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Thread: Camping in Scotland

  1. #1

    Default Camping in Scotland

    Let's just say a Canadian fella wanted to set out on a 7 to 8 day walk in Scotland and was feeling a tad misanthropic. He wouldn't mind hefting an ale at the end of the day but has a hankering for his own company and bivy sack. He's not afraid of carrying gear, and in fact, as much as his 55 yr old bones allow, he prefers it. If there are mountains and ridge walking involved, the cat will have meowed. He'll be setting foot the last week of June and would need to get to the trailhead from St Andrews via public transit.
    Surely, you rugged folks have a suggestion or two?
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  2. #2
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    I'd head for the Cairngorms, Aviemore in fact, as a start point at least. Not sure on the exact details but you can get a bus down to Edinburgh which will take around 45 mins and then catch a train up to Avimore which took us about 3 hours back in 2003.

    Just a thought but if by any chance you are ex/retired Canadian Military of any flavour, it wouldn't be out of the question that you might well be able to partake of the services of Rothiemurchus Lodge.


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    Indeed Aviemore would be a great suggestion, relatively easy to get there by public transport. If, as many Canadians are, you're then comfortable with pretty remote country, you could do a loop through the main Cairngorm mountains using the Lairig Ghru and back via the Derry Burn and Loch A'an. 3-4 days perhaps, but easily extended by taking in some mountains. Despite the (relative, compared to Canada) proximity of roads, this is wild country, to be treated with respect. Only ale at start and finish, though you could nip down to Braemar for a night!


    If you can get public transport further north and west, picking part of the Cape Wrath Trail would be another wonderful alternative. Its not a trail as in "marked trail" but a linked series of suggested routes through some of the best country in the Highlands. Glenfinnan, through Knoydart and on towards Kintail might be a good section. THis is arguably even wilder country.

    I'm just back from a week around the fringes of the "Fisherfield Forest", one of the wildest bits of the country, with some fabulous mountains. With a bit of planning, you could easily spend a week walking through them, and maybe the nearby Torridon area. My favourite UK area for mountains.

    One of the biggest issues in the Scottish Hills is river crossings, be aware of this after rain. The BIGGEST issue is the feckin' midges, like black flies if you like. Can be horrendous at any time between about mid-May and October, but equally can be absolutely fine at any time if there is a bit of a breeze. Another thing to be aware of, though you'll probably know this, is that Scottish trails/paths are generally unmarked in anyway, its good old map reading most of the time. Get hold of the relevant Ordnance Survey maps once you've narrowed down your choices, they are superb. There's a free resource of maps at 1:50k on "Walk Highlands". If you register (also free), you can then also get 1:25k: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/maps/. Its also a good forum not dissimilar to this one, so you can ask there too, and they have lots of Walk Reports (like our blogs basically).

    Enjoy!
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  4. #4

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    Thank you R Badger, Thank you Mal G.
    And "bothies" ... do tell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tpaetkau View Post
    Thank you R Badger, Thank you Mal G.
    And "bothies" ... do tell.

    Simple accommodation in the wilder parts. Stone walls, a roof, normally a wood stove or fire, and some sleeping benches. Normally no water or toilet, other than a shovel!


    We were in this one last week:














    Google "Mountain Bothies Association"
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    Quote Originally Posted by rancid badger View Post
    I'd head for the Cairngorms, Aviemore in fact, as a start point at least. Not sure on the exact details but you can get a bus down to Edinburgh which will take around 45 mins and then catch a train up to Avimore which took us about 3 hours back in 2003.
    A quicker way from St. Andrews would be to get the bus to Dundee, train from Dundee to Perth, then change trains for the Perth to Aviemore line.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

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    Completely different suggestion - Berwick to Stranraer - there's high, low, hills/ridges and a nicely spaced set of watering holes

    You can get a train to Berwick, there are bail-out options at half a dozen points along the route. - small tourist count - unlike the north.
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    For ordnance survey maps of UK, you could use bing/maps (ceratinly when in UK) and select OS maps from the drop down at top right. They have the whole UK at both 50K and 25k scales.

    The other trick is to use google and bing satellite imagery to zoom in to the level of fotpath scars, and vehicle tracks.

    There are plenty of wild places. It all depends on the direction of travel (i.e civilisation may only be 10K away at some points, but if you aren't going that way...)

  9. #9

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    Scottish law on access to wild land is much better than in England & Wales, and probably not much different to Canada in its effect on your purpose, but have a look at

    http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/

  10. #10

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    Flight is booked - June 18 to Edinburgh - daughter's grad is the 20th in St Andrews - and departure is July 05 - cars are super cheap, as in almost free ($260 CAD for the two and half weeks) so getting around is no longer a problem. Soooooo, time to pull out the guides and start checking out the suggestions from you kind folk ...

