What is Wild camping?
Wild camping is basically staying in a tent, campervan or motorhome NOT in a registered campsite.
So this could mean staying in a field, parking up by a lake, in a beach carpark, or in a large parking layby.
If you have a tent, then your options for wild camping in Scotland are crazy wide.
You can almost camp anywhere you desire, but when you have a vehicle, you’ve got to be more strategic and respectful.
This is a good point to note that this post is focused on wild camping spots in Scotland for campervans & motorhomes.
Is wild camping in Scotland legal?
Because of Scotland's access legislation, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, you can camp on most unenclosed land.
There are some exceptions to this rule, especially in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs area, due to the overuse of camping spots here.
At certain times of the year, you are only permitted to camp with a permit (which can be obtained online), or at a campsite.
But I’ll go into detail on that later.
Wild camping laws don’t extend to motorized vehicles, so basically it doesn't mean you can just park up anywhere you wish.
However, wild camping is highly tolerated in Scotland for motorhomes and campervans and more and more spots are becoming available.
As long as you park somewhere sensible, remote and you aren’t invading a “no overnight parking” sign then you’ll find you have no trouble wild camping in Scotland.
They’re encouraging it further with their “Stay the night” campaign that was trialed by the Forestry Commission.
This meant you could stay in certain Forestry Commission car parks if you had a fully contained campervan or motorhome (toilet on board), for free overnight.
This trial was successful and they’re intending on reintroducing it next year for a cost of £5 per night per vehicle, which is a great option!
I’ll update this post as more details are released.
Where to find wild camping spots in Scotland
Scotland is a big place and there are a few ways to find great wild camping spots across the country.
Some of these can be hit or miss, and one tip I will give is only to choose spots that actually have photographs.
We’ve driven to stops with only 1 review and no photos, and most times they never turn out to be usable!
Sometimes when you meet other campers on the road, you’ll end up chatting and they’ll give you some wild camping recommendations too!
Best wild camping spots in Dumfries
Caerlaverock Castle Corner Camp Site
This awesome campsite is completely free but runs on donations.
You can park up here and actually walk through the forest to the Caerlaverock Castle which is a beautiful walk.
There is room for around 7 motorhomes and free water is available to refill your water tanks and grey waste disposal!
This is one of the few places that is purposely set up for campervans in the South of Scotland.
If the car park is full, then the community also runs a couple of other motorhome and campervan spaces just down the road in the little town of Glencaple.
We stayed here one night. You can donate via the honesty box OR via Paypal online here.
Best wild camping spots in Glasgow
I don’t recommend wild camping inside Glasgow city center. It’s a large city and theft is always a risk, so when Bradley and I visited, we stayed at this spot below.
Castle Semple Visitor Centre
Located a 30-minute drive from the centre of Glasgow in Lochwinnoch this beautiful wild camping spot is located by a lake and old castle remains.
It gets quite busy, so I would suggest visiting in the evening as the walkers start to die down.
You can take one of the many walking routes in the area then park up for the night. We had no problems staying here, it was lovely!
There is room for 5-10 vans, but because this place is popular with locals for dog walking, I would recommend leaving early in the morning so you aren’t taking up valuable parking space for them.
It’s also only a short walk into town from here if you fancy grabbing yourself a takeaway (like we did!)
If you do need somewhere really CLOSE to Glasgow then I think it’s worth mentioning the Pollock Park.
We didn’t stay here, but there are strong positive views about being able to overnight there online.
Best wild camping spots in Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is one of the exceptions to the rules for legal wild camping in Scotland.
You can wild camp in Loch Lomond, but during certain months of the year (when it’s very busy), you’ll need to obtain a permit.
These aren’t overly expensive (Around £5 for a night), but it is necessary before you wild camp.
When Bradley and I visited, it was out of season, so we didn’t have to pay for a permit, which was great, but as far as I am aware, the permit needed months of the year are March until September.
You can find out more about the laws and how to get your permit on their website right here.
Tarbet Pier Parking
This is one of the best wild camping spots in Loch Lomond because it’s been set up for motorhomes and campervans.
