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.
OpenMar - Oct.
Pricing£16 for a tent and occupants on a serviced pitch.
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.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 6 reviews
THE OWNERS ATTITUDE WAS TERRIBLE
Loved this site, even stayed longer!! So relaxing can't even put it into words!! Great walks, great dunes and beaches, doggie heaven!!! Thank you!!!
Val and Jonny are wonderful hosts on this site located in what must be one of the most beautiful corners of the UK. The beach in walking distance is splendid, again a firm favourite with my children, regardless of the weather, they seem to have the attitude, there is never the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes!
The local area is wonderful as well, we've explored the islands, gone off to Skye for the day, so much to do and something enchanting about the whole place that keeps drawing us back. We go again in May/June this year and can't wait!
The site is lovely, easily the favourite we stay at. I could go on and on, but simply put, this place is fantastic, if you've never been get a holiday booked and go and enjoy!
Glorious, beautiful, wonderful
Turning onto the road which leads down to Camusdarach campsite, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd arrived on some tropical island. The sand is that bright and the water that turquoise. The campsite is no less beautiful, on the edge of woodland, with a beach just a few minutes from the site. Facilities are spotless and the sunsets incredible.
We were lucky enough to arrive in the middle of an unprecedented Scottish heatwave last year, so I can't comment on how it would fare in the rain, but to be honest I'd probably enjoy staying here whatever the weather. Recommended!
Camusdarach for my 40th birthday road trip
When we arrived in June 2012 the management of the site appeared to have just changed hands. Having said that the site was still as fantastic as the review above suggests. The pitch we had was very spacious, the facilities were fantastic and the beach was incredible. The sunset was one of the greatest we've seen. We were on a week long road trip up the west coast and this was the best site that we stayed at. I would heartily recommend it to everyone.
Camusdarach - food for the soul
Pictures. This review needs pictures. These alone would qualify Camusdarach as the No.1 place to visit on any camping trip to the west coast of Scotland. The site itself is all you require for your camping needs: excellent, friendly hosts, a good loo block with decent showers, a place to wash up your dirty pots and a level, grassy area to pitch. But to get the best out of your trip you need to take a flask of coffee (or something more convivial) and take a stroll along the track, down to the beach. Clamber among the rock pools or make pictures in the sand if you will, but best of all, sit quite still and watch the sun set over the islands across the water. Stay until your coffee is drunk and your fingers are frozen, and let the world of deadlines and demands retreat until they are nothing, and evening falls on the west coast. It is utterly idyllic and an absolute must if you long to reclaim that space in your soul where the hassles of the world have muscled in.
There's not a lot around here, and that's no bad thing. At night, you can see a million stars and ponder your navel until sleep takes you. In the morning, take yourself down to that beach again, or if you fancy more of a trip you're perfectly placed to visit much of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, including the option of visiting Skye by boat.
And, I suppose, if you're desperate for modernity, Fort William McDonalds isn't too far away by car. That at least should remind you what you're really not missing at all. Not one little bit.