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A Guide To Wild Camping

To find out more about wild camping visit this website

Simply put it is the best i have ever come across

Below is the basic rules of wild camping in Scotland

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland

There is a pleasure in camping in mountains inexplicable to the unbeliever, but will at once be apparent to anyone of imagination.

WH Murray


Camping wild is one of the best ways to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Scotland's hills, glens and coastlines. When done responsibly, it has minimal impact on the environment. This Code provides advice on how to keep impacts to a minimum, as well as setting out the legal position and describing the advice given in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Plan ahead, and consider not only your own impact, but the repeated impact by others.




  • 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.
  • A section in the Trespass (Scotland) Act 1865, which contained an offence of camping on land without the consent of the owner or occupier, has been repealed via Schedule 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The 2003 Act confirms that camping is a lawful activity when done by a person in the exercise of the access rights created by the Land Reform Act.
  • The Scottish Outdoor Access Code contains guidance on the responsibilities that accompany the access rights in the Act. The Code provides specific advice on wild camping and recommends that in order to avoid causing problems you should not camp in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals. The full version of the Code can be found at:



  • The larger the group, the harder it is to keep impacts to a minimum. Keep groups small.
  • Remember that people have to make their living from the land.
  • Camp as unobtrusively as possible.
  • Remember that noise travels from tents disturbing wildlife as well as humans.



Minimum Impact Camping
Commit yourself by following this guidance and encourage your friends to do likewise.

  • Consider not only your own impact, but repeated impact by others.
  • Develop your own skills in finding a discreet place to camp rather than resorting to popular congregational spots that tend to be overused.
  • If in doubt about any of your actions, make an effort to find out what is right. Don't carry on wondering whether your present practice is right or wrong.
  • Enjoy the freedom of wild camping without leaving a trace of your passage. Protect our country's outstanding scenery and wildlife as well as the wilderness experience.



  • Camping on the same spot harms vegetation. Aim to move frequently and do not stay for any longer than 3 nights in the same place.
  • Vegetation is more sensitive at higher altitudes. Aim to camp lower down in glens where vegetation recovers more easily.
  • Dead wood is an important habitat for insects and many small animals, so it is best to avoid fires even for cooking.
  • Lighting fires poses a high fire risk on peaty soils and close to tinder dry grass. A high risk of fire can exist at any time of year, and not just in times of drought.



  • Watercourses and loch sides are important sites for birds and animals. Take extra care when camping near burns and lochs, and try to avoid camping immediately beside them.
  • Food scraps (even when buried) attract scavenging birds and animals, some of which prey on more vulnerable nesting birds. Carry all scraps of food out with you.
  • Be prepared to move if you become aware that you are disturbing nesting birds or animals.



  • Always find a spot at least 30 metres from fresh/running water when going to the toilet.
  • Bury excrement in a small hole (not under boulders). A trowel or ice axe can be used to lift a flap of turf. In areas of sensitive upland vegetation, such as the Cairngorms plateau, vegetation takes a long time to recover, so holes should not be dug at all.
  • Be particularly careful to bury excrement properly when the ground is snow covered.
  • Burying tampons and sanitary towels doesn't work as animals dig them up. Please carry them out. Placing them in a container with a tea bag helps to absorb odours.
  • Follow the more specific guidance on Human Sanitation in the MCofS Human Sanitation Code



  • Remove all litter (even other peoples!) Think ahead and only carry in what you are prepared to carry out. Do not bury or hide litter under stones as it can harm wildlife and offends those who visit after you.
  • Choose a dry site to pitch on rather than resorting to digging drainage ditches and removing vegetation and boulders. In replacing boulders, return them to the same place, the same way up.



  • Although camping beside a road is not normally considered wild camping, it does take place and is lawful. Following a few simple guidelines can reduce any impacts.
  • Whenever practicable use an official campsite with sanitation facilities.
  • Ask nearby residents before pitching if you wish to camp near houses.
  • Remember vehicles have a great impact on vegetation. Park on hard ground or on a safe metalled area. It is better to walk to your car than drive to your tent.
  • Avoid sites that are at risk of being overused. Congregational roadside camping can cause significant problems.
  • Take particular care with toilet hygiene.
  • If you are just looking for a place for a few hours sleep, then pitch late, leave early and be unobtrusive.


This guidance has been adapted from the leaflet "Wild Camping, A Guide to Good Practice" first published by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland in 1996, and last updated in 2005.             terms and conditions                  privacy policy                advertise with us