Routes & Travelling in Scotland

As you might expect, we love Scotland, and we’re sure you will too.

Whether it’s mountain climbing, history dating back to the Stone Age, golfing on the world’s original courses, fishing for salmon, dancing a ceilidh, or sampling the world’s finest whiskies, there’s something here for you.

To help you with your tour planning, we propose the broad itineraries on the map below.  The time estimates allow for steady progress, giving scope to get a good flavour of each area.  The Central Highlands forms the principle basic tour – starting and finishing in Edinburgh (near our base in Peebles) – and the other loops can be added and linked as desired and as your time allows.

But don’t feel any need to follow these plans rigidly: mix it up and go where your whim takes you.  Scotland is a relatively small country, and you could see a large part of it in a fortnight, though travel on many of the roads can be very slow.  That’s not to suggest you’ll know all about Scotland in that time, which takes much, much longer!

Below are some answers to questions that we are frequently asked about Scotland, and camping alone in it’s beautiful wilderness.

What will the weather be like and what’s the best time of year to visit?

Obviously we can’t guarantee the weather: if we could, we’d be rich enough to be driving our vehicles around the world at leisure, rather than hiring them to you!  It can be sunny and warm or wet and grey.  There are two sayings about Scottish weather, both well known because they’re true:

1. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes

2. Scotland looks it’s best when the weather is at its worst.

As weather fronts often cross Scotland from West to East – driven by the jet stream – and because of the mountains, the West coast is generally more prone to rain.  So, if the forecast is wet, the tip is to go East and duck behind the mountains.

Our busiest period is the peak tourist months of July and August, when demand for our vehicles is extremely high.  But we particularly recommend the spring and autumn months of April, May, June, September and October.  In spring the days are getting longer and the midges (see below) have yet to emerge, whilst in autumn you can enjoy the fantastic colours of the trees and beautiful evening sunsets.  And you’re even more likely to have the place to yourself.

Camping in the winter months is for the brave, but may prove good training for your next polar expedition!

Can we camp anywhere?

The legislation regarding camping and access rights is different in Scotland to the rest of the UK.  Scotland is very liberal in these respects, and wild camping is welcomed so long as people abide by the guidance provided in the Outdoor Access Code (which we advise all clients to read).  Vehicular access is much more restricted, but in practical terms, using common sense and courtesy, our clients rarely have problems camping in places of their choosing, away from public roads.  If in doubt about a place’s suitability, ask someone local (if anyone is around).  It will be apparent to you where is and where isn’t an appropriate camping place. The map below gives a rough indication of the opportunities for wild camping by area.

Are open fires permitted in Scotland?

Yes they are, though again we would refer our clients to the Outdoor Access Code for details regarding best practice with open fires.  For a very safe and controlled open fire, with minimal impact on the environment, the Firebox (supplied with our standard equipment) is ideal.  Wildfires can occur in Scotland when conditions are very dry, and so it is essential that clients act responsibly when lighting fires, ensuring that the fire is contained and that there’s no risk of it spreading to surrounding vegetation.  A fire extinguisher is supplied in the vehicle.

Are midges a big problem?

Midges – a small sand fly type insect – can blight some parts of Scotland.  They can be there one minute, gone the next, and can be intense in one place and non-existent just a few metres away.  They tend to congregate when the air is very still, and especially in the presence of still or slow-moving water.  Special repellents are available, and we especially recommend Smidge.  Choosing a slightly exposed campsite with a nice breeze will help keep them at bay, as will a moderately smoky campfire.

The tents are fitted with insect nets on the doors and windows which successfully stop the midge from sharing your bed!