A guide to off grid camping - see www.northcoast500.com for more info

LEAVE NO TRACE

Give your litter a lift, take it home!

Whether you are travelling by car, bicycle, motorcycle, campervan, motorhome or foot, it is your responsibility to dispose of your waste responsibly. Keep Scotland Beautiful reports that 50 tonnes of litter is abandoned on Scotland’s roadsides each month, much of which includes cans, bottles, cups, crisp packets, and food wrappers, tubs and boxes.

Not only can litter ruin the amazing views along the North Coast 500, it can also pose a hazard to wildlife and the environment. Clearing up discarded litter can also be difficult, dangerous and expensive to clean up.

If you find that there are no bins, or that the bins provided are full, DO NOT leave your waste at the roadside or beside a bin, take it with you and dispose of it responsibly, recycling where you can. If you are travelling with pets, make sure that any pet waste is collected in a bag and disposed of at the nearest “poo bin” or waste bin.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, littering is a recognised criminal offence in Scotland. If a person is found guilty of this offence, they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80, or potentially prosecuted and issued a fine of up to £2,500.

Motorhome Waste Disposal

No-one likes to see waste left beside the roadside and it is your responsibility to ensure you leave no trace of your travel and dispose of your motorhome waste in the correct manner.

There are a number of campsites and places around the route that you can dispose of your chemical waste and grey water (even if you are not staying there).

Free for staying guests, charge applies for passing visitors:

Waste disposal facilities for staying guests only:

 

More useful information and advice can be found here –

https://www.northcoast500.com/top-tips-hitting-route/motorhomes-and-campervan-advice/

 

As campsites can change we cannot guarantee that all of these will still allow a service visit so always call ahead and book in, even just to empty your tanks

MOTORHOMES & CAMPERVANS – NC500

Touring the North Coast 500 in a motorhome or campervan is becoming increasingly popular as it allows you the freedom to enjoy all the North of Scotland has to offer at your own pace. Whenever you are travelling in your motorhome or campervan, it is important that you observe the following advice.

Driving on Country and Single-Track Roads

⚠ If your motorhome is more than a standard VW T5 conversion (ie about 16-18ft in length), please take the alternative motorhome routes available. If you cannot accurately reverse your vehicle several hundred yards on a narrow single track road – you cannot safely drive over this road. Please do not attempt to drive the Bealach Na Ba (take the A832) or B869 Drumbeg Road (take the A894).

This is following advice from several professional drivers who know the road and from local breakdown services. It only takes ONE person who is not used to driving a large vehicle to block the road completely to the detriment of other users, those that use the road for work, and importantly – emergency vehicles.

 

As well as the driving information detailed above, campervan and motorhome drivers should be consider the following:

  • You must feel comfortable reversing the vehicle correctly and safely as you may be required to do this on single track roads.

  • If you are travelling below the speed limit, please pull in to a layby or passing place to allow traffic to safely pass you.

  • Do not travel in convoy, especially on small roads as this can lead to congestion. Always travel at least one passing place apart.

Overnight Parking

‘Wild Camping’ under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 is only allowed when camping by foot, bike or other non-motorised transport. It DOES NOT apply to motorised vehicles such as campervans or motorhomes.

 

We would recommend that you make use of the wonderful camping and caravan sites along the route. Not only will you enjoy rural locations with all the facilities you will need to make your trip more enjoyable, you will also be helping to support the local communities. Check out this handy Interactive Map for details of Motorhome and Campervan sites around the route - https://www.northcoast500.com/explore-the-route/

If you do decide to stay informally at locations along the route, it is important to follow these guidelines and advice:

Access Rights

  • Scottish access rights and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code do not apply to motor vehicles.

  • The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that you can drive a vehicle up to 15 yards off a public road for the purpose of parking, but this does not confer any right to park the vehicle. Most un-metalled roads, unfenced land and beaches are private property, and you don’t have a right to park unless it’s authorised by the landowner by verbal agreement or signage.
     

Common Sense Guidance – Do: 

  • Use common sense and think whether the spot you have found is suitable for a vehicle.

  • Think about the cumulative effect of camping in the ‘fantastic secret place which I’m sure no-one else has ever been’… it is very likely that others will use the same spot, not just you!

  • Take great care to avoid fragile ground/sensitive habitats, never drive down to beaches or onto grass verges as it destroys the habitat.

  • Avoid overcrowding. If another vehicle is parked in a secluded spot – try not to park right next to them and find your own spot elsewhere.

  • Speak to locals as they may be able to advise a suitable place to park up overnight.

  • Use only biodegradable detergents and drain kitchen waste water tanks in campsites at designated areas. If it has to be emptied in the wild, keep away from water courses and be aware that animals will be attracted to the scent.

  • Ensure your vehicle is self-contained with sufficient toilet facilities and waste water tanks (empty before going off grid).

  • Do a full ‘litter-pick’ before you leave, taking all of your rubbish, and any you found there already, and disposing of it properly when you’re back in ‘civilisation’.

  • Support a sustainable tourism industry – buy groceries in local shops.
     

Common Sense Guidance – Don’t:

  • Park in areas where signs state ‘no overnight parking’ or where there is a campsite nearby.

  • Park overnight within sight of people’s houses, even in car park bays.

  • Block access tracks to estates and fields.

  • Light BBQs or fires unless it is safe to do so, and you can supervise it properly. They should be fully extinguished when finished and no evidence left behind.

  • Empty any chemical toilet waste anywhere other than at a designated chemical waste area. Most campsites have facilities for the emptying of a cassette toilet. Public toilets are not suitable places to empty chemical toilets as it upsets the sewage treatment process.

  • Light fires or BBQ's on the ground, if you want a fire or BBQ make sure you use a proper firepit or elevated BBQ which keeps the heat away from the ground. A ring of stones is not enough to prevent the spread of fire on peaty ground and fires directly on the ground (or hot BBQ's) scorch the earth which then can take years to recover.

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© 2020 by Blue Duck Campers.

Blue Duck Campers

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