Fraser Smith lives in Dunoon and spends most of his free time enjoying the great outdoors exploring the hills, lochs and shoreline of Cowal. He’s been known to make a summit and return in time for work at 9am. He writes about it all in his blog www.explorecowal.com. In his posts he’ll share his knowledge about cycling, walking, kayaking and wild camping in Cowal.Wild camping is great way to experience the beauty of Cowal. This is self-catering accommodation where you get choose the view! Your campsite can be as close to or as far from civilisation as you like.
How you get there is another choice – walk, cycle or kayak. From the summits to the shores the possibilities are endless. And with all these options you’ll find that no night away from home will be the same.
I travel quite a bit in the area and I'm always looking for new wild camping sites to spend the night. A reccy trip is always advantageous as it gives you the chance to check on resources such as water and fuel for a small fire.
One of the campsites I've enjoyed is Kilbride Hill, which overlooks the Firth of Clyde and gives fantastic night-scape panoramas and sunrise. The summit is reached within an hour’s walk from Kilbride car park, mostly on hardcore path until the final section onto the open hillside.
Another favourite wild camping night was on a kayak trip to Loch Eck. This is a stunning place at any time of year. The advantage of using the kayak is it allows easy access to the beaches that dot the length of the loch, not forgetting the kayak is taking the strain of carrying the camping gear!
Alternatively loading up the panniers on the mountain bike and taking to the forestry roads to find a campsite is a great way to get about. Again, let the transport take the strain. Glenfyne near Toward is a good spot to access with a bike. Set up for the night among the natural woodland. This spot is ideal for ground dwelling or using a hammock and tarpaulin as accommodation.
There's something special about wild camping and sitting by your fire in a remote location. Whether you’re looking down on a street-lit town from a summit, listening to the waves of the loch gently breaking on the shores that you’re camping on or just enjoying the sheer nothingness that surrounds you, it’s bound to be an adventure.
But remember: 'Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.’
You can go wild camping in Scotland and enjoy a night under the stars but be sure you follow the guidelines laid out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.