We stayed at Millarochy Bay Campsite for three nights in between first travelling to Scotland and beginning our hike further north on the West Highland Way. One things it’s worth saying at the outset, as this is unusual in our experience, is that the campsite doesn’t suffer from midges. Many other places that we stayed during our Scottish tour was invested with midges to such an extent that you couldn’t stay outside of your tent between about 6pm and sundown unless there was a stiff wind blowing, but at Milarrochy this wasn’t the case. This is a huge plus point in Milarrochy Bay’s favour in our opinion.
We traveled to the campsite from London first on the Scotrail Caledonian Sleeper (http://www.scotrail.co.uk/sleeper)…
…and then, after taking a short local train ride to Balloch, we continued by Sweeney’s Cruises across Loch Lomond to Balmaha (http://www.sweeneyscruises.com/).
Location – The campsite is about 2kms north of the village of Balmaha, which you can reach by ferry or bus from Balloch, the end of the train line from Glasgow. You can also drive direct to the campsite. If you’re getting off the ferry at Balmaha look for the metal bridge on your left; this is the beginning of your pathway to the campsite. It’s a shady, flat scenic walk, and not at all difficult.
Reception and Check In – There’s a small shop at reception, and another in the town of Balmaha. We were booked in for a single tent pitch and we were given a choice of where to camp. Here’s the view from the actual West Highland Way as you reach the site entrance.
Here’s a short film I made on arrival. It’s not meant to be a glossy promo video, just an honest look at what you’ll find at the campsite if you stay there.
The Pitch – There’s a large space in which to pitch, centered around a shady grove. The ground is flat and is soft; we didn’t need a mallet or any other help to drive our tent pegs in.
There were fresh water standpipes dotted around the park, we had two within a minute’s walk of our tent.
On one side of the grove is a backpacker’s facility. This is a building consisting of a cooking and eating space, lockers and toilets and showers. Lots of people use this campsite as a staging point on their way north on the West Highland Way, and all of them are camping, so it’s nice that this building has been erected. The weather in Scotland, we found, wasn’t as bad as we’d been led to believe but it was often wet so to have a dry place in which to cook, eat and air out clothes, outside of the tent, is a blessing. Here’s how the backpacker facility looks.
Here are some other photos taken of, or from, our tent.
Here are some other photos of different parts of the park, showing various pitches.
As you can see, many of the pitches are right on the Loch-side. There’s a pier that you can swim off (the water was lovely when we were there, about 16 degrees, we were swimming every day) and two small beaches within five minutes walk of all pitches.
The Facilities – The main shower block is always very clean. We never had to wait for a shower, there are plenty of cubicles. There was also lockable cubicles for washing/shaving in. Showers were free, the hot water constant and there was plenty of space in each cubicle to get changed and store clothes whilst getting showered.
In the same building are dish-washing and clothes-washing rooms.
We enjoyed our stay at Milarrochy Bay Campsite. It’s completely silent at night so you’re ensured a good night’s sleep and as we said at the beginning of this review, the site seems to be devoid of midges. The swimming is also very good here and it’s right on the West Highland Way so perfect for hikers. As for families, there’s a kid’s play area and also a dog walking area at the northern end of the park and kids were playing there until beyond sundown most nights. It’s hard to think of a healthier, safer place to holiday if you’ve a young family, we reckon.
To discover more, please visit http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/glasgow/nrdrymen/milarrochybay