The summer of 2020 saw unprecedented numbers of people heading into Scotland’s countryside following the lifting of the Pandemic lockdown restrictions. Unfortunately, the sheer pressure of numbers caused problems – not enough parking places or toilets, traffic-jams at popular spots, over-crowding on paths and land managers struggling to cope with the impact of so many visitors.
But it doesn’t need to be this way! Scotland has a lot of empty land and a relatively small population. There’s room for everyone, as long as we don’t all try to go to the same places! You may find hidden gems closer to your home than you think.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you find peace, quiet and relaxation. Don’t sit in a traffic-jam or erode the same paths as everyone else. Dare to be different!
When planning where to go, think beyond the ‘honeypot’ areas like Loch Lomond and the popular mountains. They will be busy, especially when the weather is good. Think instead of the ‘forgotten’ areas, such as Dumfries and Galloway or Ayrshire. Do your research, plan and be prepared to be flexible. If the first place you go to is overcrowded, be prepared to look at alternative locations in the area that you can try instead of just adding to the problem. Think of climbing Corbetts, Donalds or Grahams rather than Munros. Go out early in the morning or in the evening; go out on the days of cloud and mist. Avoid weekends and school holiday periods if you can. Consider different ways to get to where you want to go and even book an overnight stay so you can make full use of public transport.
There are more ideas from The Great Outdoors, ’11 Ways to get the mountains to yourself‘and VisitScotland has good information about areas and places to visit which are off the beaten track.
Whatever you choose to do always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
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