campervan scotland guide

Scotland Campervan Guide – 10 Day Itinerary

campervan scotland guide

Scotland Campervan Guide – 10 Day Itinerary

Scotland is understandably one of the most popular places to go and tour in a campervan. It has oodles of fantastic park ups, a vast area to explore and some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. 

You could spend a year in Scotland and still have places to explore – so how do you choose where to go on a campervan holiday road trip? That’s where we come in! 

We have spent a lot of time in Scotland over the years in campervans, tents and cottages and like to think we can give advice on some of the best places to visit in Scotland in a campervan. We are also pretty good at staying away from the crowds (we are not miserable – just like a bit of peace and quiet!) so you can be sure we will find you some wild places to frequent! 

The aim with this Scotland Campervan Guide is not to provide just 10 places to visit but to give different options which you could feasibly fit in to a 10 day tour without break the land speed record! The idea of campervan travel is to take the slow road and take in the sights and sometimes spend a few days somewhere rather than racing around trying to fit everything in. You can use our guide to pick the places you really like the look of and choose a route to suit you. 

First things first here are some general Scotland tips! 

General Scotland Campervan Tips

  • Midges

If you are touring Scotland between May and September – take midge repellent and a headnet. They are seriously evil. Generally they are worse on the west coast than the east coast and love warm and moist conditions. They don’t like the wind so the best way to escape them is to go high or go to the coast where the wind generally keeps them away.

  • Park Considerately
Campervan scotland guide

You will find in peak season that some of the hot spots like Loch Lomond and Glen Coe will be very busy and parking may be limited. Our best advice is either get to places early to make sure you can get a spot or go somewhere less busy. The great thing about Scotland is you don't really have to plan park ups - you can just drive and stop when you want as generally wild camping rules are very relaxed up there. 

  • Take Waterproofs!

Scotland is notoriously wet so make sure you take a waterproof jacket and trousers.

  • LPG advice

If you have an underslung LPG tank on your campervan then when you get to the depths of Scotland it can be tricky to find places to refill. It’s best to fill up before you go but if you get stuck there are a few dotted around including Fort William, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can use the following app to locate gas stations: https://www.mylpg.eu/

  • Avoid Popular Spots in the Summer

There are so many places to visit in Scotland so why go to the busy spots in peak season where you will end up queuing and have fewer places to park? We would also advise to avoiding popular routes like the NC500 – Why not make your own route up where others aren’t likely to be? We will be giving some options below for places that aren’t so busy and just as beautiful as the hot spots.

  • Check the Forecast

If the forecast is bad for where you were planning to go you may want to change your plans. The weather can be very different on the coast compared to inland. Sometimes it’s better to change your plans completely (we certainly have) and go somewhere different like Northumberland or the Lake District where the weather can be much more settled.

10 Day Scotland Campervan Tour Itinerary Ideas 

Why not break the journey up with a stop over in Northumberland? I previously always used to travel up to Scotland up the west side of the country up the M6 as it was the most direct route. I decided one day to take the east side up the M1/A1 to Northumberland as I had always wanted to see Lindisfarne Castle. I was amazed - it's stunning and well worth a visit en-route. 

Northumberland 

Lindesfarne castle northumberland

Northumberland deserves a 10 day itinerary all to itself – it’s one of those places that people haven’t quite realised is so beautiful and so it’s still relatively quiet when all the other hot spots like the Lakes and Scotland are heaving. Honestly – the beaches in Northumberland are just as good (if not better) as the beaches in the South West with long white sandy stretches of quiet, unspoilt paradise. 

Anyway – enough rambling…here are the top places to stop off at to break the journey up:

Bamburgh Castle 

Bamburgh Castle Northumberland

This impressive looking castle is just down the road from Lindisfarne so you can combine them both in a day. It’s been there for over 1400 years and is one the largest lived in castles in the UK. It sits high and mighty above the beach and is a very impressive place to go and visit. 

