Camusdarach must surely be one of Britain’s best all-round holiday destinations, but before getting into all the usual stuff, perhaps an explanation of the philosophy behind the running of the place may partially explain why a simple campsite can feel so thoroughly salubrious, and why everybody seems so relaxed and friendly while camping at Camusdarach.
Taking up the reins from previous owners the Simpsons, new proprietors Jonny and Val Stuart have continued the eco-conscious efforts of their predecessors. Everything is eco-driven and completely sustainable to retain the natural beauty of this extremely special place.
Most of the day-to-day landscape management is done by a small flock of endangered Hebridean sheep, while the trendy and very plush toilet block (renewable softwood) releases effluents into gravel beds and wetlands planted with specific plants whose job it is to detoxify the environment they grow in. There has been no artificial landscaping of the two camping fields, because none is needed, and this whole philosophy of respecting nature and doing everything possible to fit in with it shines through to the everyday outlook of the running of the site. It’s informal and friendly, and campers are treated as intelligent individuals, all of which is partly responsible for that indefinable feeling of wellbeing. In turn, everybody respects their neighbours and the site.
However, no matter how well run or eco-friendly a campsite may be, it is only really as good as the opportunities around it, and Camusdarach is engulfed by them. First and foremost are the seaside scenes that the site nestles among, with miles of dunes giving way to blindingly white sandy beaches. You can walk for miles along the strands here, never really coming to terms with the fact that this really is north-western Scotland, and not the Caribbean. The islands of Skye, Rum, Eigg, Canna and Muck punctuate the horizon across the azure waters, and you just can’t help but feel good in this vision of paradise.
Many come here for a week and never move a motorised wheel for the whole duration, such is the basic appeal of the immediate surroundings, but another ‘however’ is due here, for the natural beauty of this area isn’t restricted to this glorious seaside fringe. Visitors should turn their eyes inland to the lochs and hills for further inspiration, firstly towards Loch Morar, the deepest sheet of freshwater in Britain.
From this superb little campsite, set in seaside heaven, you can stumble out every day and gasp incredulously for weeks if the weather plays at all fair. And it often does here. There’s nothing more to say and nothing more to write, as coming here is the only way to truly understand the feeling that this place provokes.
FacilitiesSuperb modern eco-block containing free showers, toilets, washbasins, disabled facilities, baby-changing, dishwashing and laundry. A mobile shop visits twice weekly. Free WiFi across the site.
Food & Drink
Visit the on-site takeaway offering everything from freshly baked croissants and Pain au Chocolat to bacon rolls, venison burgers and wood fired pizzas. There is also an on-site shop stocking basic supplies and selling fabulous coffee. The Morar Hotel (01687 462346), has a public bar equipped with a great selection of malt whiskies, and the Silver Sands restaurant has a stunning view out over the beaches of Morar. Food is mainly traditional with salmon, trout, and venison on offer. The Cnoc-na-Faire Hotel (01687 450249) at Arisaig is highly recommended for its good food, while there is also a Thai takeaway (01687 462259) in Morar.
Opening TimesMar - Oct.
Camusdarach, Arisaig, Inverness-shire PH39 4NT
Head to Fort William where Shiel Buses (01967 431272) operate a service to Mallaig that stops at Arisaig’s post office. It’s a hefty walk from there, though, so it’s best to book a taxi while en route. Camusdarach's website has a comprehensive list of alternative options, including helicopter charters if you really want to arrive in style.
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