20 June, 2023
Last updated on 21 June, 2023
Posted by Mike | Spaceships Crew
Forestry and Land Scotland is repeating its ‘Stay the Night’ initiative and permitting campervans and motorhomes to use 34 of its car parks across Scotland for overnight stays.
Stay the Night will run from Friday 1 April until 31 October 2023, with participating sites spread across Scotland. The 2023 season follows the successful trial of the scheme in 2020, followed by the 2 following summers in 2021 and 2022. After reviewing the positive feedback from the last year together with the experience of managing the scheme, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has decided to run the initiative again.
Views over Loch Ness from Fargaig Forest near Inverfa l Forestry and Land Scotland
This is fantastic news for motorhome visitors to Scotland, as the additional overnight parking opportunities will take some of the pressure off the popular locations. Scotland has seen a significant increase in tourism, with visitors from the UK aand overseas keen to experience its breath taking beauty.
Self-contained motorhomes and campervans (with all facilities including toilet inside the vehicle) only are allowed. This means that both the Spaceships Family and Luxury motorhomes will be able to "Stay the Night". Tents and car camping is not permitted. Stays are for one night only between the hours of 6pm and 10am, with no return visit for 48hrs.
No booking system will be in place and the participating carparks will operate on a "first come, first served" basis. There is a £7 charge to Stay the Night at all participating car parks. Payment can be made through RingGo with details of how to do this at each car park.
It's not surprising that Scotland has become such a popular destination for campervan and motorhome trips. The combination of breath taking scenery in the Highlands, islands and around the coast, together with world class food and drink and the friendliness of the people make Scotland the perfect choice for a road trip.
A Spaceships Luxury Motorhome lands in the Highlands
As well as enjoying some Scottish hospitality, it is still a wilderness where you can truly escape and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With vibrant cities, beautiful roads with spectacular views seemingly around every corner, not to mention some of the world's most beautiful beaches (yes, that's right - in Scotland!), a road trip to Scotland has something for everyone.
Respecting the environment and communities
This popularity has increased the pressure on certain areas, particularly during the busy summer season. It is a common misconception that "wild camping" is legal in Scotland. This is the case if you are camping in a tent, but it is important to remember that overnight stays in a motorised vehicle on private land are illegal in Scotland. You can stay overnight with the permission of the landowner and there are designated places and attractions where "free camping" is permitted. You can also park in a lay-by, but should not set up "camp" with an awning and outdoor tables and chairs for example. Read more about Wild Camping here.
It's also important to respect the local communities who live and work in Scotland. It's your holiday, but it's their home. This is especially true of the popular tourist routes like the NC500, where the roads can become clogged with campervan and motorhome visitors during busy periods. Read our guide to driving the NC500 here.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Dunnet Bay near Thurso
Craigvinean Forest in Perthshire overlooks the River Tay l Forestry and Land Scotland
The "Stay the Night" scheme is another way to help campervans and motorhomes find overnight parking. Stuart Chalmers, FLS’ National Visitor Services Manager, said; “Stay the Night has proved to be hugely popular with campervan and motorhome users and we have had support from communities and partners across the country.
“Motorhomes and campervans are a major part of Scotland’s tourism traffic and allowing people to stay at our carparks overnight, will help to meet the growing demand for stopping places.
“It also encourages people to stay a little longer at locations they would otherwise have passed through, which should provide a boost to many small rural businesses.”