Not only is there lots of space (up to 20 vans) to park your van with an amazing view of the lake, (lots of tent spots here too), but there are on-site motorhome facilities. This includes chemical waste disposal, grey waste, and a water refill point.
This spot runs on donations and there is a donation box there.
There are toilets here too which are super clean!
An overall great spot to stay the night, or simply stop off at if you need to get fresh water and empty your toilet.
Ben Lomond Car Park
The Ben Lomond Car Park is kind of split into two.
There are the Forestry Commission area and the non-forestry Commission area which is right by the lake.
If you stay in the Forestry Commission area, you’ll pay a small fee overnight there, but if you can get one of the spaces just outside of that, then you can stay for free.
We got one of the free spots which were right on the lake and it was amazing!
This is the perfect place to wild camp in Scotland if you plan on doing the Ben Lomond hike the next morning.
There are toilets here too and there is even a restaurant just a 5-minute walk down the road which serves delicious food!
Overall a brilliant wild camping spot in Loch Lomond.
Three Lochs Forest Drives
This is probably one of my favourite wild camping spots in ALL of Scotland.
The Three Lochs Forest drive is a popular diving route that essentially takes you through a forest that covers 3 beautiful lochs.
The great thing about wild camping here is that all the spots for motorhomes, tents, and campervans are all signposted, so you know exactly where you can park legally.
Again, from March to September, you’ll need a permit, but we didn’t in October.
We parked in a beautiful spot in the forest which had amazing views of the lake below us.
We were completely on our own, and when you park in the forest overnight, the gates are locked, but the Forestry commission guys will give you a code to get out if you need to!
Within the Forest Lake drive there is a toilet block to use the loo, and it is possible to have a small fire (where there are already fire pits), we asked permission from the Forestry Commission and they said it was fine.
Best wild camping spots near Stirling
Pendreich Forest parking
If you want a wild camping spot that is close to Stirling city centre and offers amazing views over the city then this is a great overnight spot.
There is space for 4-5 campervans and there are a couple of beautiful walking routes possible.
Best wild camping spots in Fort William
The North Face Car Park
This is a great place to park if you’re planning on doing the Ben Nevis hike. The North Face is the starting point for a harder route.
We stayed here two nights fuss-free.
The ground is level, it’s shielded from the wind and there is space for around 8 campers.
Just be aware the road to this spot is very potholed, so drive slowly!
Achintee Road Parking
This is free parking for the start of the Ben Nevis hike, and there is a small pub beside it.
There is only space for around 3 vans, and there are no facilities.
One thing to note however is that this is very exposed, so if the wind is crazy (like it was when we were there), your camper is going to rock a lot!
Flat surface too and good 4g with o2!
Glenfinnan Viaduct Parking [A830, PH37 4LT, Glenfinnan)
Located just 25 minutes from Fort William, the Glenfinnan Viaduct is well worth a visit.
But if you’re looking for a wild camping spot right next to it, then this is the perfect place.
It’s only a 7-minute drive from the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Located just off the A830, across a small bridge, there is parking here for around 3 vans, and there is tent camping too.
There is also a fire pit, so a great place to park up, have a fire and star gaze since it’s super clear at night here!
Lochailort, Loch Eilt (A830, PH384LZ)
If you’re a Harry Potter fan then you’re going to love this wild camping spot in Scotland!
This loch was used in the filming of Harry Potter and there’s a pretty cool wild camping spot here.
It’s right on the lake with beautiful views, has fantastic 4G, and it’s pretty flat parking.
You can get a view of the Jacobite steam train going across from here too, and if you’re feeling brave, you can dip in the water!
This was a very peaceful spot and the views were brilliant.
Lochy Loch viewpoint
I think this may have been one of Bradley’s favourite wild camping spots in Scotland.
Not only is the name awesome (that’s the actual name! haha), but the views here are incredible.
This is actually outside of Fort William, and closer towards the Loch Ness direction, so a great stop-off point if you’re going between the two.