Holy Island & Lindisfarne Castle

Lindesfarne northumberland

If you go to Northumberland this should be top of your list – There is a very special feeling at this place – it feels quite eerie as the spooky looking castle, which was formerly a monastery, gets cut off at high tide. You can only get to the island at low tide so be sure to check the tide times before going. There is plenty of (paid) parking and some quaint shops, coffee shops and pubs to explore as well as the castle.

Alnwick

Is a lovely town to have a mooch around with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. It's a medieval town with interesting buildings with plenty of history. It also has a castle (there are a few in Northumberland!) and is a great place to go if you like shopping or on a rainy day. 

Cocklawburn Beach

Cocklawburn beach northumberland

If white sandy beaches, rockpools and a bit of dolphin spotting is your thing then this beach is a cracker! It’s huge so doesn't get particularly busy but parking can be limited at the weekends so get there early enough. I was once lay on the bed in the back of the van when a pod of dolphins swam past in the distance – it was a magnificent sight!

Unfortunately you cannot park overnight here so you will have to go back inland slightly for a park up or campsite.

Alnmouth

Alnmouth is the Tobermory or Northumberland with lots of cute coloured houses and shops next to a gorgeous beach. There are a few lovely art galleries, excellent cafes and a beautiful coastline to go and explore. 

If passing through Seahouses on your Northumberland trip you must stop at Neptunes Fish and Chip shop – they are the best around!! The beach at Seahouses is lovely too – but beware if eating your chips outside – the Starlings will steal them out of your hands! 

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

The cobbler walk

If you do go up the west side of the country to get to Scotland then you will likely go through Loch Lomond. You may also go up the east and come back down the west which is ideal as you will get to see it all! 

Loch Lomond is stunning however it has been affected by people visiting and not being respectful by leaving rubbish and generally trashing the place. You will therefore notice a camping ban in place for the much part during peak season.

Our recommendation is to stick to a campsite stay here if in peak season or go slightly further out and visit and the Trossachs. You can pre-book a wild camping spot on the following website which has lots more information.

There are a couple of little mountains in the area which are well worth a climb:

Conic Hill

Conic hill walk

This small little hill (350m) is very easily attained but offers panoramic views over Loch Lomond and is one of the best view points in the area. More details for the walk here.

conic hill walk

The Cobbler

I love this little mountain and have climbed it many times. It’s craggy, has a fabulous profile and is generally pretty quiet compared to the more popular Ben Lomond in the area. The true summit is on top of a pinnacle (seen in the photo at the top of this area section) which to get to you have to go through a gap in the rock (known as threading the needle) and then a very airy scramble up onto the summit. Good fun but a bit scary for those who don't like heights. If scrambling isn't your bag then a walk to the top of the mountain not including the true summit is still phenomenal. 

The cobbler

 

Glencoe

Glencoe

The road through Glencoe is one of my favourites in the UK. Firstly you pass the gatekeeper of the north – the massive beast that is Buachaille Etive Mor. Then the road winds through stunning the stunning mountains that are the Three Sisters on the left and my favourite ridge walk in the UK – Aonach Eagach. This is a knife edge grade 2 scramble so isn't for the faint hearted but for those who like a thrill it's the best!

Anoach egach

The Lost Valley Walk

There is a gorgeous walk up into the lost valley which is accessed from the main large car park next to the three sisters. Here is more info on the walk itself.

The hanging valley is historically where a Scottish clan hid their rustled cattle. It’s a stunning spot and would be a great place to take a picnic or even wild camp for the night if you have a tent.

The lost valley glencoe

The Ice Factor – Kinlochleven

If climbing is your thing then there is also a fantastic climbing centre in Kinclochleven which is between Glencoe and Fort William. It has an ice climbing wall and you can park in the car park for free overnight. There is a tap for water around the back of the centre and showers (payable) inside so is a great stopping point to freshen up!

The ice factor ice climbing

Fort William

Fort William is a great place to have a wander on a wet day. There are plenty of shops to peruse (including lots of outdoor shops!) it has a great little bouldering wall called three wise monkeys if you like climbing.

