Best Places to Camp in Scotland for Hiking
Of all the places in the UK, Scotland is perhaps the wildest, and with the most fascinating nature. It’s great for all nature lovers, especially those who appreciate a little adventure. That’s because Scotland’s landscapes are often rugged and the weather is unpredictable.
This beautiful country has so much to offer to hikers — mountains, plains, numerous lakes, and more. The best part is that it’s quite liberal when it comes to wild camping — you can pitch a tent almost in any unenclosed area as long as you don’t litter and you take care of the environment.
So here are some best places in Scotland to set up camp.
Bonaly Reservoir, Close to Edinburgh
If you’re in Edinburgh and would like to go on a hiking adventure, you don’t have to go far. You’ll fall in love with Bonaly Reservoir with its beautiful nature overlooking the city. You can camp here or use this place as a base and starting point for a walk in the Pentland Hills.
The Hills offer opportunities for city-dwellers and visitors to stretch their legs, unwind, and enjoy some quiet time in nature. You can take a short walk or go on a full-on hiking adventure here — the choice is yours.
Glen Sannox, Isle of Arran
Arran, known as Scotland in miniature, is a perfect island to visit if you want to experience a little bit of everything the country has to offer. The wonderful Glen Sannox on Arran takes you from a sandy bay through the dramatic glen to a rugged mountain range — Goat Fell.
Here you can enjoy a variety of different terrains, from sandy beaches and rocky mountains to various forest pools and waterfalls.
You can pitch your tent anywhere near the side of the Sannox Burn, or you may even set up camp on a grassy patch somewhere on the beach. You’ll absolutely love it here, and if you’re wondering how to get to Arran in the first place — you can take a ferry.
Quiraing, Isle of Skye
If you’d like to feel like you’re in Game of Thrones, Quiraing is the place to be. Beware that this area is not for the faint of heart as the weather is inclement and the terrain is not gentle. It’s interesting to note that the area is on a landslip that’s still moving.
The trekking circuit in Quiraing is not long, but the terrain is difficult. However, all the hard work will pay off when you get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
It’s best to bring a tent for cold weather and pitch it on one of many plateaux that are dispersed across this area. You’ll enjoy being surrounded by high cliffs and admire the view of the famous fortress-like rock formation known as The Prisoner.
Gleann na Muice
Gleann na Muice is a valley in Scotland west of Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh you mustn’t miss. Since it’s located quite near the famous Fisherfield Round in the Highland, it’s great for a uniquely Scottish activity called Munro bagging.
Munros are Scotland’s tallest mountains, and this activity involves climbing as many of them as you can. Conveniently, the Fisherfield Round contains five of these giants.
So Gleann na Muice is a perfect place to base your camp for some fierce mountain climbing. These mountains are some of the remotest ones in all the country, and if you want to experience a sense of complete isolation and challenge, you can’t go wrong with this place. The dramatic rocky summits will stay with you for a long time.
Peanmeanach Beach, Ardnish
If you’d like to challenge yourself with a more wet and boggy terrain, Ardnish is a fabulous option. You can camp at Peanmeanach by setting up your tent or taking advantage of a little bothy there.
This point is a perfect spot to start a beautiful uphill hike through a range of habitat types — grassland, woodland, reed beds, etc. You’ll have the opportunity to spy on various birds, such as pipits, skylarks, golden eagles, and more.
The area is pleasant for hiking, but some spots are more difficult than others. It’s best to go when the weather is dry as there are many marshy places. You should wear sturdy hiking boots and consider bringing a walking stick as well.
If you’re a fine arts fan, you’ll appreciate the fact that the magnificent painting “The Monarch of the Glen” by Edward Landseer was painted in this glen. Of course, the monarch on this painting is a proud deer stag. Deer management through a rewilding program has led to an increase in a variety of wildlife in this area.
This is a great place to set up camp if you want to explore the lush Scots pinewood, mountain views, and waterfalls in the area, and it offers both foot and bike trails.
If you don’t feel like staying outside overnight, you can rent a bothy, and not just any bothy — the one where sir Edward painted the renowned work of art we’ve mentioned above.
Rackwick Bay, Orkney
If you want to get enchanted by the tall cliffs on Orkney’s island of Hoy, you mustn’t miss the bewitching Rackwick Bay. The place is gaining in popularity, but it also somehow manages to remain aloof and have the feel of a secret gem you stumble upon by accident.
You can enjoy the magnificent view of the sea and walk fine-sand beaches. Some parts of the beach are also strewn with huge smooth boulders, which is an unusual sight.
On your hike, you’ll notice a protruding stack of rock rising from the sea — this is The Old Man of Hoy. The Old Man is the tallest such formation in the whole of Britain. Unfortunately, the harsh elements are slowly chipping away at it.
These are only some of the best camping spots for hiking in Scotland, and the country offers many more. You can start from some of the gems on this list and explore further from there.