What’s great about this spot is that there is room for parking for around 4-5 campers, and there is a “beach” area by the lake that you can pop up your camping chairs, just fire at the fire pit and enjoy the views.
Definitely a memorable moment on our Scotland road trip. We had a great 4G signal here too.
Best wild camping spots in Glen Coe
Bridge of Orachy
So this whole strip of road has quite a few great wild camping spots and as you drive down it you’ll see them.
We stayed at one not far from the “Loch Tulla Viewpoint” which was very beautiful.
As you can imagine, the whole area of Glen Coe is breathtaking, so all the wild camping spots here will be incredible.
I wouldn’t rely on having a good internet connection!
Glen Coe Mountain resort
This is actually a Ski resort, but when we visited the Ski season had not started yet.
There are some pretty good facilities here for campervans, including chemical waste disposal, and access to hot showers which are £1 for 10 minutes.
Overnighting here used to be free, but now it runs on a donation system, so you can donate £10 to stay overnight, and if you’re just using the facilities, then a donation of £3 is suggested.
We didn’t end up staying overnight here, we just stopped for the facilities, but I think it’s a great spot so worth mentioning.
Plus the views are incredible.
Best wild camping spots near Oban
Fearnoch Forest Car Park
When we visited Oban we found this great forest car park just 15 minutes from Oban centre.
This car park has two levels, and we stayed on both.
We actually stayed here for two nights and met a fellow camper (one of the very few we met with on our trip!) It’s level, spacious, blocked from the wind, and has a great 4G.
Best wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye
This is a great wild camping spot on the Isle of Skye if you want to be close to the Old Man of Storr for an early morning hike.
There isn’t room for too many campers, maybe 2 big or 3 small, but we enjoyed our stay here.
The ground was level, there was a fire pit, and you’ve got amazing views since you’re parked right next to the water.
But we got lucky with the wind, it was a calm night, but when it’s not, this will definitely be a very windy place to stay!
Ebost Recycling Area
When I say recycling area I don’t mean a full-on recycling centre, it’s literally just a couple of bins, but it’s a great place to wild camp on the Isle of Skye.
We were protected by the wind, the spot was quiet, and there is room for 2 or 3 vans.
Best wild camping spots in Cairngorms National Park
This was another of my favourite wild camping spots in Scotland, simply because we were parked right next to Braemar Castle which is not only a really cool castle in the daylight, but it’s lit up at night so it looks brilliant!
The parking for the castle is 2 minutes to the castle so you can go for a morning or evening stroll.
No facilities here and you can fit more around 8 vans.
In the town of Braemar you have public toilets, and lots of cute coffee shops, but I recommend you head to “The Wee Bothy” for a morning drink!
This is the Queen's residence in England and they actually have dedicated parking spots for motorhomes and campervans who wish to overnight.
I have no idea if there is a fee, but there wasn’t one advertised when we visited.
We went here but because there was no signal (we need a signal to work) we had to leave, but I thought it was a really cool spot so worth mentioning on this list!
Cairngorm Mountain Lower Car Park
This is another wild camping spot that runs on a donation in Scotland.
If you want a spot with epic views over the Cairngorm National park, then you’ve found it!
You can donate via the donation box and the suggestion is £5.
There is space for over 30 campers here. And you can even overnight at the Cairngorm Mountain upper car park too which is right at the Ski Centre.
Wonderful spot, but it is exposed to the elements.
Best wild camping spots in Inverness
Culloden Woods Car park
This is a perfect wild camping spot in Inverness as it’s literally a 7-minute drive from Inverness centre.
After exploring the city you can visit this small area of nature and camp for the night.
Don’t be alarmed if you’re driving towards houses, the Woods are located next to a housing estate.
There is room for maybe 4 vans here, but I would suggest you leave early so you don’t take up parking space for locals in the mornings.
Best wild camping spots on the NC500
Applecross (IV54 8XT, Strathcarron)
Applecross is a wild and rugged area on the NC500, but it’s clamping down on wild camping in certain areas.
It’s still allowed, but there are definitely fewer options than before. We stayed in a parking area 10 minutes from Applecross itself.
There is room for a couple of campervans.
