It’s been a long few months stuck at home, staring at the walls that desperately need a fresh coat of paint and coping with the disappointment of cancelled summer holiday plans.
But the good news is that travel is back on the horizon…you might just need to put the jet-setting on hold and explore the sea and sand closer to home this year instead.
With all holiday accommodation expected to be open in Scotland on July 15 and the cap on five-mile travel relaxed, industry experts predict a boom in staycations this summer – and camping, thought to be one of the safest socially distant options – is expected to skyrocket.
“There’s definitely going to be a boom in staying in Scotland,” said Rebecca Dearden, editor of Campfire magazine. “Even though air bridges between the UK and some other European countries are opening up, some countries are still off the agenda and the possibility of restrictions are currently making it risky – and undesirable – to book overseas holidays.”
While things may look a little different on sites this summer, Rebecca says camping will be one of the safest and socially distant securing holidays for many travellers – provided campers still behave cautiously and provided campsites, which are hoping to open from the middle of the month, have sensible and effective measures in place.
“Some of the changes we might expect are fewer pitches to keep a distance between families, longer minimum stays to prevent comings and goings, masks to be compulsory and booking times or queues for showers,” she said. “Also shared facilities like cafes, swimming pools and communal kitchens might also not be open. But camping is fantastic and I’m hoping there’ll be a good dose of common sense alongside the enthusiasm to get back into the countryside.”
Sabina Voysey, Camping and Caravanning Club director general, said: “We think that spending time in the great outdoors at places such as campsites will be just the break people need after spending so much time at home. Being out in the fresh air, the physical space between pitches and with additional social distancing and cleaning measures, we believe that we are well-placed to offer a safe, enjoyable break.
“Re-opening our campsites will allow many families to actually get a holiday this year and have a fantastic time exploring closer to home.”
Bookings with the club over the last few weeks are up 70% on the equivalent period last year.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, is expecting staycations to become a popular choice for visitors this year.
“We’re very much looking forward to helping Scots rediscover their own country and inspiring them to stay local and support Scotland’s valuable tourism industry,” he said.
“However, it is important to emphasise that the visitor experience will look a little different this year as businesses adhere to new guidelines to help suppress Covid-19. Planning and researching will become an important part of the holiday experience, and we are urging visitors to know before you go.
“It is also important that we all consider our behaviour when travel is possible again, be sure we are treating destinations and surrounding communities with respect, adhering to physical distancing, taking home our litter and of course, not travelling if we are displaying any symptoms associated with Covid-19.”
All in all, it looks like the country’s keen campers will carry on and many more will be pitching plans for these types of holidays across the country in the weeks to come.
The Camping and Caravanning Club have offered some help by recommending some of their top Scottish sites to help holidaymakers with some ideas.
So forget the bucket and spade and look out your torch and tent instead. Toasted marshmallows on the campfire have never had so much appeal…
Camp in the grounds of an ancient royal palace, in the heart of Scotland on this attractive, peaceful tree-lined campsite. One of Scotland’s most important stately homes, Scone Palace is steeped in colourful, fascinating history.
The palace was once the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, including Robert the Bruce and Macbeth.
Dunbar Club campsite is just a stone’s throw away from the popular East Lothian town and adjacent to Whitesands Bay – a long stretch of sandy, surfing beach.
Located on the east shore of the stunning Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, this site offers stunning views and the perfect place to relax.
With stunning scenery, plenty of walks, waterfalls and a castle nearby to explore, this campsite is ideally placed for adventurers, with the potential for lots of activities, from golf to mountain biking.
Stay in the grounds of a fairytale Scottish castle on the South Ayrshire coast. The Culzean Castle site is based in an area rich with beautiful countryside and coastline, fantastic walking, stunning beaches and many interesting places to visit.
Found at the head of the Cromarty Firth, this site is ideally located for exploring the Scottish Highlands and the wooded Black Isle. Many pitches are bounded by trees and hedges.
Campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk for more information on campsites