8th Sept to 21st Sept 2018
We had frequently talked about visiting the Hebrides. There had been a few TV programmes showing the white beaches and the remote landscape. So in 2018 we decided to go and look for ourselves, in a RollerTeam 747 motorhome.
The route we chose encompassed Mull, South Uist, North Uist, Lewis and Harris, as well as a few favorite spots on the west coast of mainland Scotland. A round trip of about 2000 miles over 2 weeks with 4 ferries journeys between the islands.
8th Sept 2018 – Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Our first stop, after the long drag up the motorway, was on the shores of Loch Lomond. Milarrochy Bay is a lovely site with all the facilities you would expect of a club site on the quieter side of the Loch (opposite Luss).
To blow the cobwebs away after the long drive, and get into the relaxed holiday spirit, we took some time out to walk the hill at the back of the site. The circular route was only about 4 miles but climbed 1500ft so a good starter for this trip. Being September in Scotland, the weather is not predictable. It seemed to run on 20 minute cycles. Heavy rain, sun, rainbow and heavy rain again. We got absolutely soaked at the top and were both dry again before we got back to the motorhome.
10th Sept 2018 – Leachive Caravan Park
We then headed west toward the coast, travelling past Inverary and along the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde to Leachive Caravan Park. We chose this site because we wanted to visit the Crinan Canal. Although raining for most of our visit Crinan Canal is so picturesque. We will definately return when the sun is shining.
11th Sept 2018 – Shieling Holiday Park
Our next adventure was to take the motorhome on it’s first ferry. We drove up to Oban and boarded the ferry to Craignure Ferry – Mull. Absolutely nothing to worry about really. There was plenty of room on-board to maneuver and park the motorhome (even one this size) and getting on and off was a breeze. The only one of us that was concerned was Finlay. We couldn’t stay in the motorhome during the crossing so we had to go upstairs. Whilst the stairs were no problem for him, he was a little uneasy during the crossing, being not sure what was happening on board the ship.
Whilst on Mull we stayed at Shieling Holiday Park. We choose this park for a couple of reasons: it’s location close to the shore (our motorhome was parked within 3m of the waters edge); and it’s proximity to the ferry terminal as the day already looked full after getting to Oban and then the crossing. The site itself was a real bonus and in retrospect one of the better sites on this trip.
The same can be said of the island of Mull, but with greater emphasis. This was the best of the islands we visited in my opinion. Especially Tobermory – such a picturesque little town with a calm and peaceful feel to it. Definitely going back.
13th Sept 2018 – Silversands Caravan And Campsite
Our next stop involved a further ferry. This time from Tobermory Ferry – Mull to Kilchoan Ferry back on the mainland. We then drove up the west coast to Portnaluchaig and the Silversands Caravan And Campsite. This was a stop over before we took another ferry from Mallaig to South Uist, but as it’s name suggested, the beach was a fine white sand and the views superb, so we took a walk with Finlay.
14th Sept 2018 – Kilbride campsite
The Mallaig Ferry to Lochboisdale on South Uist was the longest of our ferry journeys this trip at just over 4 hours. Finlay was by now used to the routine.
Kilbride campsite, as with almost all of South Uist, was fairy flat, treeless and windy. Admittedly it was the autumn, but there’s little to shelter from the elements. The cafe at the campsite serves a great breakfast and the site has direct access to another stunning white beach just outside to door of the motorhome.
15th Sept 2018 – Balranald Campsite
We then moved up the island to North Uist and the Balranald Campsite. Another stunning location however our pitch was facing across the direction of the wind. We didn’t get much sleep that night. We soon cheered up in the morning though. Another stunning beach just outside to door of the motorhome that we took advantage of with a refreshing 3 mile walk.
16th Sept 2018 – Laxdale Holiday Park
Our next island hop was to Lewis and Harris. We took the Berneray Ferry to Leverburgh and then meandered up the island to Stornaway (Laxdale Holiday Park) . It was quite late when we arrived at the site, but it wasn’t a site we felt comfortable with. Our initial impression was that it was too crowded and had no views or atmosphere – maybe we had just been spoiled. Anyway, instead of spending 2 nights there we left for the early ferry the next morning back to the mainland.
18th Sept 2018 – Blair Castle Caravan Park
The ferry landed at Ullapool and after the disappointment of Stornaway and the weather forecast of another storm coming in, we decided to skip the journey up to Durness and head straight to Blair Atholl (Blair Castle Caravan Park). Blair Atholl is a village at the southern edge of the Cairngorms Nation Park and has been a go-to place for us for more than 20 years. We discovered it on a motorhome trip when the kids were tiny and have been going back once or twice a year ever since.
The campsite is in the grounds of the Castle and is the best site we know of. We have used the motorhome pitches, static caravans and latterly the Woodland Lodges – all on numerous occasions. At Whit, the Castle hosts a Highland Gathering where the Atholl Highlanders (the only private army in the UK) parade through the village with their guns, pipes and drums, culminating in Highland Games. The true flavour of old Scotland, especially when mixed with Abroath Smokies and a wee dram (or three).
One of the highlights for us is the availability of an abundance of walks starting right at the camp site. There’s nothing better than 10 miles in the hills followed by a few pints and a pub meal next to an open fire in the Atholl Arms – Bothy Bar.