Best for walkers
Tucked spectacularly into one of Scotland’s famous glens, Glencoe, this campsite boasts vertiginous mountains on all sides. There are dozens of walks to choose from, with trails to suit all levels as well as world-class technical climbing. More sedentary souls can enjoy the mountains rearing up in front of the site.
If you fancy tackling Scotland’s well-known long distance trail the West Highland Way, or even just taking on a section of it, then Beinglas is an ideal base. The trail skirts right past the campsite and you can stock up on hiking supplies here as well as meet fellow walkers.
Best for something different
If you want to avoid the risk of running into families on your camping getaway, head just north of Loch Ness to Scotland’s adult-only site. Here you can pick a pitch on heather-covered ground surrounded by forest, and enjoy a sundowner on a picnic table handily provided at every site.
For quirky cool, Lazy Duck is the place. The moniker emanates from the resident Aylesbury ducks, so lazy they can’t be bothered to hatch their own eggs. Humans tend to feel similarly relaxed here with hammocks in the heather, a Tarzan swing, sauna, and outdoor ‘bush shower’, which hints more of Africa than the Highlands.
Best for adventure sports
Near the banks of Scotland’s largest river, the mighty Tay, in Perthshire, this site is run by the Scottish Canoe Association and is perfect for those wanting to seek out the thrills of a river kayak ride, go whitewater rafting or enjoy a whole host of other watery excitement, with local specialist companies on hand to organise it all for you.
From this site, venture into the nearby Cairngorms where numerous high-level walks await – but beware, as these are serious mountains, not just weekend hills. There is mountain biking on the forest trails and mountain slopes, as well as kakaying and sailing on Loch Morlich.
» Phone 01479 812800
Best for beaches
Some of the finest sunsets in Europe can be viewed from the beach here. Enjoy the fiery oranges and reds as they melt over the Small Isles and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean, and feel as though you’re at the end of the world. You pretty much are.
Sands Holiday Centre
One of the larger and more commercial camps in the Highlands just north of Gairloch, but as the name suggests it offers beach galore where you can enjoy a second childhood among dunes and Atlantic surf, with gorgeous views out to the isles.
Best for views
With epic views across the Isle of Skye, the sunsets here are spectacular. If you are tight on cash you can camp free of charge right by the beach. Don’t miss a pint and a seafood feast at legendary Applecross Inn.
The family who own Badrallach, the Stotts, proclaim their paradise is “a truly timeless place”. The sea loch and mountain views are sublime – unchanged for centuries since the days when the clans roamed the glens. It does take a bit of effort rumbling down a rough track to get here, but it is more than worth it.
» Cool Camping Scotland is in bookshops across the UK now. It can also be bought at a reduced rate through robinmckelvie.com.