Best time to visit west of Scotland?

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  • Best time to visit west of Scotland?
  • rascal
    Member

    After 2 years of not getting there, me and Mrs R will get there in the van sometime in 2020. Thinking of going up via Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Skye for 4-5 days, Applecross and Torridon. Plan on a mix of wild camping and sites but without necessarily pre-booking if poss. When does the silly season kick in, and those bloody mozzies? May a good shout? Guessing June, July and Aug will be bonkers busy. I know some will say don’t do Skye, but having never been we are def going there. Any tips if done similar in a LWB van? Cheers

    Houns
    Member

    Winter… The snow makes the place look even more beautiful

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    The mosquitos are scared to come here! The young midge team have seen to that! 😆

    May/June most likely if you want to avoid them.

    May or June is the best chance of decent weather but low midge count.

    mrb123
    Member

    May had always been peak Munro season for me. Usually decent weather but pre midge activity.

    tjagain
    Member

    Mid may is good for many reasons – long days, usually clear and sunny. No midges. Kids still at school. Verdant greenery
    ( we go away for the first camping tip of the year every year in second weekend in may. We have had one weekend rained out in 12 years) The only disadvantage is cold nights. Further into June can be good as well but the midges start to appear and its often wetter.

    My other advice is to not try to do too much or you spend all your time driving. Pick one or two places and stay there a few nights. don’t drive every day. Avoid the NW 500 route as much as possible

    stevemuzzy
    Member

    May but you cant wild camp at Loch Lomond then, but plenty of sites. We usually get amazing weather in May, seen over 20 degrees last couple of years.

    Hammock camped, 1season bag with no tarp in may!!

    redmex
    Member

    Winter time in Scotland I’d give it a miss, too cold ,rainy,skitey roads, short days. March to June would be my choice and if your lucky you may get 9° in the sea, might give May a miss as so many folk on here will be there

    CraigW
    Member

    Parking a van is not wild camping. There’s already too many idiots parking vans in stupid places, and making a mess, and pissing off everyone else.

    rascal
    Member

    Craig – care to elaborate?
    I’d like to think of myself as considerate and responsible…what are these ‘idiots’ doing that’s pissing everyone off?

    benv
    Member

    May & June are the best months for weather and avoiding the beasties. April & September can be good weather wise as well but not as consistent.

    scotroutes
    Member

    May/June will regularly come up but it depends on your plans/activities.  These tend to be the driest months, though it can still be chilly in May if the sun isn’t playing. If you are lucky, some of the higher tops will still have snow – which makes everything look more grand. Long days are super but do mean that sunsets are late/sunrises are very early. If these fascinate you then be prepared for some afternoon naps 🙂

    Roads and parking spots will already be busy. For less stress I just prefer booking into sites. There’s a lovely new site in Broadford I can heartily recommend. (FWIW, I tend to agree with the “wild camping” sentiment above)

    Skye was mentally busy (again) this year. It’s still possible to escape the hordes if you are prepared to walk a couple of km though – that’s further than most of the tourists get from their car/bus.

    Houns has a point regarding winter. If you are happy in your own (or each others) company then settling in for a long night reading/drinking/shagging can be very therapeutic after a cold day out when the scenery is even more amazing. However, lots of places are shut and there’s always the danger of bad road conditions.

    scotroutes
    Member

    I’d like to think of myself as considerate and responsible…what are these ‘idiots’ doing that’s pissing everyone off?

    Mostly, it’s the obvious things like lighting fires, leaving rubbish and shit everywhere, then there’s damage to verges, obstructing gates etc. TBH, some folk are just fed up of seeing folk arriving in vans, driving through the area, and not contributing at all to the local economy – and I don’t blame them.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    “It’s wild camping if you forget something and it’s too far to walk back to the car/van.”

    End April/May and early June. As above peak Munro walking season for me, or was — every weekend in May, off to Kintail, Cannich and the like.

    trail_rat
    Member

    We go in Easter holidays.

    We have literally skied on the Cairngorms on the way -boat out to Lewis the following say drive to Harris and swam in the sea in the splitting sun.

    Only wet day we had that Easter was the day we rode the postie’s path

    irc
    Member

    If you can go at short notice to use a spell of good weather then any time after the clocks go forward in spring. The earlier the better. Less traffic and more scenic in March – April with snow on the tops.

    If you have to go for a week planned ahead then mid May to early June for best chance of good weather, low midge count and fewer tourists than July-Sept.

    tjagain
    Member

    Second weekend in May
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/25hsQ7R]DSC_0887[/url] by TandemJeremy, on Flickr

    tjagain
    Member

    Access guidence adn links
    https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/act-and-access-code

    One critical thing for me ( and this is an area of some dispute ) is that if there is a campsite nearby use it Its mentioned in some of the guidence but is not made a big point of.

    “wild camping” in campers is becoming a real issue in some area – in others it remains perfectly OK. Personally I would like to see campervans and roadside camping taken out of the access rights but given previous discussions on here its hard to define how this could be done

    Premier Icon downshep
    Subscriber

    Usually go a cycling or walking trip late May. Have had heatwaves, cool clear days, teeming rain, north winds, snow and frost, so go prepared. No midges and less tourists though!

