Okay, this isn’t my snappiest blog post title:) I just hope it does what it says on the tin. If you’re looking for some short and honest reviews of some of Scotland’s campsites and ideas for places to pull in for the night. We planned our three week tour around Scotland with some blind optimism early in the year, not knowing if we would even be able to travel beyond Lancashire and as far as Scotland at the time. This is mostly why we used five Caravan and Motorhome Club [CAMC] sites [online booking, no deposit and able to amend bookings, thank you].
In comparison the Camping & Caravanning Club [C&CC] require either full payment or deposit so we didn’t book Moffat and Glenmore C&CC sites quite so early. We booked these in advance when travel looked more certain, aware that we might be risking our deposit. We didn’t book Glencoe C&CC site until the day before we arrived and while we were on the road.
Apart from the location and the view, CAMC sites are generally of a similar standard. The C&CC sites do vary more. We are members of both clubs and do like to use their sites, but I do also like the unpredictable nature and therefore excitement of arriving at an independent site, not knowing what to expect. And a good overnight spot in a small car park or lay-by that we have to ourselves can be the most relaxing night of all.
Of the non-club sites we stayed on during this trip, Spey Bay Golf Club is worth a mention. A golf club and a campsite isn’t something I had come across before but it worked extremely well. The clean toilets and showers were shared with the golfers who were mostly out on the greens playing golf so they were always quiet. Quite a few pitches were taken up with seasonal caravans so it could be that the site gets busier at the weekends and school holidays. A laundry and wash up area was all that was missing in terms of facilities. A few keen golfers arrived quite early in the morning so be warned you might not get the lie in you wanted if you are near to the car park and in the summer a few play late into the evening. If there was an event being held in the club house you might have a disturbed evening too.
Spey Bay is on the mouth of the River Spey and has sea views and a stunning and dynamic shingle beach that is perfect for a bit of beach combing. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Dolphin Centre is here too, they have a gift shop, organise tours of the large historic ice houses left over from the salmon fishing station and run a fantastic cafe with delicious cakes. Otherwise, there are no shops, pubs or restaurants and it is a peaceful spot.
We chose the campsite as we have a friend who lives in Fochabers, a charming small town which is an easy four plus miles walk through woodland along the Speyside Way. The beautifully restored Gordon Castle Walled Garden in Fochabers is certainly worth a visit if you are in the area for the fascinating flower, vegetable and fruit gardens and has a good cafe. If you don’t have friends to visit then there are plenty of other activities. Walk about five miles to the east along the coast and you get to the small fishing town of Buckie. You can pick up a bus to Fochabers from here and make a round trip of it. The National Cycle Route One crosses the viaduct near Spey Bay over the River Spey to Garmouth and you could follow this to Elgin and visit the ruined cathedral.
One small note with these comments – I like very hot showers! My partner usually finds the showers hot enough.
|Moffat Caravan & Camping Club (C&CC) site||A large & level site, 5 minutes walk from the lovely Moffat town centre & my favourite Cafe Ariete. Friendly staff, clean modern facilities, showers push button & just about hot enough for me, wash up outdoors with a roof. We both had a phone signal. Good value at under £20/night. There are options for walks around Moffat and at the weekends we could buy wood-fired pizza from a stall at the gate.|
|Maragowan CAMC, Killin||A linear site along the river with open views to the hills and a short walk from the centre of Killin. There is some road noise but if you can get one of the riverside pitches you’ll love it. We spent hours watching the wildlife on the river from our pitch. The facilities are old but functional & the showers are hot. In spring the signposted walk by Loch Tay and the River Dochart to the falls is idyllic and there is good mountain walking nearby.|
|Victoria Bridge near Bridge of Orchy||This is a small car park with a slope that is popular with vans and tents for overnighting but still peaceful.|
|Glencoe C&CC site||A large site with a mix of open views & trees, hard standing pitches are a good size & level. The water from the taps in the laundry & wash up is scalding hot but only warm in the showers. We only spent one night here but there are walking and cycling options if you are here longer.|
|Morvich CAMC site, Glen Shiel||We received a particularly friendly welcome at this pleasant site surrounded by mountains. We were very surprised to get a phone signal for EE and 3 in such a remote spot. Good hot showers, peaceful and great mountain and forest walking directly from the site.|
|Blackwater Falls car park near Garve||Fairly level car park with toilets. After heavy rain we couldn’t hear the main road above the roar of the waterfall. There is a 2 mile riverside walk, a phone signal and most likely other vans.|
|Broomfield Holiday Park, Ullapool||This large site has unbeatable loch views and is in the heart of Ullapool. The facilities are not brilliant but were closed due to Covid-19 on this visit. We managed to get a front pitch but needed 2 electric cables joined together for the hook up. We drove out for hill walking but in the evening walked to The Ceilidh Place for a wonderful and delicious meal.|
|Sands Caravan & Camping Site, Gairloch||A large rambling and popular site by a lovely beach and among the sand dunes with only a few marked pitches. EHU pitches are scattered about although some of the best pitches don’t have hook up. The facilities are clean & good with hot showers. No 3 or EE signal.|
|Kinlochewe CAMC site||Fantastic mountain views from many of the pitches which are all level and hard standing. We had an EE signal but nothing from 3 and the wi-fi is still only available from around the wash up / laundry area – it would be good if the CAMC could upgrade this sometime soon. Great walking directly from the site and the village has a shop and hotel.|
|A832 layby on Loch a’Chuillinn||There are a few lay-bys on this road that are screened from the traffic. The one we used was level and had a loch view. Two other vans joined us when we were there and we had a 3 and EE signal.|
|Spey Bay Golf Club campsite||A small level site by the club house and car park. Clean facilities with good hot showers, no wash up or laundry. Both 3 and EE had a signal. Good walking along the coast and the River Spey.|
|Dalchum Bridge car park, Glen Road, Newtonmore||A fairly level car park with open views down the glen that is popular with vans and tents. An overnight here meant we could be sure of a parking place to walk up the hill the next morning.|
|Glenmore C&CC (Camping in the Forest), Aviemore||A busy and large site with two facilities blocks. There are grass and hard standing pitches of varying sizes and pitches come with and without EHU. The showers are hot & push button. You can walk around the lake or in Rothiemurchus Forest and up mountains. There are buses towards Aviemore.|
|Strathclyde Country Park CAMC site, Glasgow||This is a well kept and tidy site with colourful trees and bushes. Its only drawback is being so close to the M74 and a dual carriageway and so the traffic noise is constant. We did take a walk in the country park but that is also noisy. It did make a comfortable and good stopover.|
|New England Bay CAMC site, Port Logan||Right by the beach and with sea views, this is a grassy site that is strung out with bushes and trees dividing different areas. There are two facilities blocks of the usual standard. An EE signal here but nothing from 3 (again). Good coastal walking from the site and the Logan Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit.|
|Kirroughtree Forest Park Visitor Centre, Newton Stewart, Scotland||A slightly sloping large car park surrounded by trees but with some views to the hills. The payment of £6 can only be made in cash when the visitor centre is closed. There are forest trails to stretch your legs on or cycle along and no shortage of midges when we visited.|