#TopTips Backpacking Scotland


If you’ve read our other blogs you will know that we are some of Scotland’s biggest fans. We LOVE SCOTLAND! We adventure here (vertically and horizontally). We spend our time canyoning, coasteering, paddle boarding, mountain biking and trekking here. We live, work, eat, sleep and sometimes we write all about it!

We have shared our thoughts on planning hen and stag parties, our ​absolute musts for a visit to Edinburgh, ​wild swimming spots, ​attractions and the best ​scenery in Scotland. Now the weather is improving we are donning our backpacks for a spot of hiking and travelling around Scotland.

In order to write something useful, we started thinking back to when we were first-time visitors to the incredible locations that Scotland has to offer, and what we wished we knew about this beautiful land back then.

With that in mind, here is our backpackers guide to Scotland


First up… In Scotland, we like to talk about the weather! A lot! Moderate and changeable​ is the official view of weather forecasters. Before you come, it is important to know that you can absolutely experience all four seasons in a day here, each one coming rather unexpectedly. On top of that, a 20-30 minute drive could see the weather being COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from your starting point. We’ve had snow in May (that’s supposed to be nearly summer) and glorious days of sun in mid-winter. Therefore pack a jacket, no matter what time of year you are coming to visit, and take it everywhere! 🙂


In Scotland we have seasons! But you’ll hear the term “Scottish Summer​” ​being said with some degree of irony. Sun is not nessisarily a given but is welcome and glorious when it arrives. ​Choosing your season to visit depends on what you like to do.

Winter​ – it’s going to be cold and there is a good chance of snow, especially if you are heading into the mountains. Again, as long as you are suitably attired you can have all the fun. In the cities the pub fires will be roaring and cosy. There’s Christmas markets and superb new year (Hogmanay) parties to enjoy too!


Spring​ – The snow and ice starts to fade, the skies become bluer, the trees burst into life with blossom, daffodils come out and lambs bound about in the fields. It’s quieter in the cities and accommodation is more readily available and it’s a bit cheaper. I personally think April and May is the best time to visit Scotland!


Summer ​- Our busiest time, so if you fancy an adventure…book in early (shameless plug). There’s also festivals from cultural offerings through to food through to big music festivals – with Edinburgh’s festival being the busiest. You can enjoy great camping and outdoor times as the weather can be rather clement and loads of walking, beaches and wild swimming locations to choose from. There’s plenty of fishing and wildlife to see. The golf is good. Outdoor life is EXCELLENT!


One thing to look out for is the Midges pronounced Mi-Jee. These are Scotland’s equivalent to mosquitos (without the disease) although they do suck. From June to September you may notice them if your taking a trip to the Highlands. If it is windy or very sunny you will be in luck and they won’t be out biting. If it is cloudy or you are going about in the shade, grab yourself some insect repellant!


Autumn​
– beautiful colours, wildlife getting ready for the winter and the most stunning of scenery. Again it is getting quieter after the summer and prices are coming down. This can also be a great time to visit north of the wall especially if you are an off the beaten track kind of adventure.

Getting around!?

In Scotland, we have great public transport! But you do need to keep in mind that some places are VERY REMOTE! It may very well take planes, trains, boats, and automobiles to get yourselves to some of Scotlands best-kept secrets. In our remote places, you might not even have a phone signal. If you want to visit some of the more remote, we encourage you to take the time to really plan your trip.

We drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most cars are manual. If you don’t fancy driving, you could check out some of the tour companies that will show you the best sites. If that’s not for you, the train network is good and there are internal flights, coaches and buses which are well networked and can get you to most places. Scotland has a lot of smaller airports on some of the Islands but for some of the smaller islands, you will need to get a ferry.

It is significantly cheaper to book things well in advance and so planning your route and getting tickets will pay off if you are on a budget. You can buy everything online. Obviously, there is uber in the cities, along with buses, trams, and subways depending on where you are. The remote areas are local bus or taxi only and they are not abundant. Walking and cycling are options too.

Money?

