Scotland’s pure magnificence, fascinating historical past and vigorous cities make it a well-liked journey vacation spot. The draw back? Overtourism at standard 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 influence 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 can assist you plan a accountable journey.
The way to get round Scotland sustainably
Listed below are some high ideas that can assist you be a sustainable traveller in Scotland:
Use public transport
Most of Scotland’s predominant sights are fairly nicely related by public transport. The prepare 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 all over the place in between.
Prepare journey in Scotland is an actual pleasure to expertise because the nation is residence to a few of the most lovely rail journeys on the planet. Considered one of 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 akin 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 standard selection.
You probably have plans to discover the Scottish isles there’s no have to e book flights. They’re simple and reasonably priced to achieve with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.
Discover by bike
Get some train and recent air with Scotland’s Nationwide Cycle Community. There are some lovely routes everywhere in the nation.
How about seashore hopping by means of the Outer Hebrides island chain? Or why not cycle from Edinburgh metropolis centre to Shore in Leith?
You possibly can, after all, rent push bikes however in the event you want a bit extra kick, an electrical bike could make all of the distinction on these hills.
Associated learn: Among the Finest UK Cycle Routes
Drive an electrical car
If you happen to favor to have your personal automotive or campervan, attempt to rent an electrical or hybrid car the place attainable – significantly in the event you’re doing a street journey.
They emit fewer greenhouse gasoline 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
Motels which are critical about their environmental influence will spotlight their eco credentials on their web site.
To assist inform your selection, look out for third-party accreditations from Inexperienced Key, EcoLabel, Inexperienced Tourism and Tourism Declares to call a number of.
Search on lodge reserving websites
It’s by no means been simpler to search out sustainable inns on standard reserving platforms akin to Reserving.com. Search for the ‘Journey Sustainably’ tag.
Nonetheless, in the event 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 inns.
Ecobnb is one other wonderful selection 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 inns, top-of-the-line 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 help small companies all with a mouthwatering breakfast to match?
Associated learn: A Information to Renting a Vacation House
Some completely unimaginable lodges, B&Bs and inns embrace:
Sustainable journey in Scotland: Issues to do
From wildlife recognizing to rewilding, listed here are some sustainable actions to do in Scotland:
Go off the crushed observe
Keep away from crowded hotspots by going off the crushed observe in your journey to Scotland.
For instance, as an alternative of creating a beeline for the Isle of Skye, go to a few of 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 wish to swing by Skye and Glen Coe, go to within the shoulder or low season when there are fewer crowds. Usually, October by means of 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 influence is constructive however nonetheless have flexibility, Byway Journey does bespoke no-fly itineraries.
With Byway, you possibly can simply create a personalised self-guided itinerary that takes you thru the Scottish Highlands and islands.
Solo travellers would possibly favor small group excursions led by native guides that make it easier to join with the native tradition and surroundings.
An ideal instance is Intrepid Journey. It has a collection of multi-day itineraries which concentrate on mountaineering holidays, island-hopping or exploring one of the best of Scotland in simply over every week.
Byway and Intrepid Journey are B Company licensed which implies they meet excessive social and environmental requirements.
Associated learn: Street Journey By means of the Scottish Highlands
Find out about conservation
Scotland is famend for its pure magnificence, however in truth, its panorama is closely nature-depleted. The Scottish Highlands alone had been as soon as residence to the Caledonian Forest which lined an enormous space of land. Now simply 1% of it stays.
Probably the most impactful methods to be a sustainable traveller in Scotland is to find out about Scottish rewilding and conservation.
SCOTLAND: The Large 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 by means of Glen Feshie, and nature-friendly farms, and hosts discussions on biodiversity and wildlife reintroduction.
These excursions are good for nature lovers and wildlife lovers who wish to get a deeper understanding of Scotland’s pure surroundings.
Do a tree-planting weekend
One other method you possibly can have a constructive influence on Scotland is to assist restore its depleted forests by planting bushes or supporting tree-planting initiatives.
Timber for Life is on a mission to rewild the Scottish Highlands. You possibly can go to numerous websites the charity works on and benefit from the pure environment.
One other solution to get entangled is to volunteer at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre (opening in 2023), the place you possibly can assist are inclined to younger bushes within the nursery and be part of rewilding tasks. You can too go to the centre and be taught extra about rewilding.
Go mountaineering within the Highlands and Lowlands
Scotland advantages from a ‘proper to roam’ regulation which implies 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 solution to benefit from this entry than by mountaineering?
There’s no finish to lovely mountaineering trails everywhere in the Scottish countryside. Among the finest one-day strolling trails in Scotland embrace:
- 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 embrace:
- West Highland Manner
- Nice Glen Manner
- Borders Abbeys Manner
- The Speyside Manner
- Berwickshire Coastal Path
Be a sustainable hiker in Scotland by making certain that you just depart no hint. Stick with the trail, take all garbage residence with you and depart every little thing as you discovered it.
Keep protected on the market too. Pack the suitable gear and regulate the climate forecast.
Associated learn: The Finest Sun shades for Mountaineering & Outside Actions
Cycle round Skye and different islands
Whereas Skye suffers from an overtourism drawback, it’s attainable to discover the island with a lighter footprint.
To start out with, swap the automotive for a motorbike. Subsequent, go to on the shoulder or low season to scale back the quantity of congestion on the roads.
Lots of the island’s sights may 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 permits you to lease e-bikes at an reasonably priced 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 need to use all through the Scottish isles slightly than driving.
You possibly can rent e-bikes on the Isle of Mull or carry your personal bike and cycle a few of the epic lengthy and brief routes throughout Orkney, Shetland, Outer Hebrides and extra!
Go wildlife recognizing
Considered one of 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 varied 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 would possibly even see basking sharks in the event you’re fortunate!
At all times be sure that to maintain a respectful distance from any wildlife you encounter. Don’t attempt to contact, stroke or feed them both.
Assist small and sustainable companies
A straightforward solution to advocate for sustainable tourism in Scotland is to help native companies.
Procuring 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 Fort, 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 pointers helpful in planning your personal eco escape in Scotland.
Whereas its environmental well being is much from good, it’s nonetheless one of many ‘greenest’ nations on the planet.
Nice biking and public transport routes provide accessible options to automobiles. Plus there are many eco-friendly actions and locations to remain.
Finally, travelling sustainably in Scotland is about discovering a steadiness, whether or not that’s mitigating your personal footprint, supporting inexperienced companies or avoiding overtourism hotspots.