I'm 16 and me and some friends are going to be backpacking through Scotland in a few weeks, though we're not too sure where to start- we were going to tour europe, but it turns out thats too exepnsive for this year, so...yeah. We're not too sure where to start, because we've never done anything like this before. I've camped on camping sites with my family alot, but we've always had acess to a car or some sort of transport, and I've always been with an adult, so this is a whole new thing for me and my friends.
We're aiming to spend around four weeks backpacking, preferabally moving from campsite to campsite- moving through scotland into england, and I'm wondering what the laws were for setting up tents and/or what the best routes would be to take? We're going to get the train from Liverpool to Scotland and start from there.
I'm also not too sure what to take- I know to pack light, taking stuff like emergancy blankets/coats and of course a phone, but is there anything major that cannot be forgotten?
I'm just hoping to find someone who could point me in the right direction to planning a route that wont end in disaster ( disaster likes to follow me around :P ) because I know backpacking can be dangerous aswell as fun.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jul-2009, at 06:56 by mistygemmy ]
Hi there - I'd be happy to offer help and advice regarding camping locations, the law, travel, gear and places to go / planning. Is a bit too much to write it all here but feel free to message me, for specific advice.
I could do with knowing where you will arrive in Scotland, how many of you, how many tents, pack weights, distances you are comfortable hiking per day, desired proximity to people (shops, camp sites) or wild camping (open hillside). Are you all of similar experience or not? What is your budget? Are you going to use buses and trains to get into location, or hike from city? I'd suggest using Citylink.co.uk or megabus.com to get into the Highlands - places like Perthshire or the Cairngorms National Park, or west coast and islands.
Gen up on midges and countryside access "freedom to roam". Consider a night in a hostel (SYHA or Independent Backpacker) for use of showers, internet, kitchens and drying rooms etc.
Write back for more help.
Best wishes - and go for it! Do not be deterred.
Malcolm / Five Senses
Well you could start in Inverness and work you way to Edinburgh, there are Hostels in Inverness, Aviemore, Perth, Edinburgh. How much walking to you plan on doing?
Perth SYHA closed years ago. I am not aware of a hostel in Perth.
For walking between hostels the Cairngorms is a good area, with good wild camping and camp sites too.
I would not recommend walking south of Perth (ie towards Edinburgh).
For walking from a city, the West Highland Way runs from Glasgow north to Fort William but can be a trudge and prone to too many other hikers and midges. I would prefer other locations.
Midges are a problem you will come across but Avon Skin So Soft is a great way to keep them at bay.
Check the Scottish Youth Hostel site for cheap places to stay if you get too wet or fed up with camping.
The Mega Bus (has a website) - booked in advance, used to be a cheap way to travel between cities/towns - Glasgow to Inverness/Aberdeen/Perth etc. This bus also runs from Edinburgh.
In August the Edinburgh Festival has lots of street entertainers in the city centre.
Hope you enjoy your trip.
They got some funny old ancient laws in Scotland - that make it easy for you to go just about anywhere in the countryside (within reason).
There are no official Public Footpaths in Scotland - but also, there are no hard and fast trespass laws either.
Thousands of countryside paths are for public use (99% of them are unsigned and not on O.S. maps), but they are not officially Public Footpaths. Bit like wheteher the witch is innocent or guilty - aint it.
Gemmy, can I recommend making your way to the Isle of Eigg, which is lovely for a couple of days of walking and has a very nice hostel. I'm also particularly keen on Skye (the mountains are dramatic and lovely), and it's pretty easy to combine a trip to these 2 islands.
For getting around the remote highland bits the Royal Mail Postbus service can be a real lifesaver - check out the website for details.