When I sat down to work on a budget for my motorcycle trip across Scotland, I quickly realised that accommodation costs could prove to be a stumbling block. Budget hotels and Airbnb can cost anywhere between 40 (if you&rsquore fortunate) to 100 pounds per night. In rupees speak, you could easily run through an average month&rsquos wages in just a few days.
Unless you simply go camping instead.
If you didn&rsquot already know this, Scotland is one of the few places where wild camping is still permitted. It is legal to make a home for the night on (nearly) any piece of open and vacant land. This is despite nearly all of the property being privately owned. Even neighbouring England and Wales&mdashall part of the United Kingdom&mdashonly allow camping within designated campsites you need to pay for. However, the Scots still allow you the opportunity to, quite literally, live wild and free. There are, of course, a few caveats, but they are largely aimed towards ensuring safety and limiting environmental impact. All required and very reasonable, in my opinion.
It seemed too good to be true when I first heard about this. Now, on the other side of my trip, I can assure you it is entirely legitimate. Over ten days, I had several opportunities to test the limits of this freedom, and I&rsquom happy to report that I didn&rsquot encounter any. In fact, given my past experiences in India, I often expected that someone would show up and ask me to get moving along. But, on the few occasions I met someone near the camp, they were happy to see me there and often gave me suggestions of other great spots to look up further on my journey. This acceptance and encouragement of an outdoor-oriented lifestyle was a refreshing change for me.
I spent a few nights beside a famous Loch (lake) and one in an open field at the foot of a mountain. My favourite spots, though, were a series of scenic perches that I found at different points along the coast of northwestern Scotland as I rode down the North Coast 500. Every morning, I opened the top flap of my tent with a sense of excitement, not knowing what I would get to see. And, every single time, the view that lay in wait only seemed to get better. If I didn&rsquot have the pictures to prove it, I would already find some of this hard to believe.
I realise that camping isn&rsquot for everyone and it&rsquos definitely no bed of roses. There are limitations in terms of comfort and convenience that can, in many scenarios, make it seem like a lot of effort for very little reward. But, for me, every night in the wild in Scotland was worth its weight in gold
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