Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping Park
Some Scottish campsites enjoy an epic setting shrouded by mountains, others sit by an ice-blue loch or huddle by a wee burn that ripples through the heart of the site. Caolasnacon boasts all three, as well as catatonically relaxed owners who let campers pitch where they want and light campfires too. Yes, they take caravans and have some statics, but they also treat campers with respect and nothing really detracts from what is definitely the most appealing campsite in the area.
The pitches by the loch are ideal for kayakers and canoeists, who can just launch out into Loch Leven, while walkers will want to pitch further inland for the easiest access to the mountains – the Mamores across the water to the north, and Glen Coe’s epic mountainscapes to the south.
A glorious scene, then, and one would assume life really couldn’t get any better – but it can, and has. During one of our Cool Camping stays here – at that gloriously still point in the evening when shadows began lengthening as the sun slipped away – a family of otters emerged from the seaweed and undergrowth on the margins of the loch. We had to rub the disbelief from our eyes before watching them play happily in the shallows for over an hour, barely 10 metres from us.
These squeak-emitting little web-toed critters aren’t the only wildlife to be spotted around this scenic idyll, though. Come morning and the sky is alive with buzzards soaring across the loch, while resident golden eagles patrol the mountain slopes behind the site. The usual signs of human activity feel a safe distance away. With all this surrounding natural beauty, you could be forgiven for thinking that Caolasnacon is buried away hundreds of miles from anywhere else and therefore near-impossible to reach, but it isn’t; the main road from Glasgow to Fort William is handily just three miles away, at Glencoe.
More sedentary souls can take a trip on one of the world’s great railway journeys, the West Highland Line, from the bustling nearby tourist hub of Fort William. Many new arrivals soon ditch their grand touring plans, though, and just idle by the loch soaking up the epic views and scanning the water, wild hillsides and big skies.
Caolasnacon provides a unique opportunity to get away from it all, among some of the most appealing and least spoilt scenery in the land but, amazingly, remains within easy reach of all those modern conveniences that make camping life enjoyable, whatever the weather has in store.
FacilitiesCampfires allowed. Clean and efficient washrooms with decent showers. Not the most modern, but decent enough, with free hot water, toilets, washbasins, washing-up sinks, laundry and electric hook-ups. Gas can be obtained at the farm. Undercover chemical disposal point.
Tents, campervans, dogs, caravans, big groups, young groups – yes.
Food & Drink
The legendary Clachaig Inn (01855 811252) may infamously refuse to serve Campbells, but otherwise this is a welcoming Glen Coe pub amid epic mountain scenery. On the opposite shores of the eponymous loch, Lochleven Seafood Café (01855 821048) is one of Europe’s finest places to savour shellfish. In Kinlochleven (3 miles), it is just one of several choices, depending on what you’re looking for: Bothan Bar (01855 831100) open from 4pm, in the Ice Factor, is quite trendy, with appropriate food; MacDonald’s (01855 831539), not to be confused with the fast-food joint, offers traditional hotel fare as well as packed lunches for walks; and the Tail Race Inn (01855 831772) is a simple pub doing simple food.
Opening TimesApril – October inclusive (or Easter, if earlier).
50 pitches, those near the loch can be windy, but it does give some protection against the midges.
No availability showing at Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping Park.
Highland Country’s (01463 222244) No. 44 bus runs between Fort William and Kinlochleven.
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