What money do we use? How much do things cost?
We use pounds sterling like the rest of the UK. It is this sign ​£. ​Scottish money looks different from English money and sometimes “down south” they try not to accept it. The standard response from a Scot is “it’s legal tender”.


How much things cost depends on where you are – a pint of beer (we use pints not litres for beer) may cost you over £5 in Edinburgh for a nice beer. But outside of Edinburgh iut is generally cheaper. And much cheaper than some parts of England (especially London)

What do we eat and drink… Haggis is NOT A REAL CREATURE!

Some top things to try are:

1) Deep-fried items from a chippy. This could be a deep-fried pie, pizza, mars bar haggis, battered sausage or you could just go traditional fish and chips. 2) Full Scottish breakfast – you can get vege and vegan options or go the full meat experience with haggis, black pudding, sausage, lorne sausage (square sausage), bacon, eggs, tattie scone, eggs, fried tomato, beans.
3) Irn Bru – an orange fizzy drink that comes in cans or in bottles
4) Malt Whisky – Scotland has over 120 whiskey distilleries and 5 whiskey regions: ​Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside. There are ​are plenty of good malts to try…
5) Tablet – like fudge but with more sugar.
6) Some best in kind foods: Scottish Salmon, Aberdeen Angus Steak, Arbroath Smokies, smoked haddock, Stornoway black pudding.
7) Haggis, neeps and tatties – translates as haggis, mashed potatoes and turnip. Haggis is a mix of ​Sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, and stomach (or sausage casing); onion, oatmeal, suet, spices. It is tasty!! Vege versions are also available.
8) Our seafood is great, we do a cracking burger, we make some great beers and gin and tasty desserts. Also we are the home of porridge.


Whatever your adventure Scotland has the food to fuel you!


Now, that’s probably enough to get started.. our top places to visit we already covered here. Our fave adventures are here. Stay tuned for some of our top camping tips at another blog near you.

Intrepidus Outdoors |

Outdoor and Adventurous Activities Edinburgh


Intrepidus Outdoors is an adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and mountaineering, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland and the North of England. The experiences that we provide take clients into some of the most exquisite, incredible and extreme environments the UK has to offer.


Our values as a adventure tourism provider and a business

Our values reflect those of a business started by a small group of rock climbers and mountain bikers. The experiences that we have had adventuring, and our passion for the outdoors, has led us to choose a lifestyle dedicated to sharing our love for the outdoors with others. The approach that we take to the experiences that we provide, and the business that we run, is that of sustainability, and an unapologetic quest for quality.

For us at Intrepidus Outdoors, we recognise that our experiences kayaking in clean rivers, surfing on unpolluted beaches and climbing frozen waterfalls have contributed to who we are as people. Therefore, protecting the planet so that the next generation of adventurers can have their own experiences, is hugely important for us. We believe that for people, communities and businesses to make the choice to minimise their impact on our planet, they must first value the planet that we have. We feel that the best way for people to value our blue planet, is to have first hand quality experiences in nature. They can then see the beauty of a forest, feel the power of an ocean and learn to love what is outside our towns and cities, so that they then fight to protect them. We strive to through the products that we deliver make a small difference to peoples understanding of the impact that they have on our world.

Our experiences adventuring have made us who we are and Intrepidus Outdoors is a reflection of us. We provide real adventurous experience that we hope you will cherish.


Outdoor Activities Edinburgh

There are a many outdoor and adventurous experiences to be had in Edinburgh. If you are a thrill seeker visiting Edinburgh and interested in a canyoning, coasteering or mountain biking adventure in Scotland, Get In Touch!


Check out our Trip Advisor, Youtube channel and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventure with Intrepidus outdoors and to see what we do!

Location


2 Commercial Street
Floor 2
Edinburgh
EH6 6LF

Contact


Phone: 0131 357 1990
Email: info@intrepidusoutdoors.co.uk

Opening hours


Mon - Fri
9:00 to 17:00
Sat & Sun
9:00 to 15:00

Activity hours


Mon to Fri
8:00 to 18:30
Sat & Sun
8.30 to 19.30