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Everything You Need to Know About Wild Camping at Loch Morlich

Everything You Need to Know About Wild Camping at Loch Morlich

Loch Morlich is an iconic Scottish tourist destination thanks to its numerous fun-filled activities, from watersports to walking trails. But one of the best ways to truly be one with nature is through wild camping! 

So, if you’re new, here’s a guide on everything you need to know about wild camping at Loch Morlich! 

What is Loch Morlich?

What is Loch Morlich

Image: TripAdvisor


Address: Loch Morlich, Glenmore Forest Park, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, PH22 1QY, United Kingdom

Contact Information: 01479 861 221; [email protected]; [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 24 hours daily

  • Watersports Center: Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM

Entrance Fee: Free

At the foot of Cairngorm Mountain range lies Loch Morlich, a freshwater loch surrounded by the Glenmore Forest, making it a popular tourist spot for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. 

The best time to visit is in the summer months. This way, visitors of all ages will be able to enjoy the warm weather and an array of watersports. 

Since they’re open 24 hours daily, they’re a popular option for many wildlife campers. However, if you’re planning to take part in watersports activities, take note that the center is only open Mondays through Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM.

How do I get to Loch Morlich?

How do I get to Loch Morlich

Image: Inverness Courier

There are several ways you can get to Loch Morlich, but the most popular and comfortable options are via bus and car. 

This is because most visitors travel with extended family and bring many belongings with them.

Getting to Loch Morlich via Bus

Getting to Loch Morlich via Bus

Image: Wikimedia Commons

From Aviemore or Cairngorm Mountain Ski Center, you can ride a Line 37 bus. These typically pass Loch Morlich Beach, where you can get off. 

If you’re coming from elsewhere, you can simply get off at the Visitor Centre, Glenmore. 

Getting to Loch Morlich via Car

Getting to Loch Morlich via Car

Image: Camping in the Forest

From Aviemore Town, Loch Morlich is about 6.5 miles away by car. Simply follow the Cairngorms signs until you see signs of the loch. 

The entrance to Loch Morlich will appear on your left.

What’s wild camping?

What’s wild camping

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The main difference between wild camping and regular camping is that the former is typically done in a non-campsite environment and is completely off-grid. 

May campers hike for hours (or even days) before finding the perfect spot to set up camp. Having said that, don’t forget to double-check local laws to see if it’s legal to wild camp at the location you’re going to. 

While wild camping may be daunting for first-timers, many of the UK’s national parks permit wild camping on their grounds. Elsewhere, especially on private property,  is illegal.

What are the benefits of wild camping?

What are the benefits of wild camping

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Wild camping has several benefits, from mental to emotional, which is why it’s a popular activity for many in Scotland.

Spending time in the great outdoors can bring about a ton of new lessons and experiences that aren’t typically taught in school. These include making fires and setting up a tent, among others.

Given how remote most camping locations are, this gives you a lot of headspace to reflect and detach from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

How do I look for the perfect spot to camp?

How do I look for the perfect spot to camp

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When searching for the best place to set up camp, it’s important to closely inspect the following:

1. Surrounding area

Inspect the surrounding area for any risk of falling rocks or trees. That said, be wary of rising water levels if you’re camping alongside a lake to avoid flash floods.

When you’re out in the wilderness, you’ll be a couple of miles away from the nearest town. Having said that, you wouldn’t want to be stuck or lost in the event of an unforeseen emergency.

Ensure that you’ve placed easily removable and non-damaging markers to keep track of the path in and out of your site. 

It’s also a great practice to do your research on the area, too. You can do a quick Google search on the area’s camping history. 

Read articles and forums about previous campers’ experiences in the area to give yourself a better idea of places you should explore and those you’ll need to avoid.

2. Weather forecasts

It’s a no-brainer that you’ll need to monitor the weather forecasts to ensure that you aren’t caught up in inclement weather.

While we do admit that wild camping in the rain is quite therapeutic, ensure that there aren’t any expectations of torrential weather before or after your trip.

3. Ground conditions

Since you’ll be setting camp directly on the ground, check to see if there is any nearby wildlife that you’re unknowingly disturbing. 

