Glenbrittle Campsite & Cafe
Poor Glenbrittle, it must be like having Miss World for a sister. Skye’s Black Cuillin mountains are so jaw-droppingly beautiful that people often forget to enjoy the delights of the lowly glen at their foot. A thread of a road twists along a valley where red deer slip silently through the forests, a tumbling river forms exquisite pools of water and where, after seven sinuous miles, you will find one of the finest campsites in the country.
Glenbrittle campsite seems to have come to some peace agreement with its savage and towering mountain neighbours, allowing it to flourish quietly by their rocky flanks. The site is large but at the same time intimate, with long grass cropped into neat little sections that hold a few tents each. This, with the undulating terrain, gives the land a secretive feel: you could put 50 tents up and swear the place was half empty.
All of this makes selecting a pitch deliciously difficult. The view of the Cuillins is a gem, but no sooner do you align your tent towards it than you realise there are other treasures around. You could camp beside the riotous flowers that line the tiny stream, or next to the sleepy stretch of farmland inland from the campsite. Or how about next to a view of the beach that curves as firm and smooth as the belly of a young salmon? Whichever spot you fall in love with, you’ll soon discover that this family has more than one beauty queen…
Glenbrittle is not one of those sites with shiny toilet blocks and vast children’s playgrounds. The facilities at Glenbrittle have been upgraded, and the number of pitches has risen by 20, but the rugged simplicity of the site still attracts those in need of some serious R&R. It is a little like a Links golf course, with smooth broad fairways in which to pitch your tent and knee-deep rough in which to lose stray tent pegs.
Glenbrittle attracts an eclectic clientele from all corners of the world. You may stumble upon Scottish hippies singing ‘Ziggy Stardust’ around a fire on the beach, a gaggle of Polish climbers returning to the site, jangling their crampons and carabiners, or a quiet Japanese couple with a state-of-the-art tent and a worrying collection of sashimi knifes. Just don’t let them see the Pot Noodle you’re cooking up for your own supper.
Glenbrittle is probably most popular with climbers, who use it as a base for tackling the Cuillins, the mountain range that dominates the Skye skyline. Like a jaw full of broken teeth, it looms over Glenbrittle, blotting out the early sun. Every morning, plucky climbers can be seen setting off at dawn; climbing here is a serious business and not for the fainthearted. But even if you are not part of the crampon and carabiner crew, there are plenty of low-level adventures to be had along the peninsula. Whether you find yourself hanging from the rocks or simply relaxing on the beach, Glenbrittle is the perfect tonic for anyone who wants peace, tranquillity and a mobile phone with no signal.
There is a long sandy beach, which is sheltered enough to be safe even for toddlers to have a paddle and a number of walks from the campsite to suit all levels of climber and hill walker. Washing-up facilities, washing machine and tumble-dryer, waste disposal points and filtered mountain spring water are available for your stay. The shop is well stocked and fresh baked bread, croissants, pastries, snacks and light meals are available from our café. Fishing permits can be purchased from reception Payphone available onsite 24/7.
Suitable ForTents, caravans, campervans, dogs, backpackers, groups – yes.
NearbyDiscover the joys of Skye by hiking the infamous ridge trails or enjoy the pleasant quietness of its remote beaches. This is a real paradise for outdoor lovers, where bikers, hikers and kite-fliers have space to roam. If you’re on the souvenir hunt, pay a visit to Skyeskyns (01470 592237) to pick up a few of the island’s famous handcrafted wares or, on less outdoor-friendly days, visit the Hebridean stronghold of Dunvegan Castle (01470 521206). Alternatively, you can visit the Talisker Distillery (01478 614308) at Carbost – it's one of the smokiest, peatiest malts around.
Food & Drink
7 miles down a single-track road means this really is self-catering territory. The campsite has its own shop, which is fully stocked with everything you might need. There is a coffee machine too. If you really need a bit of civilisation, head to the Sligachan Hotel (01478 650202), where there’s a swanky restaurant and a cheaper bar. The Old Inn (01478 640205) at Carbost, 8 miles back up the single-track access road, has regular live music throughout the summer and a lively atmosphere.
Open1st April – 30th September.
Campsite shop and cafe are open daily between 8am and 6pm.
The Owner Says
Located on the west coast of the Isle of Skye at the foot of the Cuillin mountains and Loch Brittle beach, Glenbrittle Campsite is the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern living. Founded in 1961 and recently voted No.1 UK Campsite by The Daily Telegraph, the site is an ideal base camp for some of the finest climbing and hill walking in Britain and is popular with devotees of the natural site because it offers a wild camping experience with the added advantage of an on-site shop & café.
The site features 120 pitches in natural pockets spread liberally across the site and adjacent to the beautiful Loch Brittle beach. 36 electric hook-up pitches are available for touring caravans and motorhomes. Recently upgraded showers and WC facilities including separate pot wash area are connected by convenient vehicle access tracks and parking. Our shop and cafe offers everything from camping and climbing equipment to freshly baked bread, croissants, light lunches and speciality coffee from the Cuillin Coffee Co.
Our campsite wardens and baristas take great pride in giving a warm Highland Welcome and excellent customer service. They are based on site 24/7 so there is always help on hand.
OPENING TIMES 1 April-30 September Campsite shop and cafe open daily 8am–6pm (later in summer months).
BOOKING No online or advance booking facility is currently available. We operate on a first come first served basis.
HOW TO GET HERE A850 from Kyle of Lochalsh to Sligachan, then turn left onto the A863 to Dunvegan. Turn left at Drynoch and take the B8009 to Carbost. Just before Carbost, turn left at the signpost for Glenbrittle.
The only public transport to the site is by taxi, the bus will only stop at the road end which is 7 miles away. The best transport to the site is by car.
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