Beautiful views, quite level and there was 4G!
Again, you’re exposed to the wind but we got lucky with the wind on the night we stayed.
Gairloch- Loch Tollaidh
Gairloch is such a cute town in Scotland and it’s really useful for campervans because they have a chemical waste disposal point that you can use for free at the Gairloch Harbour Office.
If you need a nice place to stay close to here, then head to the Trout fishing area that’s right next to Loch Tollaidh.
Just follow the signs to Loch Tollaidh and there is only one road going off it for the trout fishing and you’ll see the parking area.
Set of film Shell spot [9 A382, Garve IV232QY]
If you literally type the words “Set of film Shell” into Google Maps, this will take you directly to this parking spot.
It was previously used as a filming spot for that movie, but is now just a large car park with a couple of benches!
It’s level, has fantastic 4G signal and beautiful views.
It is exposed so be prepared for some shaking if the winds are high, but overall we really enjoyed this wild camping spot in Scotland.
Gruinard Beach Parking
We didn’t stay here overnight because when we arrived there was no phone signal, but it was a wild camping spot we were planning to stay at. The parking is just across the road from the beach, so it’s in a perfect position for morning and evening strolls.
It’s very level, but there are no facilities. Because you’re next to the beach, you’ll probably experience some wind too.
Geopark parking spot (B869, IV27 4JB, lochan Sgeireach)
This is a wild camping spot on the NC500 that’s located on the way to the West Coast.
It’s a good spot off point along a very beautiful road to drive on the NC500.
It’s actually a GeoPark area and it explains about the area at a little sign. There is also a donation box to leave a donation for staying here. There are no facilities.
Strathy Beach parking
This is a great overnight parking spot that’s suitable for all vehicles.
There are very nice toilets here (do NOT dispose of your chemical waste!), and they’re open all night. There is room for over 10 vehicles and if you park next to the toilet near the bins, you’re protected from the wind.
You can dispose of rubbish here too.
A fantastic camping spot that also offers easy access to the beach if you wish to go for a walk, or even a swim!
There is an optional donation box too.
Best wild camping spots in the SW300
Port Logan Fish Pond
This was one of our first wild camping spots on our Scottish road trip and it was one of the windiest!
This is a small parking area but you could park a couple of vans here with no trouble.
It’s right by the water, so you’re exposed to the wind, which was crazy strong when we visited, so we didn’t get much sleep!
There were toilets here but they were not open. No facilities here.
Galloway Lighthouse Parking
I love a good lighthouse and if you want a wild camping spot with a view of Ireland, England, and the Isle of Man, then this is your spot!
You can stay overnight for free at the Galloway Lighthouse car park.
There is room for plenty of campervans, but just be aware that you are high up and exposed to the elements, so it will get windy!
There is a cafe at the lighthouse so you can use the toilets there until it closes. They do a lovely coffee too!
FAQ about wild camping in Scotland
Where is the best place to hire a campervan for Scotland?
What Is The "Leave No Trace" Policy?
The Leave no trace policy should be followed wherever you wild camp around the world.
Essentially it means that when you leave a wild camping spot in Scotland, there should be no trace that you were even there, to begin with!
That means taking your rubbish with you, your belongings, and ensuring you don’t ruin the environment you’re staying at.
Why should you wild camp in Scotland?
Wild camping in Scotland will allow you the opportunity to stay in some extremely beautiful locations.
When we visited all our wild camping spots in Scotland we were completely alone for 98% of them and it was amazing.
Waking up by a beautiful lake, or within a beautiful forest, we got to experience some wonderful views.
Even if you don’t have a self-contained unit and you just want to experience what wild camping is all about, it’s a good idea to just give it a go for one night.
Is it safe to wild camp in Scotland?
Yes! We never had any issues in our 6 weeks in Scotland and we didn’t feel unsafe at once.
risk of theft is possible everywhere around the world so you should always take the necessary precautions.
Lock your doors, have some form of deterrent (lights, alarm, signs), and don’t park in places that would purposely inconvenience someone, such as outside a house or in a very busy area.