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Important Motorhome & Campervan Advice

Motorhomes & Campervans

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. Whether you are travelling in your own motorhome or campervan, or hiring one for your visit, 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 our handy Interactive Map for details of Motorhome and Campervan sites around the route.

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

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 toilet facilities (such as a Porta-potti) and waste water tanks.
  • 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 (see below for more details). Public toilets are not suitable places to empty chemical toilets as it upsets the sewage treatment process.

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.

If you are hiring a campervan or motorhome, make sure the hire company show you how to empty and maintain any on board toilet facilities.

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), some charge a small fee:

More useful information and advice can be found on the Campervan & Motorhome Professional Association (CaMPA) website, and from your campervan or motorhome hire company.

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