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Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park: Rise of ‘wild-style’ campers

Written by Fiona

August 13 2018

Wild-style camping in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park is growing quickly. More campers are booking into “informal” campsites that offer a back-to-nature experience but with the benefit of basic facilities.

Campsites, such as Loch Chon and Sallochy, on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, have toilets and fresh water. A new site, Loch Achray, near Aberfolye, is also set to open later this summer.

At Loch Chon, which opened in March 2017, some 2000 people camped between March and September last year. Between March and May this year the numbers were almost double compared to the same period in 2017.

More than 90 per cent of campers said they would recommend Loch Chon campsite to others.

Byelaws introduced last year created “camping management zones” between March 1 and September 30 in Scotland’s original national park.

During this period, you can camp in these zones either by staying in a campsite or booking a permit to camp in a designated area.

Camping permit areas offer the more traditional wild camping experience without any facilities, enjoyed according to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, while informal campsites offer a few more home comforts.

Wild camping is permitted anywhere outside of the Camping Management Zones.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “There are lots of ways to enjoy camping in the park in the summer season, from wild camping to formal campsites with all the facilities.

“But if you’re looking for something somewhere in between, there are some great smaller informal campsites that offer the best of both worlds.

“These campsites are set in woodland and loch shore locations, with a more natural and wilder feel but still with the comfort of knowing you can book your pitch, park a car and use some basic facilities like toilets and water.”

Where to camp wild-style in the park

Loch Chon campsite

Loch Chon.

On the minor B829 road between Kinlochard and Inversnaid.

Pitches: 26 pitches for tents, many solid and weather-proofed, and including two accessible pitches.

Facilities: Toilets, running water and parking. Hire fire pits and buy firewood, midge repellent and nets.

Why?: Easily accessed from a tarmac road yet seemingly remote, the campsite is set on the shore of sheltered Loch Chon.

The pitches feel private and they are surrounded by woodland, long grass and wildflowers.

It’s fabled that Loch Chon has a resident kelpie (water spirit), as well as one of the world’s largest populations of faeries (if you choose to believe!).

Cost: Cost: £7 per adult per night. Under 16s free. Up to two dogs.

Contact: “Camping” at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/camping

Sallochy campsite

Loch Sallochy.

On the minor B837 road between Drymen and Rowardennan.

Pitches: 30

Facilities: Toilets, running water and parking.

Why?: The informal tents-only site is located amid an ancient Oakwood forest on the eastern shore of iconic Loch Lomond.

There are many walking, cycling and watersports opportunities nearby and the site is close to the West Highland Way and the mountain Ben Lomond.

Cost: £7 per person per night. Children aged 5 to 15, £1. Under 5s free.

Contact: Sallochy wardens on 01360 870142 or [email protected] between March and October.

The Cabin at Loch Lubnaig

On the A84 on the eastern shore of Loch Lubnaig.

Pitches: Nine tent pitches and two motorhome spaces.

Facilities: Parking, toilets, running water, and a cafe kiosk selling coffee, home baking, bacon rolls etc.

Why?: Easy to access from the roadside and close to the popular tourist town of Callander, as well as many great walks.

Cost: For both camping and campervans: £7 per adult per night; under 16s, free. Chemical waste disposal, £2 per use.

Contact: See www.thecabinatlochlubnaig.co.uk

Loch Achray campsite

New Loch Achray.

(Due to open later this summer.)

Off the Duke’s Pass road via the exit of the Three Lochs Forest Drive.

Pitches: 17 solid and weather-proofed pitches for tents, including two accessible pitches.

Facilities: Toilets, parking and running water. Hire fire pits and buy firewood at most pitches.

Why?: Enjoy a scenic drive along the Three Lochs Forest trail in the Queen Elizabeth Forest.

The pitches are spaced out in a beautiful woodland setting on the southern shore of Loch Achray.

Cost: £7 per adult per night. Under 16s free. Up to two dogs.

Contact: “Camping” at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/camping

Loch Katrine Eco Camp

At Trossachs Pier on Loch Katrine

Pitches: Eight camping pitches, 12 campervan spaces with water and metered electricity and eight eco lodges.

Facilities: Toilets, showers and dish washing.

Why?: A new campsite this summer with a range of overnight options and the addition of showers for campers.

Loch Katrine is a picturesque spot surrounded by hills and mountains and with a chance to cruise the waters.

Cost: For camping is £10 per pitch per night including the first adult. Extra adults £4, extra child £2. See various costs for campervans and lodges.

Contact: www.lochkatrine.com/accommodation/

This article appeared in the Sunday Mail

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