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Adventures in Scotland

Sustainable Wild Camping: Navigating Leave No Trace in 2024

wild camping

On April 3, 2024 By Rebecca Field

Leave No Trace

In the age of heightened environmental awareness, the principles of Leave No Trace are more crucial than ever, especially as wild camping experiences a surge in popularity. Despite the breathtaking beauty of Scotland’s landscapes, social media platforms are inundated with reports of litter and irresponsible waste management in some of the country’s most cherished spots. With the recent boom in camper van tourism, coupled with an increase in roadside camping, it’s evident that a minority of individuals are failing to uphold the principles of responsible outdoor stewardship.


Addressing the Issue:

In the short term, finding solutions to these challenges may seem daunting. The fear of contracting illnesses, such as the coronavirus, has led many to prioritize personal safety over environmental responsibility. This has resulted in a concerning disregard for waste disposal, particularly human waste, in outdoor settings.

Potential solutions include:

  • Implementing educational signage on proper outdoor toileting practices.
  • Equipping rangers with collapsible trowels for sale to promote responsible waste management.
  • Restricting roadside camping to self-contained campervans or caravans with onboard toilets.
  • Considering the deployment of additional rangers or portable toilets, albeit with financial implications that require careful consideration.

The Role of Education and Advocacy:

It’s imperative to address the root causes behind these behaviors. Many individuals fail to grasp the connection between their actions and the degradation of natural landscapes. Some even harbor the misconception that litter left outdoors will miraculously disappear—an assumption that is disproven by the enduring impact of waste on Scotland’s delicate ecosystems.

Our Approach:

At Scot Mountain Holidays we are steadfast advocates of Leave No Trace principles and adhere to the reduce-reuse-recycle ethos. Our commitment extends to our Wilderness Glamping Expeditions, where we prioritize environmental stewardship without compromising on comfort.

Practical Tips for Responsible Wild Camping:

  • When camping near roadways, ensure proper waste disposal by carrying a shovel and burying waste at least 30 minutes away from the road.
  • Maintain a small wash bag containing essentials for outdoor toileting, including hand sanitizer, biodegradable toilet paper, a collapsible shovel, and a lighter for burning used paper.
  • Embrace the essence of true wild camping by adhering to Leave No Trace principles and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, preserving the pristine beauty of Scotland’s wilderness.



Andy using the hot composter at Fraoch Lodge. We can recycle all kinds of food waste, including cooked food scraps.

Please – if you’re going to camp by the roadside, by which we mean under 30 minutes walk from the road or within sight of cars/a road – pack a shovel and make sure you bury your waste. Once you’ve prepared your toilet site and done your business, you can use the lighter to burn the paper, then bury what’s left. Human waste will degrade far more quickly if it is buried.

What we consider to be wild camping

It’s a shame that wild camping is getting such a bad name a the moment here in the Highlands. We like to distinguish between roadside camping, dirty camping and wild camping. Our new Wilderness Glamping Expedition is really “pure” wild camping following the Leave No Trace principles and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code completely without sacrificing comfort.

Our Tentipi on the wilderness expeditions

Is it the case long-term though that camping in whatever form it takes is really the problem? Perhaps we’re facing a more serious issue as per Chris Townsend’s article below.


Interesting perspective from Chris Townsend Gain insights from Chris Townsend’s perspective on the real threat to wild places: industrialization.

A beginner’s guide to guiding in Scotland Explore Fiona Russell’s beginner’s guide to guiding in Scotland for valuable tips and insights into responsible outdoor recreation.

Together, let’s embark on a journey towards sustainable wild camping, ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at the untamed beauty of Scotland’s landscapes.


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