Have you considered combining wild camping with your next sea kayaking adventure?
Wild camping might divorce you from a few home comforts (toilets, running water) but it also gives you a chance to experience nature in its truest form. If you’ve just got the taste for sea kayaking and fancy testing your skills over a longer distance then you should think about taking part in a long distance tour supported with some wild camping.
As you may or may not know there are legal provisions in Scotland that permit residents and visitors alike to ‘wild camp’ on almost any form of ‘enclosed land’ in the great outdoors. Understandably, this does come with a handful of caveats and rules that are worth looking over before you decide to head out on your first camping.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003 was put in place to ensure that all people have statutory access to Scotland’s great outdoors, this access is granted as long as those people do so responsibly whilst caring for the environment and keeping in mind others’ privacy and livelihoods. If you want to get the complete low down on this law then it’s best to head to the official website for Scottish Access Code – but we’ve boiled down the basics so that you can get a head-start before planning your routes.
The Scottish Outdoor Access code can be split up into three key principles:
Respect other people
This goes beyond simply being polite to others, whenever you’re exercising your right to access it’s important that you do so whilst respecting the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living, working or enjoying the land.
The Land Reform Act gives you the freedom to walk across pretty much any enclosed lands in Scotland, but you need to ensure that you are not disturbing livestock, trampling on produce or otherwise damaging someone’s livelihood. Likewise, managers of land are required to respect visitors’ use of the land.
Look out for the environment
The most important tenet to remember when enjoying the land in Scotland is to leave it as you found it. That means making sure that you leave no trace of your time spent on the land.
A few holes in the ground from your tent pegs are acceptable, but any meals should be cooked on a burner and wood should never be chopped from trees to create a fire. The environment is easily contaminated so you should also be sure not to bring any invasive plants onto the land with you. Getting rid of Japanese knotweed is hard enough to from a back garden, let alone the great outdoors!
Consider your personal responsibility
Whenever you venture into the great outdoors it’s important that you consider your personal responsibility. Any adventure, whether it’s a simple hike or a 5-day sea kayak expedition, comes with its own unique set of risks.
It is impossible to eradicate all risks from a trip regardless of how many assessments you take – the best way to stay safe is to remain constantly vigilant and keep in mind your own safety, as well as the safety of others.