Advice on Dog Friendly Wild Camping
@fergusthelab share their experience on dog friendly wild camping across the UK.
First things first, we bought a van back in April this year with a plan to convert it into a campervan. If you search on Ebay you will find hundreds of converted vans ranging in price. We wanted a van to last us years and therefore wanted a low mileage nearly new van which we were lucky enough to be able to afford. We want to plan the inside to suit our needs, this has already involved in many trials and errors with more to come.
For our first big trip we decided on Scotland and the Inner and Outer Hebrides, I had been lusting over pictures that I had seen from friends that had been to the Isle of Harris and knew, that I needed to go.
We only booked a site for the first night knowing that we were going to be tired after the long drive up, that’s where our plans for the trip started and ended. In work, I have to be super organised and love spreadsheets and planning but, when it comes to holidays I create a wish list of hundreds of places I want to see and things to do, that’s it.
Firstly is it legal? Not technically, wild camping is legal providing you are on foot, bike or other non-motorised transport. So, therefore ‘wild camping’ in a van isn’t permitted but, it is tolerated (at present). If you intend to wild camp either in a tent or a van, you must be mindful of several things;
- Leave the spot as you found it – remove all trace
- Don’t leave any litter
- Do not damage crops or disturb livestock
- Don’t create any pollution
- Do not block highways or access routes
So many people are camping in Scotland both on sites and wild – why not? It’s lots of fun! I’ve put together some of my own advice on how to go about camping both wild and not with your pooch.
Dog friendly sites – If you plan on staying on sites, make sure they are dog friendly. A lot have walking areas for dogs now and are very accommodating for our fur babies.
How to settle a dog into Camping – This one I can’t answer very well as Fergus will settle anywhere. Make sure you take their creature comforts with you, a good bed, blankets, toys and lots of treats. You can get pegs that screw into the ground to attach a dog lead to, these are great if you need to keep your dog on a lead. Take lots of dog towels, camping, especially in Scotland can mean you and you’re dog gets wet. A wet dog in a van or tent is not fun, air fresheners are essential.
Parking and Driving – The van is only little compared to a lot of campervans and caravans that are available and therefore this makes it incredibly easy to drive almost anywhere and park in normal car parking spaces. For us this is a huge advantage, we are able to use the van as essentially a car when required.
Electricity – We have a hook up on the van so when we are on sites we have access to electricity for things like camera batteries, phones, heater, fridge, etc. When we are wild camping obviously we have nowhere to ‘hook up’ too. So we have a solar panel on the roof connected to two leisure batteries, this provides us with enough electricity to power what we need. Again, some sites will allow you to recharge leisure batteries if you don’t have a solar panel.
Food and Cooking – We have chosen at present to not have an inbuilt hob in the van, this may change in the future but we enjoy the freedom of being able to cook outside or in. We personally prefer to cook outside wherever possible to prevent the van smelling for days after of food. Our pull-out awning to shelter under the wet weather is pawfect. We are massive foodies so I could write a whole post on its own about what we cook. We have an electric fridge/cool box to keep things cool in.
Washing – I showered every day! Many campsites will allow you (for a small fee) to use their facilities. A lot of towns, have public conveniences and also showers, all were clean and well kept. I think I came across one that I wouldn’t use again. I’m personally not brave enough to wash outdoors etc.
Toilets – Our van is a VW Transporter and therefore isn’t big enough for a toilet and shower (We do have a little portaloo but never used it, it just travels with us, just in case). So again, be prepared to ‘nature wee’ or to use public conveniences/ sites/pubs/cafes etc etc