Scotland’s pure magnificence, fascinating historical past and full of life cities make it a well-liked journey vacation spot. The draw back? Overtourism at common sights is rife, threatening the well-being of each native communities and the surroundings.
The excellent news is it’s attainable to take pleasure in Scotland and nonetheless have a constructive impression as a customer. The reply is accountable tourism and sustainable journey in Scotland.
So, from actions to lodging, we’ve compiled a fast information to sustainable journey in Scotland that will help you plan a accountable journey.
The best way to get round Scotland sustainably
Listed here are some high ideas that will help you be a sustainable traveller in Scotland:
Use public transport
Most of Scotland’s foremost sights are fairly nicely linked by public transport. The practice line is served by ScotRail which might take you as far north as Thurso, all the way in which right down to the Scottish Borders and in all places in between.
Prepare journey in Scotland is an actual pleasure to expertise because the nation is residence to among the most stunning rail journeys on this planet. One among which is the West Highland Line which travels from Glasgow to the West Coast both at Mallaig or right down to Oban.
You’re handled to epic surroundings in your journey, with highlights equivalent to Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and Glenfinnan Viaduct to look out for.
It’s additionally attainable to journey round Scotland by bus and coach. Megabus can take you to most main cities and cities. CityLink Scotland is one other common alternative.
When you’ve got plans to discover the Scottish isles there’s no have to guide flights. They’re simple and inexpensive to achieve with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.
Discover by bike
Get some train and contemporary air with Scotland’s Nationwide Cycle Community. There are some stunning routes all around the nation.
How about seaside hopping via the Outer Hebrides island chain? Or why not cycle from Edinburgh metropolis centre to Shore in Leith?
You’ll be able to, in fact, rent push bikes however when you want a bit of extra kick, an electrical bike could make all of the distinction on these hills.
Associated learn: A number of the Greatest UK Cycle Routes
Drive an electrical car
If you happen to want to have your individual automotive or campervan, attempt to rent an electrical or hybrid car the place attainable – significantly when you’re doing a street journey.
They emit fewer greenhouse fuel emissions and air pollution into the environment so by going electrical you’re serving to to maintain Scotland’s surroundings clear.
Use ChargePlace Scotland to search out electrical charging factors in your route.
How to decide on eco-friendly lodging in Scotland
Take these steps to search out sustainable locations to remain in Scotland:
Search for eco credentials
Lodges which can be severe about their environmental impression will spotlight their eco credentials on their web site.
To assist inform your alternative, look out for third-party accreditations from Inexperienced Key, EcoLabel, Inexperienced Tourism and Tourism Declares to call a couple of.
Search on resort reserving websites
It’s by no means been simpler to search out sustainable lodges on common reserving platforms equivalent to Reserving.com. Search for the ‘Journey Sustainably’ tag.
Nonetheless, when you’re not too satisfied, lodging reserving platforms devoted solely to sustainability are right here to assist. Take a look at EcoHotels.com which solely lists licensed inexperienced lodges.
Ecobnb is one other glorious alternative because it provides a variety of lodging sorts that adhere to strict sustainability standards.
Go boutique and family-owned
By no means thoughts the large chain lodges, probably the greatest methods to benefit from the native tradition and be extra sustainable is to remain in unbiased B&Bs.
The place else are you going to search out distinctive lodging, get native data, and assist small companies all with a mouthwatering breakfast to match?
Associated learn: A Information to Renting a Vacation Dwelling
Some completely unbelievable lodges, B&Bs and lodges embody:
Sustainable journey in Scotland: Issues to do
From wildlife recognizing to rewilding, listed below are some sustainable actions to do in Scotland:
Go off the overwhelmed monitor
Keep away from crowded hotspots by going off the overwhelmed monitor in your journey to Scotland.
For instance, as an alternative of constructing a beeline for the Isle of Skye, go to among the lesser-known islands on the West Coast as an alternative. Skye belongs to the Interior Hebrides group, of which there are 35 inhabited islands!
Glen Coe is one other vacation spot that’s significantly vulnerable to crowds. This picturesque glen is a hotspot for visitors, drones and litter. For cleaner and extra ‘undisturbed’ magnificence, why not head to Glen Affric or Glen Lyon as an alternative?
If you happen to do need to swing by Skye and Glen Coe, go to within the shoulder or low season when there are fewer crowds. Typically, October via to April is far quieter whereas July and August are the busiest months.
Do a small group or self-guided tour
Take the stress out of your itinerary by doing a tour with a accountable operator. If you wish to guarantee your impression is constructive however nonetheless have flexibility, Byway Journey does bespoke no-fly itineraries.
With Byway, you’ll be able to simply create a personalised self-guided itinerary that takes you thru the Scottish Highlands and islands.
Solo travellers may want small group excursions led by native guides that make it easier to join with the native tradition and surroundings.
An amazing instance is Intrepid Journey. It has a number of multi-day itineraries which give attention to mountaineering holidays, island-hopping or exploring the very best of Scotland in simply over every week.
Byway and Intrepid Journey are B Company licensed which suggests they meet excessive social and environmental requirements.
Associated learn: Street Journey By means of the Scottish Highlands
Scotland is famend for its pure magnificence, however in truth, its panorama is closely nature-depleted. The Scottish Highlands alone have been as soon as residence to the Caledonian Forest which coated an unlimited space of land. Now simply 1% of it stays.
