Camping in the Wilderness
Basic Guide to Wild Camping
When people think about the romantic side of camping, they’re thinking about wild camping. It’s the type that doesn’t involve campsites with communal showers or the worst toilet in Scotland, but does involve great joy.
The key to successfully going camping in the wild in the uk is to keep it simple. To get the most of out the wilderness experience it’s best to go light.
This section is an introduction to Wild Camping in Scotland and the UK. If you already know the basics here are some links to what you’re probably looking for:
- Tips on what Wild Camping Kit to take, including emergency equipment, mountain, hiking and walking equipment.
- Wild Camping Law in Scotland and the UK
- Wild Camping Sites – Where to camp and how to find a great spot
Why go Wild Camping?
There is no great mystique to wild camping. It’s just fun. It’s walking off into the outdoors and pitching a tent somewhere knowing that there’s no one else around, that you can be as silly or meditative as you like. It’s about enjoying the silence.
I first went wild camping when I was in my early twenties, before it had a name – it was just camping. I’d love to go out by myself in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, find a path that would take two or three days, and walk it. Because I brought my own gear with me I could do that. I could go out for more than a single day, and pitch a tent half way through to get some sleep.
And that’s the main reason to go wild camping – it extends your time outside. You can take longer and go further. You can stop when you want, get a brew on, watch the sun go down in places few ever reach
That’s the great promise of wildcamping. It gives you the freedom to carry on a great experience a bit longer.
Who can go Wild Camping?
I’m a strong believer that everyone can go wild camping, if they want to. Some of the1 best spots are walking distance from train stations. If you’re driving, then it’s the easiest thing in the world to park in a glen and head to the mountains. If you don’t mind leaving behind some creature comforts for a couple of days in exchange for adventure in nature, then you can go.
It doesn’t take a great deal of kit. You don’t need designer camping gear, or metal widget-things for pulling out tent pegs, you just need the basics.
It does, however, take a little bit of knowledge. Not a lot – just some. Sensible things mostly. That’s why I wrote this guide to wild camping.
So it’s divided into a few sections.
Wild Camping Law in Scotland and the UK
The first section, and probably the one you should check out first, is whether it’s legal to go wild camping at all. I’ve heard quite a few different accounts, but this section on Legal issues should give you the definitive view of do’s and don’ts. Basically, it’s not illegal – although there are a few caveats especially around access§. So long as you leave it exactly as you found it, which includes no setting fire to anything out there, then you’ll be ok.
Tips on what Wild Camping Kit to take
The second section is on gear that you should think about taking with you. To start with pick your season. If you go out in summer, and in good weather, you don’t need a lot of kit at all. Winter or high altitude that costs a bit more, but not summer.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Camping shops will probably disagree, but what you can’t borrow you probably can get from the local supermarket (including sleeping bags, tents etc.) At least to start with. If you try it out and like it, that’s the time it’ll be worth replacing and upgrading some of that basic stuff.
There’s a phrase that comes up in a few outdoor sports – “All the gear, no idea.” Far better is to focus on knowledge and actually getting out there rather than just buying stuff.
So this section is on what to take and what to leave behind when you go wild camping in the uk.
Wild Camping Sites and Spots of Natural Beauty
The next question is, where can I go Wild Camping? Although formal campsites and motorhomes are out, this still leaves the majority of the country to travel through.
Well, there are two parts to the answer.
The first is, anywhere you can find a good spot to camp. Here’s my short guide on selecting a wild camping site from an Ordnance Survey Map.
The second is, where are the great areas to look for wild camping sites. Here are some of the best tips on where to camp in Scotland.
Finally, I thought it would be good to see what’s on offer if you can get as far as the Highlands of Scotland.
Experience Wild Camping!
If the idea of living by your own means, packing own bag, finding a spot, where you can just pitchup and get on with it whatever the conditions sounds interesting, then wildcamping is for you. It’s a great way to get closer to nature and to enjoy the outdoors without having to pay a fortune. It’s an achievable way to build experiences and adventures in some of the best wild places
If the idea of being somewhere far away, free to enjoy yourself, then wild camping is for you.
I hope you like my guide, and please do leave comments or drop me an email. You can also find me on Facebook here. I’d love to hear from you.