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Scottish campers ...

(22 Posts)
lavendersun Mon 15-Jun-15 19:42:35

I am learning that I don't need to book many sites smile.

If you do/have done this sort of thing before do you think I need to book the ferries (now 7 ferry journeys in all, no returns, all different)?

Thanks very much.

OnlyHereForTheCamping Tue 16-Jun-15 08:15:37

We normally book the ferry the day before or just roll up.

Have a lovely time

AgentProvocateur Tue 16-Jun-15 08:21:07

If you're taking the car, you need to book the smaller ferries in the summer. Some only take 10 cars. Have a great time.

AgentProvocateur Tue 16-Jun-15 08:21:48

Also, you can get a calmac hopscotch ticket that's good value for money, rather than paying individual ferry fares.

lavendersun Tue 16-Jun-15 09:38:26

Thank you, I have already looked at hopscotch but as I would need North and South it is more expensive than just buying the trips I need (will check again though).

Feels a bit odd booking the ferries when I can't book the camp sites. Have only managed to book the Lakes on the way up and down and one site so far - everywhere else has said just turn up, we will be busy but rarely have to turn people away.

OnlyHereForTheCamping Tue 16-Jun-15 10:04:52

Which campsites? I have never been turned away from a campsite. And if worst comes to worst you can always find a quiet patch near a loch to pitch up at

lavendersun Tue 16-Jun-15 11:42:21

The list has improved this morning with a couple of replies so now the islands we haven't been able to book on are Mull, Skye and Islay.

I think I can book Islay (just waiting for a response) but the other two, Fidden Farm and Glenbrittle have told me to just turn up.

Have two 'just turn ups' on the mainland too but that doesn't bother me as much as we can just drive on if necessary.

Daisybell1 Tue 16-Jun-15 13:54:19

I guess with Mull you can always take the short ferry crossing if you're worried about the expense of booking the Oban route. And don't forget they allow wild camping at Calgary Bay (campfires on the beach) and there are loos there too so you'd almost certainly find a spot on the island.

lavendersun Tue 16-Jun-15 15:04:22

We had planned on the Oban ferry as it fits with our route plans. Can you actually do that then? My brother has lived in Scotland all his adult life and tells me it is frowned upon generally unless out of season.

But I don't camp there so I don't know. I will book the Arran ferry, the campsite owners have told me not to bother booking the short ferry when we leave.

Maybe I won't book much then, perhaps I am being too 'English' about it. smile. Have got my father saying ' I have never booked a ferry in my life, don't be daft', yes Dad, but I am not far off 50 and times were different.

mairimack Tue 16-Jun-15 16:52:58

I would book certainly book the ferries to Arran, Mull and Islay, although smaller ferries coming off Arran (Cloanaig) and Mull (Fishnish) can't be booked, so make sure you turn up in plenty of time for the ferry you intend to take. Particularly in summer, the ferries to all three of those islands can get booked up fast. Fidden is a fairly large campsite, and as long a you are not turning up late on a bank holiday weekend for example, I am sure that you will find a space to pitch (no designated pitches - just find a space!)

mairimack Tue 16-Jun-15 16:57:04

And if you intend to take the Highland Council operated Corran-Ardgour ferry, it cant be booked either

OnlyHereForTheCamping Tue 16-Jun-15 17:19:29

Fidden is amazing! Get there early for the best pitches right next to the beach.

lavendersun Tue 16-Jun-15 18:41:52

Thanks very much for all this info for the clueless, we intend to take the Mallaig - Armadale route too.

If I was doing it out of season I wouldn't worry, but Fidden and Glenbrittle both told me that they would expect to be v busy, Fidden said that they had rarely turned people away and Glenbrittle advised to phone a couple of days before to see if they had room. Having looked at Skye again there are other options so I guess I will book that ferry too as it is bookable.

Doubt we will be early anywhere Only tbh, we won't be rushing anywhere once we are actually in the Lakes - one of the reasons I would prefer booking everything I suppose.

45 sleeps (and lots of real life work) to go smile.

fuckweasel Tue 16-Jun-15 18:53:42

Fidden is a HUGE site (and one of my most favourite places ever). It is truly beautiful. I doubt very much they have ever been full and turned people away. Calgary is fine for wild camping and has a toilet block. Does get quite busy as there's only a small area for camping as the dunes are protected. Definitely book the Oban-Craignure ferry a few days in advance (possibly weeks if travelling at the weekend). Or go the Lochaline-Fishnish route (cheaper anyway).

lavendersun Tue 16-Jun-15 19:21:42

That is lovely to hear re Fidden. We were planning on both those ferries Oban-Craignure on and Lochaline-Fishnish off !!

Would prefer not to wild camp really as it is school hols and my 9 year old always finds other children to play with on a site.

Maybe when we go out of season. We don't need facilities, have a pett loo and everything else we need, rarely go to sites with pitches so it wouldn't feel very different really.

Am just going to book the ferries I can this week then as it is one less thing to do. We have worked out quite an itinerary and booked two sites that depend on ferries so far.

Lets hope the weather isn't too fantastic, that will keep the competition away wink.

We are going to Lochranza on Arran - looks lovely, that is our first stop after the Lakes.

Again thanks very much to everyone - very grateful.

happyhighlander Sat 20-Jun-15 20:44:46

As others have said you can only book the bigger ferries (e.g. Oban-Craignure) and not smaller routes. I would always book these ferries in advance and arrive well before check in time.

If you phone Calmac to book, rather than online, and say you already have tickets, you'll avoid wasting money on unused tickets if you change your plans (just call again to cancel). You can buy tickets when you get there.

Be warned, this summer is proving to be very wet, very cold and the ticks/midges are hellish. Try seaside sites, e.g. Fidden to avoid the worst of the midges.

lavendersun Sat 20-Jun-15 20:57:42

Thanks happy, I am confused about your ticket buying advice in your second paragraph. Can you explain? Why would I phone and say I already have tickets if I don't? Which tickets are you referring to?

I grew up on a farm in the Dales - very prepared for wet and cold especially with the as yet untried woodburning stove in our tent. Even prepared for the midge, as well as you can be. I used to spend a lot of time in Scotland and hate the bloody midges.

mairimack Sat 20-Jun-15 21:47:29

When u phone to book, Calmac staff will always ask if u already have tickets, u can purchase over the phone or when u turn up for ur booking, will cost the same. Happys advice is also a good way to spread the cost if u have some costs u need to pay up front

happyhighlander Sat 20-Jun-15 22:27:54

Sorry, what I meant was, if you're booking ferries in advance online you have to pay for the tickets when you book, so if you change your plans you've wasted money on the ferry tickets (v expensive on some routes). If you phone to book and say you have tix already, then it gives you more flexibility if you change your plans.

lavendersun Sun 21-Jun-15 06:37:55

I still don't get it - maybe I am being thick here.

I am going to book the ones I can online, am not worried about cancelling or paying upfront. At that point if I had to phone I would be able say that I had tickets because I would have.

Are you saying to tell them I have tickets even if I haven't booked anything? If so where does that get me?

Completely lost .... off camping for the Solstice this morning, maybe all will become clear.

mairimack Wed 15-Jul-15 19:28:16

Lavender, please keep a check on Calmac website and Scottish news pages as we have already had one strike within Calmac staff and other unions are voting to strike now as well which may affect some of your travel plans ☹ sad

lavendersun Wed 15-Jul-15 21:02:09

I have been checking marimack, thank you flowers.

A worrying time for all involved I would imagine hates the 'privatisation' train.

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