I will travel to the Highlands and have a very quick stop-over at Glasgow Airport since I have to catch the bus from Daluir. Is there any chance to get alcohol fuel for a burner?

In some countries Methylated Spirits is available in pharmacy shops but I am not sure whether this is the case in Scotland, nor whether there is a pharmacy in the airport area.

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    This might be better on travel.stackexchange.com
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 16:30
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    Not going to find that in the airport, but the highlands has loads of Outdoors shops. Where are you headed exactly
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:21
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    Also consider hardware stores. In my experience (in Vancouver) there's a greater choice and lower prices.
    – Martin F
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 19:24
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    If going to Glenfinnan, you will probably have to change busses at Fort William. Fort William has plenty of outdoor shops, so you should be able to find some fuel there.
    – vclaw
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:52
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    There's two shops (Ellis Brigham and Nevisport) within sight of the railway station in Fort William. Both of those will sell stove fuel (and pretty much anything else you might need for your trip). Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 9:44

2 Answers 2


Your travel to Scotland has probably passed; hope you had a good time. You are in the land of my favourite single malts: Glendronach, Oban, and Glenmorangie - and therein lies my answer:

Use ethyl alcohol in a pinch. That is, any high-proof potable spirit, generally anything 75% or more alcohol. Rum, for example, is often used for flambé, and anything 151 proof or better is typically used. Any rums, whiskies, tequilas, gins, etc are expensive compared to vodka, so, vodka or grain alcohol would be the cheap option to go with.

Avoid using dirty alcohols, like isopropyl: they can be sooty and toxic.

The nice thing about using ethyl alcohol is that when you're done, well, it doesn't have to go to waste: Slàinte! But with methyl alcohol, the best you can do is use it for a hand sanitizer (isopropyl), or, burn it off otherwise.

Actually, when you are in an area where methylated spirits might be available, but you are not aware of your location's regulations on manufacture or use, using that spirit could prove dangerous, whereas liquor store spirits is always safe.

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    And extremely expensive.
    – Martin F
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 20:30

While you need to check your stove, I would expect it to run on any form of alcohol. Here in Canada, pharmacies all stock 99% isopropyl alcohol. And many hardware stores carry methyl (wood) alcohol

I'm not familiar with alcohol stoves. Here the camp fuel most used is marketed as "camp stove fuel" and is mostly cyclo-hexane. I have also used unleaded petrol in a stove, but it has a lower flashpoint.

When running outdoor programs we had the following rules for stoves:

  • Stoves are taken 30 feet away from camp, downwind and downhill to fill. This avoids clouds of fumes returning to camp.

  • The person who fills the stove is NOT the person who lights it. This avoids setting yourself on fire if you spilled while filling it.

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    To be absolutely clear, do not use car gas (petrol where the OP is going), cyclohexane, Coleman fuel, naphtha etc.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 15:15
  • The most common name for alcohol stove fuel in the UK is "meths" and it's usually dyed purple. Isopropanol would be called "surgical spirit" but has additives; even pure it doesn't burn cleanly (see my tests)
    – Chris H
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 15:15
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    The first rule isn't needed with meths, even with Scout groups. The second may be wise but the biggest issue with meths stoves is the invisible flame - do not refill until cold to the touch - rather than spillage
    – Chris H
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 15:17
  • BTW cyclohexane (C6H12, ring structure) isn't routinely used as fuel on its own as it's solid below about 6°C/43°F, but hexane (C6H14, linear molecule) is a major part of petrol/gasoline and naphtha/white gas/Zippo fuel
    – Chris H
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 8:40

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