Originally Posted by oreynolds
Does anyone have any experience exploring any of the Scottish lochs by RIB? We are considering taking the RIB on a trip up to Scotland for 2-3 weeks. We are a family of 4 and dependant on feasibility wanted to spend our time exploring the lochs and or some of the more sheltered areas of coastline. In addition we had also hoped that we would be able to go for a few days on the lochs and take camping gear with us, enabling us to make a bit more of an adventure of it for our two boys.
I've looked up the restrictions on camping and generally there don't appear to be many in Scotland unlike England. Also not sure which of the lochs is the best to explore? Obviously if you going to go for a few days it would need to be fairly sizeable to make it worthwhile.
Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated,
Jambo has some good advice. You need to do some searching and work out a little where you want to go to narrow things down. For genuinely inland water Loch Lomond is the largest and probably most varied. Loch Ness, Loch Tay, Loch Earn, Loch Awe etc - could provided some entertainment and should have somewhere to launch. Most other inland lochs are either small or may not be welcoming to powered craft or have limited access to launch.
You are right that camping is much more accessible (legally) than in England and Wales - however you need to be aware of a few things:
(i) the right to wild camp comes as an extension to the right to responsible
access to most land (and water) other than private gardens, or sports grounds etc.
(ii) the right to responsible access does not apply to motorised transport - so there is no right to take your rib (or car) anywhere. As a result there is no right to motor up to any old island and set camp (but you could sail, kayak or swim!).
(iii) there is some controversy over abuse of wild camping rights. SNH provide advice on what is wild camping. However if you carry it all in on one trip (on your back, bike, or kayak) then it probably is. If you park the car (or potentially the RIB) and keep carrying stuff back and forth then you are not really camping as part of your permitted journey over the land. That doesn't mean you can't camp - but engage your brain about how/where/why avoid other people/houses and ask permission etc.
(iv) Because of abuse of the right (and IMHO a lack of balls by the authorities to apply the existing law) new rules were brought in relatively recently that ban camping on much of the East side of L. Lomond.
(v) Camping in one spot for 2-3 weeks is not 'wild' camping as far as SNH are concerned. I think you need to be aware that even in summer, and even on the big inland lochs you may get several days in a row where you don't fancy going out in the rib. Being stuck in a tent with the family in bad weather could become tortuous by wk3!
(vi) Midges: they aren't (usually) as bad as often reported but can alway be a bit of an issue (especially if camping near water!) between may-september. there is a real prospect that they will be unpleasant at somepoint on a 3 wk trip.
Finally, there is potentially better boating (and camping) around the sea lochs. You need to decide what you want - and if you need access to centres of population / activity for children/teenagers when the weather is bad or dad's boat gets boring etc!