If you are out an about on Islay and like to camp in the wild keep in mind the following:
Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, wild camping is permitted provided it is short term (ie 2-3 nights) and only involves few people. Please also bear in mind the following advice when camping in the wild: Be considerate and remember people have to make a living from the land. Stay away from houses and farms, unless you have asked for permission first, and don't camp on agricultural fields. Although lighting an open fire is not illegal, it's better to avoid open fires all together due to a high fire risk on peaty soils. Don't ever disturb wildlife, better find an alternative location. Always bag up your rubbish and take it with you when you leave.
Unfortunately Midges found the Isle of Islay as well. Although the numbers are nothing compared to some other parts of Scotland they can still be a pest when the conditions are right. Midges are active from May to September and the females have a nasty habit of stinging. More information and some good tips on how to avoid them can be found on the Islay Weblog: Midges on Islay - Tips and Information
Parking your motorhome or campervan:
The Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle onto private land without lawful authority. No offence is committed, however, where a person drives within 15 yards of a public road for the purpose of parking. However, this does not imply that a person has a right to do so.
Pitching up at the side of a public road is not considered wild camping, however remote the route. Better to use an official campsite with sanitation facilities if there is one available in the area. If you have to camp by the road, avoid overused sites, take particular care with toilet hygiene, pitch late and leave early.
There are two official campsites on the Isle of Islay, the details of which can be found below. An unofficial but very lovely place to park a campervan or motorhome is at the head of Loch Indaal on the north side between Bridgend and Bruichladdich. Remember that there are no facilities here.
Whatever you do, camping wild or parking your motorhome or campervan on the side of the road, always use your common sense and respect the flora and fauna of Islay and its landowners who have to make a living from the land. Keep in mind the following slogan and you're allright:
Take Nothing but Pictures - Leave Nothing but Footprints - Kill Nothing but Time
Name: Kintra Farm
Location: Kintra - 3 miles from Port Ellen
Details: Basic camping and caravanning pitches are available from May to September among the shelter of the dunes beside the sea and surf. Terrain is grassy, sandy, free draining and entirely natural. You're pretty much free to pitch where you like.
Facilities: Three water stand pipes, a converted farm steading to house toilets, wash-hand basins and showers with hot and cold water, and a unisex disabled toilet. No electrical hook-up points available.
Name: Port Mor Centre and Campsite
Location: Port Charlotte
Details: The campsite at Port Mòr is available from beginning of March till the end of November, campsite welcomes Tents, Caravans and Camper Vans, we also allow awnings but the space provided for them is limited. The centre itself has a wide range of facilities for campers such as toilets (including disabled toilets/showers), showers, laundry and a bistro. As a free wireless network is in place, you can access the Internet from anywhere inside the Port Mòr Centre and, weather permitting, even from outside. Ten electrical hook-ups are available at £3 per night. Currently there is no water down at hook ups but a stand pipe will be installed hopefully this summer. The charge for using the campsite is £8.00 per person per night or £4.00 for children up to 12 years old. Children up to 5yrs old free. Payment is by cheque or cash only. The campsite is also dog friendly at no extra charge.
image campervan courtesy of scotmemories