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Camping beauty spots at risk from climate change, scientists warn


Some of Scotland’s favourite wild camping locations are under threat from climate change, a major study has found

The beauty spots are at risk of severe coastal erosion and beach loss by 2050, according to the University of Glasgow,

A map shows 10 key areas at severe risk of erosion through the impacts of sea level rise, strong wave action, and coastal flooding.

It was commissioned by outdoor brand Vango ahead of the COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow.

The map includes the sand dunes of Golspie Links in the Scottish Highlands, Lunan Bay in Angus, the beaches of south Coll, and inlets on the Caithness coast, including Strathy and nearby Melvich.


Professor Larissa Naylor, Professor of Geomorphology and Environmental Geography at the University of Glasgow, said


Even with Net Zero our sea levels will continue to rise and continue to erode key coastal assets like wild camping beaches and critical transport infrastructure. It is thus imperative that we act now to, in the first instance, achieve Net Zero (and beyond) rapidly and secondly, adapt society to better live with coastal climate change impacts like flooding and erosion.

Professor Naylor warned that the locations in the map were “the tip of the iceberg”.

She added,


Many more wild camping sites will shrink in area or disappear in the coming decades, as the sea level continues to rise and climate change impacts accelerate.

Stark images show 'sunken world'

Vango has unveiled CGI images depicting a sunken world beyond 2300. One image shows a sunken campsite and the other, one of Scotland’s most famous castles, Castle Tioram.

Currently, the castle can be accessed on foot at low tide, but it’s predicted it will be inaccessible from the land by 2100, along with the loss of local wild camping sites along the Ardnamurchan coast.

Submerged scottish castle

World record holder, Mark Beaumont, the Scottish ultra-adventure athlete and Vango ambassador, said, “This map is a stark warning that the issue of climate change, and its impact on our precious outdoors, is very real.

“2050 is not so far away, especially when I think of the lifetimes of my children and how they can enjoy the great outdoors. So I would encourage people to get out to these incredible sites - see them, appreciate them and understand that unless we take collective action, they could soon disappear.”

Rob Birrell, Vango’s Marketing Director, said, “Scotland is famous for its scenic wild places and uplifting sense of remoteness, but sadly some of our most beautiful wild camping spots and beaches are seriously at risk and shrinking.

“By sharing this new map, it is our hope that we will spotlight a very real concern about Scotland’s depleting outdoor space - and, ultimately, drive people and politicians to take action now.”

What are the areas at risk?

Here are the top 10 at-risk areas according to the University of Glasgow study

Places to visit in Scotland

1. St Combs To Rattray Head, northeast coast

2. Lunan Bay, Angus

3. South Coll, Isle of Coll

4. Loch Na Keal, Isle of Mull

5. Machrihanish, Campbeltown

6. Machair Leathan, North Uist

7. Mersehead Sands, Dumfries and Galloway

8. Golspie, Highlands

9. Melvich Bay, Highlands

10. Lossiemouth East, Moray


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