being careful and considerate in what we are doing. We brief our customers to leave no trace, to ensure they take their waste with them and dispose of it responsibly. We also emphasise that there are local communities who have the right to be unaffected by their presence, by giving guidance on how to use single track roads, to utilise camp sites wherever possible, support local communities by buying food locally, not to illegally park, not to drive off road, or park overnight near residential premises.
Advice from Scottish Natural Heritage is as follows:
- Managed caravan/camp sites should be used where possible. More information about campsites and caravan parks can be found on the Scottish Camping and VisitScotland websites, and at VisitScotland iCentres
- Follow the Highway Code and observe any local guidance, including specific requests not to park overnight in particular places.
- Follow the general guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code: respect the interests of others, care for the environment and take responsibility for your own actions.
- Follow the guidance in the Code on parking, taking care not to block forest, estate or farm entrances, and the guidance on litter and human waste. Only empty any chemical toilet waste in designated chemical waste areas.