Glen Nevis Holidays
Towering at 4,408 ft, Ben Nevis is a hulk of a mountain, a vast, looming chunk of rock known to many Scots simply as ‘The Ben’. It’s probably not the most classically proportioned of all Scotland’s mountains, but it certainly catches the eye and the wider setting is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country. The feet of the mountain roll into a rugged natural landscape enlivened with the sound of water and garnished with herds of shaggy Highland cattle grazing the valley floor. The place is postcard-ready. In fact, trawl the local post office and the cards simply don’t do it all justice – this is one you’ll have to see in the flesh (or...erm... granite).
Glen Nevis Holidays is the very campsite to come to to experience this sublime landscape. Nestled in the narrow plain below the mountains it couldn’t be closer to the action if it tried. Not one to arrive at in the dead of night, though, this a campsite where the approach should definitely be savoured – don’t rush, you are on holiday after all. The quiet, valley-floor road offers a glorious glimpse of what awaits you. Heather-clad mountains cascade down on either side and fleeting shots of the river Nevis flicker into view as it rambles along, parallel to the road. The campsite entrance is not hard to miss, fronted by its reception and shop building, and beyond the vast space of a 30-acre site anticipates your arrival.
30-acres probably sounds like a lot. And it is. This is a pretty massive site catering for the high demand for proper out-of-doors accommodation around these parts. But don’t let size put you off, the campsite has a thoroughly welcoming feel and the manicured fields are nicely screened by trees and hedges. There are nine different camping fields in total, four for motorhomes and five for those looking for a soft patch of grass to peg down on. In summertime, the tent fields are a wonderfully sociable place, full of outdoorsy types spreading their maps across the grass and fingering their way along the next day’s hiking conquest. Facilities are excellent and the picnic tables dotted around each field are a very welcome touch.
As lovely as the campsite is, it is somewhat overshadowed by it’s surroundings and you won’t be sitting at those picnic tables for long. The landscape beckons you beyond the boundaries and, whatever the time of year, there are adventures to be had. Take the low-level walk along to the dramatic Nevis gorge, with impressive falls and rapids that open into a secret valley carpeted with wildflowers. For something more challenging tackle Ben Nevis itself or join one of the neighbouring (and slightly quieter) routes on the next-door peaks. On a clear day you can enjoy the full, awe inspiring vistas below, the U-shaped glacial valley streaming off towards Loch Eil in the distance. From here it’s easy to see what makes Glen Nevis such a special place and if you bag a good picture then you’ve already sorted out that postcard problem. Print it off and pen it down – “look at this picture I took of Glen Nevis, you’ve got to come see it for yourself!”
The whole site benefits from fantastic views of the Nevis mountain range. There are 5 tent specific fields with 24 electrical hook-up points for use. Washrooms with toilets, free hot showers, wash hand basins, razor points and hand dryers. Disabled customers have private facilities with full wheelchair access including shower. Launderette with washing machines, tumble dryers and ironing facilities, as well as sinks for hand washing clothes. Dish wash and food preparation sinks. Picnic tables throughout the park. Children’s play area with an area for ball games. Well stocked onsite shop (8am–7pm) with ice-pack freezing for use. Guests are welcome to explore all 1,000 acres of the Glen Nevis Estate during their stay!
Everyone! Tents, campervans, caravans, motorhomes, families, couples, groups (by prior arrangement), dogs...
Walking is the main activity here, with endless routes strung out in all directions. Many will try and take on the beast that is Ben Nevis (01397 703781) – a challenge that's manageable by all in good weather but something only for the experienced in winter months. To enjoy the views without the blisters you can also take a gondola (01397 705825) up the slopes of the Nevis Range from Fort William, giving you a helpful head-start as you explore the local peaks. The West Highland Way also passes through Glen Nevis at the end of a 95-mile walk from Glasgow. Fort William is a popular destination for cyclists. Nearby forests have a network of tracks that make for ideal routes and there are plenty of purpose-built cycle paths in the area. The off-road trails are just as exceptional – Fort William hosts the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Take the gondola for a chance to experience the world class downhill track – not for the faint hearted! Watersports fans will find a wealth on offer both at sea and on the lochs, plus there is the greatest railway journey in the UK (08456 015929), Inverlochy Castle (01397 702177), The Caledonian Canal, the West Highland Museum (01397 702169) and iconic Eilean Donan Castle (01599 555202).
Food & Drink
The Glen Nevis Restaurant (01397 705459) is on the edge of the site, where they serve lunch, coffee, cakes and snacks. A food van also visits between May and August serving breakfast rolls in the mornings and fish and chips for supper. Just down the road the Ben Nevis Inn (01397 701227) is the definition of rustic and, of course, a decent place to start or end any walk up to the UK's tallest mountain. Food is served daily from midday. Other than that, drive the 5 minutes into Fort William, a treasure trove of eateries and pubs, there's plenty of choice. Our pick is the Crannog Restaurant (01397 705 589), a haven for the freshest of seafood.
Mid March – early November.
The children's play area may be small but that's because the surroundings are oh so big. Set below the 'mountain of heaven' Glen Nevis Holidays is in the middle of the UK's largest and most spectacular natural playground.
Stagecoach operate a daily bus service from Fort William bus station to Glen Nevis, which runs two or three times a day in the summer. By train there is a regular train service from Glasgow to Fort William operated by ScotRail. You can travel directly to Fort William from London by travelling on the Caledonian Sleeper.
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