That said, pay attention if there are any nearby dens or holes in the trees or ground that could indicate that a living creature lives there.

You’ll also notice droppings on the ground and markings on trees that could mean that there are bears or other large and dangerous animals nearby. 

If you’ve encountered a sign that a potentially dangerous animal is nearby, take that as your sign to leave immediately and find a safer place to camp.

What should I bring when wild camping?

What should I bring when wild camping

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Ask any camper out there and their #1 tip when it comes to packing would be: pack light! Nevertheless, we understand the sentiments of many who’d like to be prepared for anything. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a store on Earth that sells magic carpet bags like the one Mary Poppins had. So you’ll have to make do with your non magical hiking backpack instead.

But don’t worry, here’s an ultimate guide on the non-negotiables you should bring when wild camping:

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping bag along with a sleeping liner and mattress
  3. Down jacket and pants
  4. Rain jacket and pants
  5. Beanie and gloves
  6. Headtorch and spare batteries
  7. Food: Dehydrated meals, pre-made, or freeze-dried food
  8. Portable stove
  9. Pots, pans, glasses, and cutlery
  10. Microfibre towel
  11. Dry bag
  12. First aid kit and insect repellant
  13. Water filter and water bottle
  14. Map and compass
  15. Walking poles

How much water do I need for wild camping?

How much water do I need for wild camping

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A great rule of thumb to follow is to pack at least 1-2 gallons of water for each person per day that you’re out camping. It’s important to remember that your body needs 2 liters of water a day when active.

Keep in mind that the water you’ll be bringing won’t just be for drinking, especially if there aren’t any nearby natural water sources. 

You’ll most likely have to use your water for cleaning and cooking, too. So, use your water wisely and pack a water filter to use just in case.

How do I wild camp responsibly?

How do I wild camp responsibly

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The most important rule to abide by while camping is: leave no trace. This means that you leave your camping site exactly how you found it – without any traces of your pitch, campfire remnants, or discarded food.

In a nutshell, you should behave as unobtrusively as you possibly can. On top of that, treat the environment and wildlife with the utmost respect.

While these instructions have been on repeat since the dawn of time, Scotland has been experiencing an influx of wildlife camping polluters and abusers.

In fact, there have been several local reports of campers kicking ducks and washing in the loch. With that said, officials have been on their toes to catch any offenders. 

To further enjoy wild camping in Scotland’s beautiful countryside, let’s be responsible campers. 

Can you wild camp at Loch Morlich?

Can you wild camp at Loch Morlich

Image: jin a on Trip Advisor

You can most definitely go wild camping at Loch Morlich. In fact, wild camping is one of the most popular activities to do there. 

Where can I set up my camp at Loch Morlich?

Where can I set up my camp at Loch Morlich

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Campers can choose to set up their site along the shore of the east bank, by the forest, or on the east bank. Since the overall area is spacious, you won’t have to worry about being too close to other campers.

However, wild camping isn’t allowed at the north and northeast shores. Take note that visitors aren’t allowed to camp in the car park either. 

But don’t fret, there are a ton of other appropriate camping locations that are just a 20-30 minute walk away.

Alternatively, you can opt to camp at the Glenmore campsite, which is a dedicated camping site. Do note that the cost for pitching starts at around £18. 

When am I allowed to wild camp at Loch Morlich?

When am I allowed to wild camp at Loch Morlich

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Loch Morlich is open daily, so you can stop by whenever you like to wild camp. However, many recommend camping during the summer months since it isn’t as cold. 

It’s also imperative that you take note that only a 2-3 night stay is permitted at each location. So, be sure to plan your trip accordingly so that you don’t overstay as you may be requested to leave.

What am I not allowed to bring to Loch Morlich?

What am I not allowed to bring to Loch Morlich

Image: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Visitors are permitted to bring virtually all kinds of camping gear that they’ll need, from sleeping bags to tents. However, fire and barbeque equipment is strictly prohibited. 

What can I do while wild camping at Loch Morlich?

What can I do while wild camping at Loch Morlich

Image: Uriel Mont on Pexels

While camping at Loch Morlich, there are several things that you can enjoy whilst in the relaxing presence of nature, such as:

  • Reading a book
  • Taking photographs of nature
  • Swimming by the loch 
  • Feeding the ducks
  • Doing some yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises
  • Exploring the rest of the loch via the trails

Where can I park my car?