It also has one of the best vegan cafes we have ever been too called The Wild Cat.

Steall Falls

This is a beautiful valley down the bottom of Glen Nevis which has a lovely waterfall and rope bridge. It's a fairly narrow drive to get up to the parking area but it's ok in campervans up to 3 tonne. 

The walk in is lovely as you walk up alongside a gorge with a view down Glen Nevis on your way up. This is a great one to fit in when you want to fit in a short 1-2 hour walk on a showery day. More info on the walk here

steal falls

Ben Nevis

Fancy climbing the highest peak in the UK? The start for the route is from Fort William and it’s a very rewarding but long climb. There is a relatively easy but tiring tourist path up (called the pony track) with more details here.

If you are an experienced walker and want to try a more spicy route then why not take the CMD Arete route up via The North Face car park? This is a grade 1 scramble and offers an amazing view over the craggy north face of the Ben. More info here.

Ben nevis north face

Arisaig

Arasaig

Arisaig is a must for beach lovers. It has white sands and stunning blue seas. It is on the far west coast and is accessed easily from Fort William. There are plenty of campsites in the area to stay and a few park up’s where overnight stays are tolerated.

Arasaig campervan

If you like kayaking then you are in for a real treat here – the little islands that are dotted around are gorgeous and great for exploring and you are bound to see plenty of sea life including seals whilst out paddling.

Kayaking arasiag

Torridon

Beinn align hike

Torridon is an absolutely beautiful spot full of mountains and wildlife. I adore the sandstone mountains which have eroded layers to them and they are really craggy too so make beautiful photos. It’s absolutely jam packed with beautiful park up spots but I warn you - getting one with signal can be tricky! 

The midges can also be pretty bad here so make sure you have plenty of midge spray and nets! Don’t let that put you off though - it really is stunning! 

Here are some amazing things to do in the Torridon area: 

Beinn Alligin Hike

This is a fantastic hike which on a good day gives you stunning views all over the Torridon mountains. It's only 6.5 miles so not a massive day out either but gives you the views and some airy scrambling if you decide to take the alligin horns on direct! You can avoid them by taking a traversing bypass path which skirts around them but the scrambling isn't too tricky if you have a good head for heights. More info on the walk here

Torridon mountains

 

Beinn Eighe Hike

If you are looking for something a bit easier and shorter than the alligin scramble then this 4 mile walk is perfect! It's noted as the only waymarked mountain route in the UK so is very easy to navigate although the terrain is still very rocky so you still need decent kit! 

It has super views and is a very pretty walk despite it's modest distance. More information on the walk here

Applecross Pass - Bealach na Bà

This is a fantastic single track mountain road which really feels like the mountain passes you get in the Alps. It's absolutely stunning and if you are a confident driver then you will no doubt enjoy it. It takes you the scenic route up and over to Applecross which is another place to stop and explore. 

It is a single track road with passing places and it also has a hair pin bend section so only attempt it if you are a confident driver and used to the size of your van. It may be closed in the winter as it would be treacherous in the snow too - best left for a nice clear day so you appreciate the views! 

Applecross pass

Explore Applecross 

Applecross is a lovely little village next to the sea which has some nice cafes, pubs and galleries to explore. There used to be a lovely cafe opposite the public toilets/main car park and fuel station which if it's still there having the coffee and cake was lovely. Also make sure you go up the Applecross gallery which has some beautiful photographs available to peruse and buy. 

There is a tap outside the public toilets so you can also fill up your water tanks/carriers. When I was there 2 years ago a stag jumped over a fence onto the main road through the village and then just casually just wandered about. Here he is next to the pub garden on the beach! Apparently this is quite normal in Applecross! 

applecross

Assynt

Assynt - suliven

Assynt is another place jam packed with beautiful views of mountains and seascapes. These mountains look  different from the relatively nearby Torridon mountains. The Assynt mountains look like they come straight out of the sea with flat plateaus in-between them and seem to be much darker stone with a lot more green on them. 

