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 well-liked sights is rife, threatening the well-being of each native communities and the atmosphere.
The excellent news is it’s potential to get pleasure from Scotland and nonetheless have a constructive affect 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 way to get round Scotland sustainably
Listed here are some prime ideas that will help you be a sustainable traveller in Scotland:
Use public transport
Most of Scotland’s predominant sights are fairly effectively linked by public transport. The practice line is served by ScotRail which may take you as far north as Thurso, all the best way all the way 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 house to among the most stunning 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 all the way 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 potential to journey round Scotland by bus and coach. Megabus can take you to most main cities and cities. CityLink Scotland is one other well-liked alternative.
In case you have plans to discover the Scottish isles there’s no must guide flights. They’re straightforward and inexpensive to succeed in with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.
Discover by bike
Get some train and recent air with Scotland’s Nationwide Cycle Community. There are some stunning routes all around the nation.
How about seaside hopping by the Outer Hebrides island chain? Or why not cycle from Edinburgh metropolis centre to Shore in Leith?
You possibly can, in fact, rent push bikes however for those who want somewhat extra kick, an electrical bike could make all of the distinction on these hills.
Associated learn: A number of the Finest UK Cycle Routes
Drive an electrical automobile
In case you want to have your individual automobile or campervan, attempt to rent an electrical or hybrid automobile the place potential – significantly for those who’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 atmosphere 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
Inns which can be critical about their environmental affect 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 lodge reserving websites
It’s by no means been simpler to search out sustainable resorts on well-liked reserving platforms akin to Reserving.com. Search for the ‘Journey Sustainably’ tag.
Nonetheless, for those who’re not too satisfied, lodging reserving platforms devoted solely to sustainability are right here to assist. Try EcoHotels.com which solely lists licensed inexperienced resorts.
Ecobnb is one other wonderful alternative because it presents a spread of lodging sorts that adhere to strict sustainability standards.
Go boutique and family-owned
By no means thoughts the large chain resorts, top-of-the-line methods to benefit from the native tradition and be extra sustainable is to remain in impartial B&Bs.
The place else are you going to search out distinctive lodging, get native information, and assist 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 resorts embrace:
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 creating 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?
In case you 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 to April is way 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 affect 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 want small group excursions led by native guides that enable you to join with the native tradition and atmosphere.
A fantastic instance is Intrepid Journey. It has a number of multi-day itineraries which give attention to climbing holidays, island-hopping or exploring the very 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 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 house to the Caledonian Forest which coated an unlimited space of land. Now simply 1% of it stays.
Some of the impactful methods to be a sustainable traveller in Scotland is to study Scottish rewilding and conservation.
SCOTLAND: The Large Image is a rewilding charity that runs rewilding schooling journeys within the Cairngorms Nationwide park.
It presents a jam-packed itinerary that includes guided nature walks by Glen Feshie, and nature-friendly farms, and hosts discussions on biodiversity and wildlife reintroduction.
These excursions are good for nature lovers and wildlife fanatics who wish to get a deeper understanding of Scotland’s pure atmosphere.
Do a tree-planting weekend
One other method you possibly can have a constructive affect on Scotland is to assist restore its depleted forests by planting bushes or supporting tree-planting initiatives.
Bushes for Life is on a mission to rewild the Scottish Highlands. You possibly can go to various websites the charity works on and benefit from the pure environment.
One other option to become involved is to volunteer at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre (opening in 2023), the place you possibly can assist are likely to younger bushes within the nursery and be a part of rewilding initiatives. You can even go to the centre and be taught extra about rewilding.
Go climbing 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 option to profit from this entry than by climbing?
There’s no finish to stunning climbing trails all around the Scottish countryside. A number of the greatest 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 Means
- Nice Glen Means
- Borders Abbeys Means
- The Speyside Means
- Berwickshire Coastal Path
Be a sustainable hiker in Scotland by guaranteeing that you simply depart no hint. Follow the trail, take all garbage house with you and depart every little thing as you discovered it.
Keep secure on the market too. Pack the suitable gear and regulate the climate forecast.
Associated learn: The Finest Sun shades for Mountaineering & Out of doors Actions
Cycle round Skye and different islands
Whereas Skye suffers from an overtourism downside, it’s potential to discover the island with a lighter footprint.
To begin with, swap the automobile 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 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 permits you to lease e-bikes at an inexpensive price 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 use all through the Scottish isles fairly than driving.
You possibly can 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
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 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 would possibly even see basking sharks for those who’re fortunate!
All the time be certain 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 option to advocate for sustainable tourism in Scotland is to assist native companies.
Buying 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 due to its biomass heating system, biodiverse grounds, waste minimisation and native store.
In case you get pleasure from 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.
Last ideas on sustainable journey in Scotland
We hope you discovered the following pointers helpful in planning your individual eco escape in Scotland.
Whereas its environmental well being is way from good, it’s nonetheless one of many ‘greenest’ international locations on the planet.
Nice biking and public transport routes supply accessible options to automobiles. 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.