    Am I right in my understanding from the above link that setting up an overnight bivy/tent is permitted on "crown" land?
    Cooking fires?
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    I'd go to glen affric if I was in Edinburgh. Loch ness perhaps? Your spoilt for choice...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tpaetkau View Post
    Am I right in my understanding from the above link that setting up an overnight bivy/tent is permitted on "crown" land?
    Cooking fires?
    No such thing as 'crown land' in the UK. All land is owned by someone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tpaetkau View Post
    Flight is booked - June 18 to Edinburgh - daughter's grad is the 20th in St Andrews - and departure is July 05 - cars are super cheap, as in almost free ($260 CAD for the two and half weeks) so getting around is no longer a problem. Soooooo, time to pull out the guides and start checking out the suggestions from you kind folk ...

    Am I right in my understanding from the above link that setting up an overnight bivy/tent is permitted on "crown" land?
    Cooking fires?
    "Crown" land isn't quite the same in Scotland as in Canada, but in reality the situation isn't too different if you're sensible. Somebody owns every bit of land in the UK, there is not really state owned "free access". Instead, we have open access to the parts, of which there are plenty in Scotland, that are away from housing, farming etc, so you will be fine camping in these remoter areas. Just make sure you're out of sight of property, and not in enclosed areas such as fields without asking.
    More info here: http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.co...public/camping

    Fires would not normally be appropriate in a lot of the country, but the good thing about canoeing is that the areas you are likely to camp are often suitable for making "no trace" fires. You will not normally find firepits or the like, though there are places you will do. I'm sure many from your side of the pond are familiar with leaving no trace anyway. What you may find, though, is that the places you go have little firewood. When we're in the Highlands we use fireboxes and take our own wood for most of the cooking, supplementing it with the occasional beach fire and driftwood/dead standing wood if there is any. We also have gas stoves for the quick brews etc.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

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  14. #14

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    Might there be a shop in Dundee or thereabouts, I wonder, that would stock fuel and Ordnance maps? Cured sausage and dry cheese would be a bonus. A curious Canadian would like to know.
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  15. #15
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    Dundee is nicely stocked with supermarkets & shops as are most UK towns.

    Maps are more available here than Canada

    You might just also want to check the Western Highlands now you've easy transport.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

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    I would say West Scotland is generally more interesting than the East (Hope I don't upset anyone by saying that). A great option for you would be to head to Knoydart and walk via a bothie at Sourlies to a small village called Inverie which is only accessible by foot or by boat and has the most amazing and memorable pub (and I've been to a few!). Knoydart is also close to the Isle of Skye which has some nice walking along the Culin ridge. The area around Ullapool is also amazing.

    Beware of midges they are vicious wee things, they are at there worst when the wind drops after rain.

  17. #17

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    Blacks and Tiso both have shops in Dundee that will sell fuel and maps, but quite a few roadside filling stations will also. Most supermarkets will have cured sausage (although it may be sliced and vacuum packed) and a range of cheese. Dry cheese as such isn't something I've seen, but most British cheeses are hard and fairly dry.

    A curious Brit has a question about Canada - in National Parks such as Algonquin, fires are only permitted in the official fire pits on official sites, and I understand why. What is the position with small firebox stoves, where the fire is off the ground? I'm only thinking of something big enough for a brew, but making use dead wood rather than carrying fuel.

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    What kind of fuel?
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    Blacks and Tiso both have shops in Dundee that will sell fuel and maps, but quite a few roadside filling stations will also. Most supermarkets will have cured sausage (although it may be sliced and vacuum packed) and a range of cheese. Dry cheese as such isn't something I've seen, but most British cheeses are hard and fairly dry.

    A curious Brit has a question about Canada - in National Parks such as Algonquin, fires are only permitted in the official fire pits on official sites, and I understand why. What is the position with small firebox stoves, where the fire is off the ground? I'm only thinking of something big enough for a brew, but making use dead wood rather than carrying fuel.
    There are folks who, in winter, use a hot-tent system ... basically a portable wood-stove inside a canvas tent.
    For practical purposes, I wouldn't think a small firebox would raise any eyebrows. Generally in a park like Algonquin you'll be camping in approved sites. Once you're out of the park system and onto crown land however, open fires are permitted providing there are no bans in place. Like much else, common sense is the best guide ...
    Trevor Paetkau
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  20. #20

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    I'd add my vote to the Cairngorms. There are some great walks, one of my favourites was from Braemar (Linn of Dee car park) up to Loch Avon (A'an) and an overnight at the Hutchison bothy just below Ben Macdui.

    Wrote a bit about it on my blog at the time:
    http://blog.tmccarthy.co.uk/2015/09/...rms-continued/

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