West coast of Scotland and Skye

Discussion in 'Scotland' started by KarlB, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Returned from a two week trip on Friday with my two girls (8 and 5) and thought I'd share some sites others might like to utilise. My wife has her holidays in two weeks and we are off again for another two weeks, hoping to visit more of Skye and head over to Harris etc.

    We live in Fife (beside the River Tay) and we covered a total of 750 miles over two weeks (well, a little but more if you count the ferry!). I haven't the faintest idea how much I spent on fuel but I think I filled up 3 times...

    Over the years I have developed an aversion to big commercial sites full of caravan dwelling folk watching their TV's. With this in mind wherever possible I sought out smaller sites. I have also finally completed my gas fridge installation (ran the flue though the B Pillar so took longer than usual) so as my fridge runs on 12v (driving), Gas (or mains if need be) I didn't need a hook up. As you will read I don't mind doing without showers etc (that's the beauty of a campervan!) but I'll mention the facilities :).

    I chucked the Khyam Tourer awning on the roofrack just in case but didn't actually use it. I also took my 'Quechua' modified Tarp along which was used as a sun shelter, rain shelter, windbreak and badminton net :)

    Midges - I had planned for this and installed new Westy Mossy Nets on the windows (and also have a rear net). Used 'Smidge' repellent (£7 per bottle - although saw it at £8 in some placed further north) which was very effective for us all and also bought a small thing in Pitlochry made by Rentokill to hang in the van. As the majority of our sites were by the sea and the weather was lovely the sun and breeze helped.

    I found lots of great sites in the Cool Camping book...

    Anyway. Started off for a couple of nights at Loch Rannoch.

    http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8pclww

    £8 per night. Warden arrives morning or evening. Very pleasant :) If you're into fishing you can get a permit for the Loch.

    This is a Forestry Commission site. Very chilled out. Basic in that there were great toilets but no hot water or hook ups. Nice location with lovely walks. Down sides were the midges which were persistent to say the least! The second down-side was we then planned to meet up with friends in their camper at Oban. This necessitated backtracking lots as the road to the west coast simply stops! You can get the train though! We heading back towards Pitlochry...a nice place for lunch.

    Next we headed towards Oban to meet friend who had already found a camp site.

    http://obancaravanpark.com/

    This site was 'OK' but very over priced IMHO. Facilities shocking with dreadful showers. Some folk camping in a gravel car park with their Sky dishes set up. alright for a night and a good place base yourself to visit Oban. We camped in the field where it was a more relaxed setup. Had a good laugh as it was pretty quiet so we had a badminton championship and a few games of 'chair rounders'. Experienced some pretty stormy weather over night!

    Next we set off in convoy to Glencoe to the Red Squirrel campsite.

    http://www.redsquirrelcampsite.co.uk/

    This is down the side of the http://www.clachaig.com/ which we didn't visit but might well do next time. Food looks lovely! We weren't sure what to make of this site initially as there were signs EVERYWHERE and the warden seemed a bit odd. Once we explored a bit and I had a chat to the owner/warden and understood his sense of humour I really liked the place. You can set up in the woods or by the river and fires are allowed. Facilities were brilliant (brand new and now free rather than 50p for showers). There was a wood pile to get fire wood (it was all a bit wet on this occasion). We chose to set up in the woods and had our own campfire area tucked away. Kids loved the river and we had a grand old time! Staff were great and have a shed with balls/toys etc for the kids. Really lovely in the evening with groups sat round fires chilling out.

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    It's £9.50 per adult and £1 for kids. This made for a cheap night for me and an expensive one for our friends. They had three adults (two grown ups and a teenager plus 9 year old).

    Next we headed North to Arisaig.....

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    More to follow later...
     
  2. Terrordales

    Terrordales Nightshift Mod

    Great stuff, bet you're glad to be back in The Kingdom again.
    It's scary over there in the Western Isles :lol:
     
    KarlB likes this.
  3. sounds like a good road trip. Keep the updates coming!! :)
     
    KarlB likes this.
  4. bet it was stunning :)
     
    KarlB likes this.
  5. Right....



    So we headed to Arisaig. Before heading to out site we booked our tickets to Skye to leave on Sunday afternoon. I think it was £32 for the van, me and the two girls. Once we had picked up supplies we headed to the fantastic Camusdarach Campsite in Arisaig.

    http://www.camusdarachcampsiteandbeach.co.uk/


    To say the beaches are beautiful here is an understatement. We camped here earlier in the year and were treated to views like this;

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    and...

