We stayed at Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping Park for three nights whilst taking a break from hiking the West Highland Way (the Way passes through the village of Kinglochleven, a 3 mile walk, or bus ride, north of the campsite). It’s a quiet, scenic site on the shore of Loch Leven and in the shadow of the Glen Coe mountains run by a very friendly family. During the First World War the area was a prisoner of war camp and the dynamite store from that time (the prisoners were often employed in improving the roads of the area) is now used to store bins in the camping field whilst further inland towards the shower block are remains of the 100 year old washrooms (if you ask Gayle, who runs the site with her husband and also her mother Daisy, she’ll show you old photos and a painting of the place as it looked in the war years).
There are a number of static caravans for hire or you can pitch your tent right on the loch (see the photo below, there’s loads of room – we were there in August and saw that even if the high season people could still pitch in privacy) and even light an open fire if you wish, which is a rare luxury in campgrounds nowadays.
We traveled to Lock Lomond, where we started our West Highland Way walk, from London on the Scotrail Caledonian Sleeper (http://www.scotrail.co.uk/sleeper) which is worth the mention as it’s head and shoulders above any other mode of transport between the two places, in our opinion. You leave London late, have a bite to eat in your cabin, maybe a few drinks, then wake up in Scotland, refreshed and ready to start your holiday.
Location - The campsite is about 3 miles south of the village of Kinglochleven, which you can reach by foot on the West Highland Way or bus from Fort William. It’s also just a ten minute bus ride from Glencoe. The bus, from either Glencoe or Fort William, can drop you right outside the campground if you ask the driver. Otherwise, it’s an easy walk into the village (we did it a couple of times to get dinner, or supplies at the Co-Op shop there). Here are a couple of views of the scenery between the campsite and the village of Kinglochleven.
Reception and Check In - You check in at the white farmhouse at the top of the site, where you’ll more often than not find Daisy. Here’s a view back to the farmhouse from the site.
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 Caravan - We’d been rained on for the past four days of wild camping so we were happy to learn, when we arrived, that there was a caravan free at the site. Here’s the view as you walk down from reception to the site. Our caravan was the green one on the right in the first image.
The caravan had two bedrooms, a shower and toilet, a sitting area with a gas fire (so useful for drying out all our gear!), TV and views of the mountains, a dining area with a dinner table and a fully equipped kitchen (fridge, microwave oven, kettle and all cutlery and pans).
We’d never stayed in a caravan like this before but the appliances – such as the cooker, gas heater, shower, etc - were very easy to understand and operate. There was good TV signal and plenty of reading material regarding what to do locally (there’s loads if you love the outdoors, Glencoe is very near as is The Ice Factor, a climbing centre with the world’s largest indoor ice climbing wall). Not much more to say other than we loved our time staying in the caravan. The views from it were excellent, the facilities were all we could want, it was very quiet and extremely comfortable and if we wanted to explore further afield it didn’t take much doing as the bus stops right outside the campsite and runs every hour. Here are some views of the caravan interior. It was very spacious for us and would be fine for a party of four, we’d say.
And here are some views from the caravan, and of the area of the site that the other caravans sit on.
The Pitches – For camping, the ground down by the loch is mostly level (in some places there’s a slight tilt towards the loch, nothing much though and if you want to pitch further back, then that’s completely flat) and offer amazing views.
Here’s a view standing with the loch at my back, looking towards the main tent area.
There’s also another tent pitching area by the river, for guests who wish to stay longer.
There’s a pathway that leads along the loch-side, we often saw campers along there foraging for driftwood that they could put on their open fires. Fires aren’t encouraged in the midst of the main camping area, for obvious reasons (you might catch somebody’s tent alight) but if you use your common sense, as many do, you can have one near your tent. We loved the views to be had at sundown from this pathway. Here’s a few examples.
The sheltered area of loch to the right of the camping area is also very good for swimming, as long as you understand that it’s going to be cold!
The Facilities - We never had to use the shower block as our caravan had shower and toilet fitted, but we did check the facilities out on a few occasions and always them to be very clean. Showers are free, the hot water constant and there was plenty of space in each cubicle to get changed and store clothes whilst getting showered. Here are a couple of views; blue is the men’s area, purple the ladies.
Glencoe – A ten minute bus ride away is Glencoe. Do your homework before you visit and you can see some nice views here (take care though as the area is well set up for car drivers so unless you work out where the best footpaths are, you might well be spending a lot of time walking on the verge of the busy main road that runs through the valley). Here are some photos that we took when we visited Glencoe for the day.
We really enjoyed our stay at Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping Park. It’s comfortable, the owners are genuinely friendly and it’s completely silent at night so you’re ensured a good sleep. The loch is scenic and good for swimming and the site isn’t far from the West Highland Way so it’s perfect for tired hikers to break their journey and rest up before the final push on to Ben Nevis and Fort William.
To discover more, please visit http://www.kinlochlevencaravans.com/