Wild Camping

Wild Camping

Wild Camping: Where can I pitch a tent?

Camping under the stars

 

At one time, wild camping was all people knew. You could go practically anywhere, pitch a tent and enjoy a night under the stars. These days however, wild camping is somewhat of a luxury.

It’s actually illegal in most parts of the UK, with Scotland offering the only legal wild camping areas. However, while it is legal in most parts, you still need to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

 Where NOT to camp

While most areas in Scotland are unrestricted, there are places you definitely shouldn’t camp.

Enclosed fields are areas to avoid. There are also a few seasonal restrictions placed on the shores of East Loch Lomond. From March 1st 2012 byelaws were introduced to restrict wild camping in the area. You can’t camp in a tent or vehicle in East Loch Lomond from March 1st right through until the end of October.

You should also avoid historic buildings, houses and near roads. If you’re unsure as to whether you can camp somewhere, seek the owner’s permission.

Camping responsibly

Wherever you choose to go, it’s important to follow a few simple rules. Tidy up after yourself and if you do create a campfire, make sure you remove all traces of it before you leave. Also make sure there aren’t too many people already camping in your chosen spot. Overcrowding should be avoided.

Hiring a campervan is an ideal way to enjoy wild camping in a little more comfort. One of the main advantages is the fact you can travel around in them. So you could potentially experience wild camping in different parts of Scotland in the same trip.

Scottish outdoor attractions

Scottish outdoor attractions

Your favourite Scottish outdoor attractions

Glencoe Mountain range

 

According to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, outdoor attractions in Scotland gained a 5% increase in the last year.

The National Trust in particular saw several of its Scottish sites increase in popularity. As the country gears up for the Commonwealth Games, it’s expected these figures will rise even further by the end of 2014.

If you’re looking to enjoy the best Scottish outdoor attractions, below you’ll find the top 5 worth checking out.

 1. Glencoe

Glencoe is known to be one of the most scenic glens in the country. It’s also been voted one of the most romantic glens in Scotland so it would make an ideal destination for couple’s looking to get away from it all.

It was actually used in the ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ movie and while the set has been removed, you’ll still get to see the familiar backdrop featured in the movie.

There’s a great choice of outdoor activities to partake in while you’re here. From hillwalking and mountaineering to wildlife watching and golf; there’s something to suit everyone.

2. Culloden Battlefield

Another outdoor attraction that did particularly well in the tourism stakes last year was the Culloden Battlefield.

The Culloden battle was actually the last ever hand-to-hand battle that was carried out in Britain. The battlefield has been restored and a brilliant interactive exhibit has been opened by the National Trust.

If you want to teach your children a little more about Britain’s history, this is a great place to head to. The battle itself lasted just one hour and it changed the way people in the islands and Highlands lived forever.

3. Glenfinnan Monument

The Glenfinnan Monument is situated in an ideal location to witness the beauty of the Highlands. It’s a monument to honour the last Jacobite Rising.

There’s a visitor centre which educates you on the story of the ‘45. One interesting fact about this attraction is the fact that each year, as near to the 19th of August as possible, hundreds of Jacobite sympathises gather here.

If you take the time to climb to the top of the observation platform, you’ll witness some of the most beautiful views in the country.

4. Pitmedden Garden

The National Trust provides some of the most beautiful and unique outdoor attractions in the UK – and Pitmedden Garden is just one of them.

Best visited in the summer, Pitmedden Garden features thousands of colourful flowers in well-landscaped flower beds.

There’s a Museum of Farming Life joined onto the site too which provides even more entertainment for the family. Two highlights of this attraction include beautiful woodland walks and an interesting herb garden.

5. Edinburgh Castle

No Scottish outdoor attractions list would be complete without a mention of Edinburgh Castle. Located right in the heart of Edinburgh, this famous castle has so much to see.

Just some of the highlights you won’t want to miss include The Great Hall, The Royal Palace, Crown Jewels and the National War Museum. What’s more, while you’re visiting the castle you can also take time to explore all that Edinburgh has to offer. You may want to stay here for a few days to make the most of your trip.

No matter which attraction you decide to visit, it’s worth hiring a campervan to explore at your own pace.

Drive through the Cornish country side stopping into some of the many quaint sea side towns for a pastie along the way. Driving through Cornwall will show you first hand what it is about this beautful place that has inspired generations of writers from DH Lawrence and Charles Causley to Sir John Betjeman and Daphne du Maurier.

Hunting for the Northern Lights

Hunting for the Northern Lights

Hunting for the Northern Lights

Northern lights as seen from Scotland

 

The Northern Lights are a natural wonder that thousands of people try to get a glimpse of. It’s possible to witness these lights in various parts of the world. If you don’t want to travel too far from home then Scotland is the place to head to.

 What are the Northern Lights?

The proper name for the Northern Lights is ‘Aurora Borealis’, but they are also commonly called ‘Merry Dancers’.

They consist of bright coloured streaks that appear to dance along the night sky. Exactly how long they last varies from a few minutes to just a few seconds. However, once you’ve witnessed them it’s a sight you’ll never forget.

The lights are created when the magnetic particles from Earth’s atmosphere collide with the Sun’s solar wind. The colour created is usually either green or red. In some cases the light actually intensifies and you get to see curtains or arcs of various different colours.

Sometimes the Aurora is quite weak and that leaves a faint light that’s barely detectable. It’s a gamble when you go hunting for the Northern Lights, but it’s one that definitely pays off if the Aurora is strong.

 Where to go

In Scotland the best places to head to in order to see these lights include the Orkney Isles and the Caithness Coast.

You can also head to the Outer Hebrides and Shetland for a glimpse of them. The latter have particularly low light pollution which makes the lights clearer and easier to spot when they do appear.

When to go

The Northern Lights can be seen in the autumn and winter months, with January being the best time to track them down. There’s even a text service available that alerts you to when the lights are more likely to appear. This means you can plan ahead as soon as you receive the alert.

The alert service is run by Aurora Watch UK and it provides a lot of useful advice. They even tell you how to build a detector that will tell you when the conditions are right for spotting the lights.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing the lights during peak times, you may need to stay up quite late. It’s not unusual for people to stay up until the early hours of the morning looking out for this natural phenomenon.

A few Northern Light facts

As well as amazing bright colours, the Northern Lights often give off an unusual sound. Those who have heard this sound say it sounds like a round of applause. The highest the lights have ever been is 620 miles away from Earth. However they can be as close as just 50 miles away.

For a little teaser for what to expect from the Northern Lights, why not look up a few pictures? While not as exciting as actually seeing them in person, you’ll still get a good idea of what to expect.

But if you want to witness this beautiful natural event first hand, the further north you go, the better hope you have of seeing them. Why not jump in one of our Rockinvans and park up in an ideal spot to see the lights at peak times?