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    Last time we were here it was a LOT quieter than this time but it's still a brilliant place. We had rang ahead from Glencoe to make sure they had spaces for us (my wife was heading up to meet us for the weekend). Initially they only had space for one night and all the other local sites were booked up. We headed over and I was just going to camp down in a car-park if need be for the second night. When we arrived in the vans the owners were really into them. They went totally out of their way to sort us out and made arrangements to find us space for a second night. They are hoping to buy a Bay and head down to Spain in the off season. They are also planning on organising a VW meet up at the site (they have a large field next to the beach where there is a marquee they do weddings in etc). They spoke about entertainments/Hog roast etc. I'm going to keep in touch and I'll let folk know when it's going to be.

    Again - you would be hard pushed to meet more accommodating and friendly folk. If you ever go mention you have a old VW camper when you book! They are renovating some outbuildings and are going to be opening a Café and already do rolls and croissants which they will deliver warm to your van! On the Sunday we were due to leave and head into Mallaig and wait for the ferry. Andy Murray was playing in the final that day so they put a telly on in the marque and told us to bring the vans down and park next to it at the beach! Totally superb people.

    Anyhow.... we headed down to Mallaig and onto the ferry for our 30 min crossing;

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    This was our first time on Skye...and wont be our last. Totally love the place. It helped that the weather was glorious but it is totally stunning any ways.

    We had about an hours drive to our first site - Glenbrittle.

    http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/campsites/uk/scotland/scottish-isles/isle-of-skye/95-glenbrittle

    This was a superb drive....as long as your not in a hurry! The campsite is right at the end of a road that leads to nowhere. The site has a mixture of folk staying - lots of which are there to climb the astonishing Black Cuillin mountains. If you need a hook up then there is a designated place to park. Otherwise we just chose a spot amongst the grass with a superb view and chilled out. Met loads of lovely folk and ended up staying two nights. Our VW companions headed on after one night. Met a family from Bradford who had hired a crossdresser Bay from a company in Edinburgh and were touring. Another family arrived on the second night in their Bay from Glasgow. There was a fantastic vibe in the site with beach fires and a mixture of folk chilling and chatting and others there to 'do' the Cuillin. We 'did' a bit by walking up to see the waterfalls...amazing views.

    [​IMG]
     
    Coco, 75swampy, bekyip and 1 other person like this.
  6. Im not jelous honest:rolleyes:
     
    KarlB likes this.
  7. :D fantastic pics, they do look stunning - cheers for sharing them, I feel a roadtrip coming on!!
     
    KarlB likes this.
  8. Cheers....more coming!
     
  9. Like I said....there was real mix of folk at Glenbrittle and driving an old VW always sparks up a conversation! We were laughing when some young lads who were there with their boarding school to do some hill walking followed me out of the loos and just stopped, turned to me and said "That must be the best view from a toilet ever!"

    I had to agree!

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    (although I found another really good one later)
     
    paradox and Lord Congi like this.
  10. Wow, what a lovely adventure and more to come! Well done mate and thanks for sharing your story and pics
     
    KarlB likes this.
  11. That is just stunning ,I need a month off work somehow :(
     
    KarlB likes this.
  12. Cheers again :)

    I almost forgot...met another bay in Mallaig on the Saturday. It was a water cooled one (which he promptly apologised for!) but still lovely. In the line up we had the three bays, a T25 Joker and a T4. I cropped out the newer stuff ;-)

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    And before you think it was all sunshine....Saturday was miserable and all day my wife was getting Facebook messages saying it was scorching in Fife!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. I guess this is a perk of my job :) I have a friend I work with who's mum and dad were both teachers and had (and still have) a Bay. They used to spend 6 weeks of the summer away in the van! I can't quite get away with that....my wife will tolerate me disappearing with the girls for a couple of weeks without her. I'm back now and doing some proper work painting the outside of the house. We are all heading away in the van in a couple of weeks for a fortnight together though :)
     
    Lord Congi and paradox like this.
  14. Anyhow. We left Glenbrittle with some new mobile numbers to keep in touch and headed up to Dunvegan Castle (less than an hour on fantastic roads). We had a very pleasant day looking around the castle, the grounds and the highlight had to be the boat trip out to see the Seal Sanctuary! It was just for the girls (honest!)

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    http://www.dunvegancastle.com/content/default.asp

    This was superb :)

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    There is a coral beach just a mile from here which is apparently lovely...I say 'apparently' as I forgot about it when we left the castle and headed for the campsite! (we'll get there next time!)

    The campsite was just a 10 minute drive from the castle on the shores of the Loch....Kinloch!

    http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/campsites/uk/scotland/scottish-isles/isle-of-skye/126-kinloch

    Really lovely here again.. and more bays! A red early Danbury (went to say hello but the owners were away for a walk) and a Beryl Green Tintop. Went over for a chat. This was another hired van by a Dutch Couple. It had the same interior as ours so we compared notes ;-)

    Again....owners lovely (think it was £11 for the night) and park where you like. We manoeuvred ourselves to get a lovely view from the sliding door. Also met a nice chap who was from Northern Ireland camping with his girlfriend. I went for a nosey round his Citroen pickup van camper type thing. Had a cool pop top roof type affair. Turned out her used to own a bay but the rust got the better of him.



