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Campervanning in Scotland - free camping?

I would love to take my husband to Scotland for the last May bankholiday. Last year we campervanned around NZ so I thought it would be nice to hire a van. I know my husband will want to run (yes, run) up Ben Nevis, so was considering staying in the Fort William area. I am confused about the rules of free camping in a campervan, can anyone enlighten me? Or can anyone recommend a campsite near FW?

Thank you!


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    I'll happily recommend the Glen Nevis campsite at the foot of Ben Nevis. Unfortunately, I'm a walking traveller so do not know the rules of wild camping in a camper van.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • FofomaFofoma Member ✭✭✭
    Yes...Glen Nevis is the best site for accessing Ben Nevis - It's a lovely wee site too. I love looking up from the campsite at the path up Ben Nevis and watch the people walking up it, being happy that I have done it so don't need to do it again! Believe you me he will not be the only runner up there!!  
    The law on Wild Camping in a motor vehicle is different to wild camping when you are carrying your tent on foot. You can't just park up anywhere.
    I found this good article online - it dates to 2014 but I'm sure that it still holds true.
  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Lisbeth!  Campervanning is a brilliant and fun way to explore Scotland and @Fofoma is correct in saying that there are different rules when wild-camping in a campervan.  Access rights in Scotland do not extend to motorised vehicles therefore the rules change throughout the country depending on who owns the land.  Although the Scottish Outdoor Access Code applies to non-motorised access, I think if you follow the general rules for being a responsible camper you should have a great experience! :) 

    Also, have a look at this section of our website for a list of companies that offer campervan and motorhome hire - you can begin planning your adventure!! :)

  • EwanEwan Member ✭✭✭

     Just to pitch into this discussion a bit late ... I'm a keen camper, both in a campervan as well as in a tent when I'm out walking in the mountains.  I wrote the article referred to above given there's often a lot of confusion around this issue.

    @VisitScotlandAngela is right in saying that Scotland's progressive land access legislation allows you significant freedom to wild camp in Scotland if you're walking, cycling or using some other non-motorised activity.  Just follow the guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, act responsibly and leave no trace.

    However, these rules don't apply if you're camping in a vehicle and here the situation is exactly the same as in any other part of the UK.  In practice, informal camping in motorhomes/campervans has been tolerated in some remoter parts of Scotland away from settlements but unfortunately, the significant growth in popularity of motorhome holidays (especially on the NC500) is starting to create issues in particular hotspots.  I fear that this is just going to escalate.

    So my advice to @ Lisbeth and others is to search out campsites first of all.  They're geared up for motorhomes, have all the facilities as well as a warm welcome and great local advice to visitors. And of course, if you're staying locally on a campsite you're contributing much-needed income to the local economy!

    Exploring Scotland's wild places by foot, bike and camper van

    WildaboutScotland blog | Twitter

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