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Car camping in Scotland

My daughter and I are going to be in Scotland from August 11-16. We are staying at a hotel in Dunblane on the 12-13th. We wanted to visit Eilean Donan castle and the standing stones of Callanish. We thought we would leave Dunblane early on the 14th, drive up to see the castle, then go see the standing stones. We were going to spend the night in the area, then perhaps drive to Inverness the next morning, and then drive into Edinburgh to spend the night before leaving for our flight on the 16th. Is there anywhere near these places to park a car and camp overnight? How does one get from the Dornie (where the castle is) to the stones? Thanks!!
Tena

Posted by
9110 posts

Before you get too excited about camping, make sure you can make the connections. The ferries run between Uig/Tarbert and Ullapool/Stornoway. CalMac owns the boats. I've never done the run from Skye, but for the northern route figure three and a half hours from getting in the line to getting off the boat. The Callanish circles are about a half hour from Stornoway. You could dash through the large circle in an hour including walking up and down the hill. Figure an hour for each of the smaller circles by the time you get to each one, climb fences, hop dung, etc. It's a couple of hours of driving from Dornie to Ullapool. I haven't driven Skye in a long time; Uig is closer, but the roads are slow so the time is probably about the same. Tarbert to the stones is well more than an hour, but I've never made that direct run. I don't see how you can pull it off without spending the night on Lewis due to the ferry schedules. The only camping spots similar to what I think you mean (I've no idea what car camping is unless it's like sleeping In a highway rest area) is caravan parks and they're in the wrong direction out of Stornoway. The Heb Hostel is pretty darn nice and they have one all-girl room upstairs somewhere. Stornoway has several places with good grub. Ullapool is kind of limited. Study the schedules (and prices - - RT for two and a car is probably close to a couple hundred bucks). I'm betting that you'd have to take the late ferry over, spend two nights, and take the first boat back. It's a good chunk of time out of the precious little you have. If you catch the early ferry to Ullapool coming back to the mainland, you can easily dork around the Caledonian and the lochs and make Inverness by dark.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi.... sadly I think all the timings are against you to make callanish..unless you want to spend 2 days chasing the clock.. fraught About a half mile after the castle and just over the viaduct is the community hall Theres casual camping on the foreshore, the toilets do get locked overnight thought.There is a drinking water tap on the wall facing the loch.
I've sent a message too.

Posted by
5579 posts

I would agree that you're not going to make it to Callanish. They are really far a way. There are other standing stones and circles. Admittedly, the ones I know of that are within easy reach are not as dramatic. But, the Clava Cairns are very near Inverness and you can drive there easily. I looked on Visit Scotland and didn't immediately see any camping near Kyle of Lochalsh. There are camping places however near Inverness. I see that there are some in Fortrose on the Black Isle. And when I searched on Accomodation and Camp here I found possibilities. Pam

Posted by
1598 posts

The Kilmartin Glen, about 30 miles south of Oban, has some very nice standing stones and a stone circle. That area would be a lot easier to reach than Callanish. We did the Uig - Tarbert ferry out to Callanish in 2010. It's a beautiful area to visit, but it is very remote and takes quite a bit of time to reach from Kyle of Lochalsh where the castle is. When we went the ferry schedules pretty much required us to stay two nights on Lewis. If you really want to go there, combine the trip with time on Skye.....Lots of things are closed on Lewis on Sundays, try to schedule your visit for other days.

Posted by
5579 posts

There is lots to see on Skye. It's a bigger island than you first think! Neist Point Lighthouse is really impressive with views across the Little Minch to the Outer Hebrides. It's past Dunvegan. Dun Beag Broch is on the way to Dunvegan and is worth a stop. Portree's painted houses are pretty, but there is not much to see and do in town. There is a helpful TI. Another idea would be to drive around the Trotternish. There is beautiful scenery and you can see the Old Man of Storr before he falls off. :) And on the north side there are some standing stones near Kensaleyrie right on the side of the road. Near Skeanbost there is a small graveyard that has a crusader's grave. It was a peaceful place. Here's an interesting link. A third idea would be to drive to Elgol and take a a boat trip over to see the Cuillins. I did this with my sister years ago and revisited Elgol again a few years ago. It's a lovely drive and it's worth the boat trip. Pam

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks to all for your replies! We have decided to skip Callanish and just explore Skye.

Posted by
8 posts

Good choice, think thats the best use of you time. Pamelas suggestions are all good! The drive round to elgol is pretty spectacular, and the cuillin are as good as it gets for Uk landscape, think it won the prize as britains favourite view on the bbc last year. I'll throw in, if you do a loop round the north of the island, the highland black house museumn. You might also spend the night at the Lookout,its the MBA bothy just above Rubhna Hunnish. Has a 270 view of the ocean, and across to the outer isles.
its only about a mile from the road, theres a well made track.

Posted by
332 posts

Skye is beautiful, and it's probably wise that you chose to skip Callanish. However, having said that, it's definitely worth a trip someday. Just plan to spend more time on the Isle of Lewis (and Harris!). There are beautiful beaches there that if you were just looking at them in a picture you'd swear were in the Caribbean. The noticeable lack of condos, though, gives it away. (Oh, and the Gaelic signs here and there.)