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    A breezy site due to the location and the facilities were lovely. Oh...I hadn't had any phone signal now for a few days but I reacquainted myself with payphones. My girls thought they were prehistoric!
     
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  15. Oh...just for the record; I use campingaz (due to cupboard size) and by this point my first bottle had ran out. I had tried a couple of places with no luck. Apparently you can get it at Portree at a place called 'Jans Vans'. We managed to get a bottle at the Kinloch campsite. Calor is easier to find at petrol stations.

    More tomorrow!
     
  16. After Kinloch we headed to Portree for a while. Nice shops and the harbour is worth a visit. Had a wander and a spot of lunch before picking up supplies and heading up to the beautiful Camus More...

    http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/campsites/uk/scotland/scottish-isles/isle-of-skye/39-camus-more

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    I'd rang the previous night from Kinloch to make sure there was space; "Oh no problem, we have plenty of spaces" came the reply.

    After an hour or so of more lovely driving (including some more hills!) we arrived. There was a German plated Lupo in the camping field and us. Fabulous! Now this place is VERY basic but amongst my favourite sites. By basic we are talking about a shed with a boy's and girl's toilet/sink and a double Belfast sink outside with a hose pipe and cold water only. This was another location with a superb view from the toilet door! Had a chat with the German couple about how to pay! The lady who owns the croft popped by later on for a chat but proved hard to pay; "Oh I'll catch you later on!"

    The German couple had spotted us around the island and had been at Glenbrittle (I recognised their cool Lupo). They had a tour of the van and had loads of questions....a bit 'coals to Newcastle' really!

    The setting was breath taking and involved a lot of looking out to sea and sighing!

    [​IMG]

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    One other van arrived (another hire van; a Toyota thing)

    Paid the next day (£8) and met the owners dog :) The Germans headed off early as they were getting the ferry to Harris from Uig (which is nearby). Hoping to do the same next time.

    This was the Thursday and we were planning to get home on the Friday so this involved a longer drive (so far it'd been about an hour per day on Skye). We trundled off and had a glorious drive down the East Coast of Skye (seeing more Bays en route) towards the Skye Bridge and into the Kyle of Lochalsh. After refuelling we continued our drive to our last stop; Kinlochleven.

    http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/campsites/uk/scotland/western-scotland/argyll/41-caolasnacon?search=http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/search?q=kinlochleven&index=0&count=1

    Now up until now our only breakage had been the window winder handle which meant a swap over in Oban. As we drove into our final site the charging light came on...I stopped suspecting a broken fan belt but was met with the sight of a red hot smoking Alternator....
     
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  17. We limped into the campsite and set up on the loch side. This site was a bit of a contrast to the last one! The setting was superb and it felt like you were away from everything but Glencoe etc is just down the road (actually we were pretty close to the Red Squirrel site again). It was busy with caravans, a few statics, motorhomes and tents. We parked at the front so we had loch views. Facilities were 'ok-ish'.

    This was our view upon arrival...

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    Had a wander up the loch side and spotted folk on the opposite bank camping; looked like a nice spot too. Girls had a great time splashing about in the streams. Folk had campfires on the beach and some folk were swimming and paddling out on the water.

    Our last morning looked like this-

    [​IMG]

    The harr soon burnt off leaving us with really hot day to travel the 100 or so miles home. The alternator had obviously cooled down by now but a quick check with the multimeter confirmed it was dead! Had a test drive and it wasn't over heating anymore so we winged it home. Drove back and were treated to more beautiful roads and views back to our home.

    Pulled the engine on the Saturday morning and the alternator bearings had given up the ghost. Fitted a spare, checked my fuel breathers and found the pipe behind the spare was perished (was getting occasional petrol whiffs after filling up and doing left-handers), serviced the engine, fitted a new shiny stainless tailpipe I'd been bought and replaced the clutch release bearing. Back out on the road in the afternoon.

    I have more photos I took on the SLR, I'll pop some up later if anyone's interested?
     
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  18. Right..last photos

    Kinloch;

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    Room with a view! (Camus more)

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    En suite facilities....

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    And last but not least....another loo with a view!

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    Hoping to do more of the same in two weeks :)
     
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  19. Oh, just found a couple more...

    Arisaig...

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    ....and another of Glenbrittle (spot the second bay!)

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    I might get that last one as a print :)
     
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  20. Indeed! Safely back in the Kingdom....but soon to venture west again!
     
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