Scotland is renowned for its beautiful natural landscapes and inspiring sense of isolation. The majority of Scotland’s unenclosed land is still totally lawful for camping, with the recent ordinances prohibiting it in some regions of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (check before you go). The rewards are many for the daring and those willing to put up with some unpredictability in the weather.
1. Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
Set your camp amidst the tall, sweeping dunes at one of Britain’s most renowned wild beaches. This spectacular stretch of pink-hued sand in northwest Sutherland is only accessible via a four-mile hike and is bordered by cliffs and the Am Buachaille sea stack.
The John Muir Trust owns the beach, and it is well-liked by surfers. With more than 200 plant species thriving beneath the dunes, this machair wildflower grassland is among the best conserved in all of mainland Scotland.
2. Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, Glen Affric
Glassy Beinn a’ Mheadhoin is a serene freshwater loch located to the east of Scotland’s most romantic glen, the breathtakingly beautiful Glen Affric. It is surrounded by rough mountains and ancient Scots pine.
The numerous small beaches are ideal for camping, and the numerous tiny islets and promontories make for enjoyable adventure swimming. Old tree stumps can be used as hobbit-like seating for the campfire. Canoe across to one of the islets and set up camp there if you truly want to get away from it all.
3. Kilmory Bay, Isle of Rùm
A sandy beach overlooks the vast Cuillin mountain range on Skye from this spectacular harbor on Rùm’s untamed northern shore. The Red Deer Experiment, one of the longest and most comprehensive studies of a wild animal population ever conducted, has its epicenter in Kilmory. Watch out for deer walking the shoreline and rutting stags battling it out in late September and early October.
4. The Lost Valley, Glencoe
Between a series of soaring rocks, Coire Gabhail’s strange hanging valley is concealed from the well-known Glencoe. The secret glen has a sordid background because many Clan MacDonald members sought refuge there after the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. It is the ideal camping location, with a level, high meadow, a meandering stream, and huge boulders to hide behind, all surrounded by mountains.
5. Glen Nevis, Lochaber
It’s difficult to surpass this lovely glen in the heart of the Highlands for its accessibility and breathtaking scenery. The tallest mountains in Britain round the gorge’s sheer sides, which break up to expose a hanging valley filled with alpine meadows. The impressive Steall Falls, which are 120 meters high, enter the scene here and join a lovely river with swimming holes and a well-known wire bridge.
6. Vatersay, Outer Hebrides
For those seeking island solitude, picturesque Vatersay is the ideal location. The Outer Hebrides’ southernmost inhabited island is home to a number of breathtaking beaches that are encircled by machair grasses that bloom with vibrant wildflowers in the spring and summer.
A calm day is perfect for swimming at the tranquil Vatersay Bay in the east, which features beautiful white sands and pure blue water. On this windswept island, high sand dunes backing the bay also offer cover for camping and picnics.
7. Glen Sannox, Isle of Arran
If Arran is “Scotland in miniature,” Glen Sannox offers a taste of it all. This distinctly Scottish glen winds upward from Sannox Village’s sandy shore and into the rough Goat Fell mountain range. The charming Sannox Burn, bordered by heather and bracken, flows through the glen. You may explore a variety of lakes and waterfalls that flow through the woodland towards its northern end.
8. Glenfeshie, Cairngorms
Careful deer management at Glenfeshie has resulted in a multitude of new trees and a vastly enhanced variety of species. This area is home to one of the most successful “rewilding” projects in the nation. To the Scottish Pinewoods, which feature falling waterfalls and mountain views, there are foot and bicycle trails.
Go for Ruigh Aiteachain, an MBA bothy tucked away in the glen where Sir Edwin Landseer observed the red deer for his well-known picture, Monarch of the Glen, if you feel like upgrading for the night. You might be the only person there.
9. Loch Assynt, Sutherland
At the eastern end of Lake Assynt, set up camp on one of the grassy promontories with a view of the alluring ruins. The MacLeod family built Ardvreck castle in the sixteenth century, and according to local lore, the loch is where the elusive “Mermaid of Assynt,” the MacLeods’ lost daughter Eimhir, resides.
According to legend, the MacLeods gave Eimhir to the Clootie (devil) in exchange for their assistance in building the castle. As a result, she allegedly dove into the lake to hide from him and started living underwater.
10. Quiraing, Isle of Skye
On one of the numerous breathtaking plateaux that make up this wonderful region, pitch your tent and watch the sunrise. The Quiraing, which has a jagged 37-meter-high pinnacle known as The Needle, a flat area of short grass called The Table, and a pyramidal rocky peak that looks like a medieval keep and is known as The Prison, was created by an old landslip that is still shifting.