The signal seemed better here generally and if the weather is bad you can always have a wander around Ullapool and have a cafe and cake day! 

Here are some amazing things to do in the Assynt area: 

Suilven Hike 

This is one of my favourite hikes in Scotland. If you haven't seen the film Edie then you need to as it will fill you full of inspiration to climb Suilven. 

It's 12.5 miles with most of it being relatively flat until you reach the base of the mountain - that's when you climb up steeply and really feel the burn! Suilven is such an iconic mountain shape - it looks rather like a snail and rises up from the wilderness on it's own. The easiest route up starts from just outside Lochinver and you can park overnight in the carpark which has an honesty box (which is tiny - so it's worth getting there early or parking overnight). More  info on the walk here. 

Suliven hike campervan

Ullapool

Ullapool is one of the biggest towns in the far north west and has a good amount of shops, cafes and pubs to explore. Great for a rainy day in between exploring other areas.  

Stac Pollaidh Hike

Stac poldaidh

This is another fantastic hike in Assynt which is a good half day hike being only 2.75 miles as a whole circuit. Stac Pollaidh looks scary to climb but actually has a relatively easy path up to the top. It does require an airy and tricky scramble to get to the true summit but even if you don't do that bit it's an awesome hike. More information on the hike here

Stac polladih

Bone Caves

Bones cave The is another great half day hike being just 2.75 miles. The caves have been famed due to bones of polar bears, lynx and reindeer being excavated here - hence the name bones cave. 

Bones cave

Clachtoll Beach and/or Achmelvich Bay

If white sandy beaches and clear blue waters are more your bag then you must go and spend some time and Clachtoll beach and Achmelvich Bay. They are both stunning and Clachtoll Beach has a great little campsite next to it so you can park up with a beach view. 

Isle of Mull

Waterfall isle of mull

Isle of Mull? What about Skye I hear you say! We much preferred touring Mull than Skye. There were miles of open quiet roads, beautiful beaches, big mountains and some stunning islands to visit like Staffa. We found Skye busy, park ups and campsites full and the weather was pretty foul! Yes it’s got some amazing places but it is always busy in peak season with coach loads of people visiting attractions. Skye is also quite far north so it's a long way to go on a 5-7 day tour. 

What I would say is - if you plan to include Mull in your itinerary maybe think about skipping one or two of other areas out from your trip so you have plenty of time to explore. You could easily spend 5 days on Mull alone. 

To get to Mull you need to catch the ferry from Oban which is easily combined with a visit to Glencoe and Fort William en-route.

With beach park ups like this why would you want to go anywhere else?

beach park ups isle of mull

Calgary Beach

You will think you are in the med on this beach – the sand is so white and the water so clear and blue it’s simply stunning. Combine a visit here with a trip to the cute little town of Tobermory.

Calgary beach isle of mull

Fingals Cave & Staffa

Staffa is a fascinating island to visit and worth every penny of the trip cost. The island is formed from huge basalt hexagonal columns and is a great place to spot puffins. Fingals cave is located on staffa which is famed for it's natural acoustics and the eerie sounds it makes with the crashing waves that flow into it. 

Staffa

Eas Fors Waterfall

The parking is right next to the waterfall and within a 5 minute walk you are at the top of this absolutely amazing waterfall. If you have a drone – take it, you will no doubt get some stunning shots.

waterfall isle of mull

In Summary 

I always want to stress to people the important of taking things slowly when doing campervan travel. The above places would be a rush to fit in 10 days. I would recommend picking a few of the above and spending plenty of time exploring that particular place. It can be tempted to try and fit everything in - indeed, many do by ticking off routes like the NC500 but we have heard so many times people actually haven't had time to enjoy anywhere because they just ended up driving loads. it's better to explore places thoroughly and use it as an excuse to go back up to explore a new area on another trip. 

The good news is our 14 day Scotland Guides can help you plan a slightly longer trip to fit more in so be sure to check those out. 


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