Where can I park my car

Image: Evan’s Guide

There’s a designated parking area by the entrance for campers to leave their vehicles. Keep in mind that you are only allowed to leave your cars here.

Also, be cautious of parking in front of entrances and exits.

As for their parking fee, there’s a ‘pay by card’ ticket machine by the entrance of Glenmore Visitor Center. Otherwise, the only other form of payment accepted is through coins.

Parking prices are:

PriceLength of Stay
£2Up to 1 hour
£3Up to 3 hours
£4All day for vehicles up to 7 seats
£12All day for mini buses or coaches
FreeOnly for Blue Badge holders

What are other activities that I can do at Loch Morlich?

What are other activities that I can do at Loch Morlich

Image: The Times

On top of camping, Loch Morlich offers a few other fun outdoor activities that are perfect for visitors of all ages. 

1. Watersports


Image: Loch Morlich Watersports

What’s great about Loch Morlich is that they have an in-house watersports center that’s open Mondays through Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM. 

ActivityDurationAdult FeeJunior (10-14 YO) FeeInclusionsMax. Participants
Kayak Trip with Instruction1 hour£40 £40 • Lessons
• Equipment
• Wetsuit
• Buoyancy aid
Family Canoeing Trip2 hours£40 £40 • Lessons
• Equipment
• Wetsuit
• Buoyancy aid
Stand Up Paddle Board Trip1 hour£40 £40 • Lessons
• Equipment
• Wetsuit
• Buoyancy aid
Guided Mountain Bike Trip2 hours£40 £40 • Bike
• Helmet 
• Biking gloves
Sailing Lesson1 hour£30£30 (8-12 YO) • Lessons
• Equipment
• Wetsuit
• Buoyancy aid

Each of these activities come with lessons from their qualified instructors. Alternatively, if you’d like to hire equipment without lessons, that can be arranged, too.

Bookings can easily be done over the phone or online via their website. If special arrangements need to be made, you can contact them in advance to see if they can accommodate these.

2. Swim in Loch Morlich

Swim in Loch Morlich

Image: Ravenscraig Guest House

If you’re more of a laid back type of visitor, you can forego the watersports and opt for a peaceful swim in Loch Morlich. 

While it’s generally family-friendly, the waters can become deep rather quickly. Hence, it’s strongly advised that you swim with caution, in groups, and always have someone watching close by, especially for young ones.

The water can also get extremely cold, so don’t forget to bring warm towels and clothes to dry off quickly. If possible, wetsuits are preferred.

Alternatively, you can just lay by the warm and soft sand and have a picnic. 

3. Walk the Loch Morlich Trail

Walk the Loch Morlich Trail

Image: Forestry and Land Scotland

The walk around Loch Morlich is stunning, to say the least. You can expect majestic views of the mountains, calm waters, and even an occasional sighting of wildlife such as ducks and otters. 

There are several trails that you can go through depending on the level of difficulty you’re up for and the duration you’re willing to walk.

TrailComing FromDifficultyDurationLength
Beach TrailLoch Morlich Beach car parkModerate1 hour1 ½ miles or 2.4 kms
Loch Morlich TrailLoch Morlich Beach car parkModerate
2 hours3 ½ miles or 5.8 kms
Ryvoan Trail From Glenmore Visitor CenterStrenuous2 ½ hours3½ miles or5.8 kms
Pine Knoll TrailFrom Hayfield car parkModerate¾ hour1¼ miles or2.2 kms
Lodge TrailFrom Allt Mor car parkModerate½ hour2½ miles or3.9 kms
Additional Longer Distance Trails:
The Old Logging Way6 ½ miles / 10.5 kms each way
Meall a’ Bhuachaille hill pathFrom Glenmore Visitor Center

Be prepared for some slippery and muddy areas, especially after rainfall. We also strongly recommend downloading their Route Card to have an on-hand copy of the vicinity.

That’s everything you need to know about wild camping at Loch Morlich – and more! Let us know how your camping experience went by leaving us a message.

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