One of the vital impactful methods to be a sustainable traveller in Scotland is to study Scottish rewilding and conservation.
SCOTLAND: The Huge Image is a rewilding charity that runs rewilding schooling journeys within the Cairngorms Nationwide park.
It provides a jam-packed itinerary that includes guided nature walks via Glen Feshie, and nature-friendly farms, and hosts discussions on biodiversity and wildlife reintroduction.
These excursions are good for nature lovers and wildlife fans who need to get a deeper understanding of Scotland’s pure surroundings.
Do a tree-planting weekend
One other method you’ll be able to have a constructive impression on Scotland is to assist restore its depleted forests by planting timber or supporting tree-planting initiatives.
Timber for Life is on a mission to rewild the Scottish Highlands. You’ll be able to go to quite a lot of websites the charity works on and benefit from the pure environment.
One other strategy to become involved is to volunteer at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre (opening in 2023), the place you’ll be able to assist are likely to younger timber within the nursery and be a part of rewilding initiatives. You can too go to the centre and study extra about rewilding.
Go mountaineering within the Highlands and Lowlands
Scotland advantages from a ‘proper to roam’ regulation which suggests the general public is allowed to entry most land and inland water for non-motorised leisure makes use of – so long as they’re accountable.
So, what higher strategy to profit from this entry than by mountaineering?
There’s no finish to stunning mountaineering trails all around the Scottish countryside. A number of the finest one-day strolling trails in Scotland embody:
- Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
- Conic Hill, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
- Rackwick to the Outdated Man of Hoy, Orkney
- Ben Nevis, Fort William
Multi-day hikes in Scotland embody:
- West Highland Approach
- Nice Glen Approach
- Borders Abbeys Approach
- The Speyside Approach
- Berwickshire Coastal Path
Be a sustainable hiker in Scotland by making certain that you simply go away no hint. Stick with the trail, take all garbage residence with you and go away the whole lot as you discovered it.
Keep protected on the market too. Pack the suitable gear and control the climate forecast.
Associated learn: The Greatest Sun shades for Mountaineering & Outside Actions
Cycle round Skye and different islands
Whereas Skye suffers from an overtourism downside, it’s attainable to discover the island with a lighter footprint.
To start out with, swap the automotive for a motorcycle. Subsequent, go to on the shoulder or low season to scale back the quantity of congestion on the roads.
Most of the island’s sights will be discovered on the Trotternish Loop, a well-liked mini-road journey across the Trotternish peninsula. A cleaner and greener method is to cycle it as an alternative.
Skye EBikes means that you can lease e-bikes at an inexpensive charge and comply with the well-marked loop to sights such because the Quiraing, Outdated Man of Storr, Fairy Glen, Kilt Rock and extra.
Biking is a mode of transport you should utilize all through the Scottish isles fairly than driving.
You’ll be able to rent e-bikes on the Isle of Mull or convey your individual bike and cycle among the epic lengthy and brief routes throughout Orkney, Shetland, Outer Hebrides and extra!
Go wildlife recognizing
One among our favorite locations to go wildlife recognizing in Scotland is within the Treshnish Isles, an archipelago of small islands and skerries off the coast of Mull.
Birds and marine life are in abundance right here and you may meet them of their pure habitat on an moral boat journey.
Staffa Excursions runs boat excursions departing from Tobermory and Fionnphort on Mull in addition to Oban and Ardnamurchan on the mainland.
Its numerous routes take you to Iona (the birthplace of Celtic Christianity) and Staffa, an island inhabited by puffins from April to August.
Look out for minke whales, dolphins, gray seals, cormorants, gannets, guillemots and extra. You may even see basking sharks when you’re fortunate!
At all times be certain that to maintain a respectful distance from any wildlife you encounter. Don’t attempt to contact, stroke or feed them both.
Help small and sustainable companies
A straightforward strategy to advocate for sustainable tourism in Scotland is to assist native companies.
Purchasing small helps to maintain cash in native communities. You additionally get a deeper understanding of the native individuals and tradition. It’s a win-win!
Take it a step additional by supporting companies that make an effort to be greener too. For instance, Dawyck Botanic Backyard in Peebles is the UK’s first carbon-neutral botanic backyard.
Inverary Citadel, owned by Argyll Estates is a Inexperienced Tourism Silver award-winner because of its biomass heating system, biodiverse grounds, waste minimisation and native store.
If you happen to take pleasure in a tipple, Eden Mill Distillery in St Andrew’s is Scotland’s first carbon-neutral distillery. Pop into the store to get a bottle of gin or Scotch whisky.
For excursions and tastings, head to Nc’Nean, an natural distillery and licensed B Company on the Morven peninsula.
Remaining ideas on sustainable journey in Scotland
We hope you discovered the following tips helpful in planning your individual eco escape in Scotland.
Whereas its environmental well being is much from good, it’s nonetheless one of many ‘greenest’ nations on this planet.
Nice biking and public transport routes supply accessible options to vehicles. Plus there are many eco-friendly actions and locations to remain.
In the end, travelling sustainably in Scotland is about discovering a stability, whether or not that’s mitigating your individual footprint, supporting inexperienced companies or avoiding overtourism hotspots.