    CraigW
    Member

    The access rights do not apply to motorised vehicles. There is no right to park at the side of the road.

    tjagain
    Member

    Aye I know that Craig – but its accepted and tolerated as a part of the tradition of access just not in the land reform act. I was trying to avoid complicating it. You do have a right under common law to do this ie everything is allowed unless forbidden specifically

    malgrey
    Member

    Best time to visit west of Scotland? Probably the early eighties, as the roads had improved enough to get there quickly, yet not many people had “found it”!

    Otherwise, agree that May is as good a time as any. I used to say May or June, but the midges have infested the latter more and more over the years.

    scruff9252
    Member

    I’m in Scotland, have a campervan and enjoy “wild” camping in the winter the best. Nothing better than a day on the hill, getting back putting the heating on, slippers on and making a hot chocolate bloody marvellous.

    Even as a campervan owner myself, there are far too many folk absolutely taking the piss. Wild camping, be it by tent, bivvy or by campervan should still abide by same rules – arrive late, leave early & leave no trace of being there.

    However I made the mistake of joining a couple of facebook Campervan wildcamping groups. What a bunch of entitled, destructive selfish pricks. “Of course I can park in this passing place, cause traffic mayhem, shit in the hedge and set a fire – I paid so much for my campervan I should be able to park it wherever I want too”. Or the other “so what if I take up 4 parking bays?!”

    I was in Skye this summer, late July. Not in the camper this time but got chatting to a local on the beach. They have a locals facebook/whatsapp group set up to warn others of pricks driving about. She was bemoning a convoy of 8 motorhomes/campervans currently on the island causing mayhem on the single track roads and group “wild camping”.

    Idiots really are ruining it for all.

    trail_rat
    Member

    There is no right to park at the side of the road.

    Unless it’s specifically prohibited by a bylaw then unfortunantly there’s nothing stopping then either….and that’s part of the issue.

    Too many folk with seosamh attitudes unable to apply rule 1 and thus ruining it for those who are able.

    Ban camper vans without toilets would be my number 1. There’s nothing worse than the amount of half burried shit dug up by wildlife or just poorly buried around the majority of popular stopping spots. It’s **** disgusting…..

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    +1 for May or early June. Thinking of going that time myself next year.

    And as a more “normal” tourist, I also get vaguely annoyed by people in motorhomes setting up camp in car parks in popular areas (where there’s limited parking anyway).

    Wasn’t sure why it bothered me, but I suppose it’s the sense of entitlement you mention scruff.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Yep folk doing that also boil my piss occupying that spot for days like it’s somesort of free holiday camp.

    Arrive late leave early(or at least pack up your shit) leave no trace.

    Problem being that some areas competitions so tight for spots that people are arriving earlier and earlier in the day to bag top spots….. It’s about as much fun as shitting in your hands and clapping that game.

    It’s just somewhere to sleep for me. If it looks nice thats a bonus.

    paul0
    Member

    Best time to visit west of Scotland? Probably the early eighties, as the roads had improved enough to get there quickly, yet not many people had “found it”!

    Even 5 or 10 years ago it was significantly quieter than now, especially in the far north. The NC500 has a lot to answer for..

    philjunior
    Member

    May. And definitely do go and visit Skye! It’s beautiful.

    Please note that most residents aren’t nimbys with the special “prove you’re spending all your money here” attitude. I’m sure very few people drive past and don’t actually stop anywhere for a bite to eat or fuel…

    Marin
    Member

    February in Torridon is super sunny and warm judging by my last two visits for winter fun. T shirt and sunglasses.

    rascal
    Member

    To be honest I had no idea the van thing was such an issue – still quite new to this van lark. We went to Dumfries and Galloway in April (not had van that long then) and stayed for 6 nights – one in Kirroughtree car park…wrongly as it turned out as the guy in the bike shop said it was ok though the ranger said next morning we shouldn’t have, but was ok about it. We had the place to ourselves but had access to toilets. The other ‘wild’ night was at Glencaple which is a recognised motorhome spot with toilets. The other nights were in campsites.

    I love the idea of pitching the van up at a nice location but even I know you shouldn’t do it within sight of a house etc. Squeezing in with a load of twunts like mentioned doesn’t really appeal. Where are these hot spots and can I realistically do what I’d like to away from everyone else without pissing people off? I hope so. Happy to use campsites too but want a degree of make-it-up-as-we-go-along which also really appeals…

    tjagain
    Member

    Personally I would use campsites unless there is not one anywhere near. If not using a campsite then make sure the camper is right off the road not in a passing place, make sure its somewhere where you leave no tyre tracks. Use the onboard toilet do not shit near where you are parked. Don’t block field entries.

    I have used camper vans a god few times in the highlands. I think every night was spent on campsites.
    ~Edit – actually one night on a deserted foreshore near achiltibue – that was more than a decade ago. Last time I went past that spot half a dozen vans were parked there

    Waderider
    Member

    There is a real problem now with fly vehicle camping where I live near Fort William. The numbers are now unmanageable, and it often affects my work in forestry.

    Please use camp sites!

    April – beat the rush.

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