View Full Version : Best Beachside Wild Camping Spots In The Outer Hebrides

17-03-2012, 10:22
I would like to hear about peoples experiences camping in the islands. In a couple of weeks we set off for our first trip to the western isles, and although have a rough idea of where we are likely to stop, it would be interesting to hear of others experiences.
We are travelling in an unconverted Bongo but also have a tent with us for the odd occasion we might like to camp nearer the beach than we can get the vehicle, or if we want an extra bit of space if we are on a genuine site, as we intend to use these occasionally.
Our trip will take us from Oban - Barra/Vatersay - through the Uists - Harris/Lewis - Ullapool - from here we are also planning stops at Durness, Clachtoll, Arisaig & the ardnamurchnan peninsula before heading home. We are happy to be self sufficient for a couple of days as we have toilet and cooking facilities, but would like to consider areas near toilets/showers or pubs for food & drink (not too pricey!). Would we be frowned on if we had campfires, providing we left no trace (we have a little firepit so no mess).
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
One final thing - I haven't booked the ferry crossings yet - do you think I should or will we be ok at this time of year?
Many thanks in advance - I cannot express how excited I am about this trip!

17-03-2012, 11:48
I would definitely book your ferries to/from the mainland. I have heard tale of people having to wait a couple of days for a space (although it was the height of summer).
I can highly recommend Clachtoll beach campsite as a place to recharge the batteries and empty your tanks. Its cheap too when compared to many other sites

17-03-2012, 11:55
Also, when your back on the mainland coast. I find its cheaper & quicker to hop on to Skye & use the Armadale/Mallaig ferry, than drive round via FW, although it is a very picturesque route with plenty of places to stop,

17-03-2012, 13:25
We used to do boys trips to the islands and have done about 18 now. similar setup. VW camper and a tent. There is some useless information and photos on our website Hank the Tank Motorhome website (http://www.hankthetank.co.uk) under BLOG and right at the bottom, Boys trips early years.

One of the wildest and best places we stopped was above the beach at the top end of Berneray. We arrived in the dark and pitched camp in a howling gale. The next morning we woke up to see one of the loveliest and desterted beaches ever.

Its not a very good photo but this was taken from our spot. Cant remember any other specific ones but there were plenty. A good one on South Uist from memory where we were interupted by some MI6 Spooks who had lost their rocket but you will have to read the blog to find out more about that one!

17-03-2012, 20:57
I couldn't find blog entry regarding rocket?

Not the first time MOD have lost missiles and torpedo's, only to be found by locals, who in days gone by, have hidden their find, then try to claim salvages rights, one true event was a lost torpedo, worth more than One Mill£££'s, you couldn't make it up, reminds me of Whisky Galore, and the SS Politician!


17-03-2012, 21:16
I couldn't find blog entry regarding rocket?

Not the first time MOD have lost missiles and torpedo's, only to be found by locals, who in days gone by, have hidden their find, then try to claim salvages rights, one true event was a lost torpedo, worth more than One Mill£££'s, you couldn't make it up, reminds me of Whisky Galore, and the SS Politician!


Its only a short snippet at half way down the early years boys trips blog. Here it is


There is a dark side to South Uist. There is a secret (well not anymore) missile range on the island. http://www.secretscotland.org.uk/index.php/Secrets/SouthUistMissileRange Stuff gets exploded and fired out to sea all the time. There is even a warning sign with a badly drawn rocket on it! We are wild camping on this beach when all of a sudden 2 black BMW’s pull up next to us where half a dozen thirty something’s who are clearly neither islanders or tourists step out with high powered binoculars and start searching the horizon. They pretend to be casual but clearly they are looking for something. I would like to say we found the Scud they were looking for and sold it on Ebay but whatever they had lost neither of us found it.

Another funny story is from an old colleague of mine from a few years ago who was once a Sumbarine Officer. Many years ago they were test firing torpedos in Loch Long which has a bit of a dog leg at the top. The idea was to only send them so far up the lock and retrieve them but somehow one was either overfueled or whatever and it overshot the dog leg, flew up the bank and went straight through a BT van and out the otherside.

All kept quiet apparently.

17-03-2012, 22:03
If you look at google maps, test areas are all blacked out up and down the NNW coast.

Loch Long torpedo story is true, I was diving that day, I got snagged on torpedo tail fin, got meself a nice wee jolly up the loch...........rapid, still snagged, we left the water, ripped through the sides of PO van, then ened up in Jessie McKays wee cottage, it gets better, some letters got cuaght up in my gear, one was for Jessie, she was pleased for the rapid service delivery :cheers: :yeahthat:

On a serious factual note. A one million a pop torpedo is worth far more than this during firing trials, inside the shell is crammed with electronic testing equipment, to make sure the torp behaves as it should under real life war conditions.

Cheers.......... :)

17-03-2012, 22:13
Depends on how close do you want to park to the beach.
Ness harbour, next to long golden beach on hard standing. Tide comes in beside you. Toilets/water at top of hill.
Barvas beach, keep driving, follow the road then dirt path to the edge of the beach high tide bout 20ft away from the berm.
Reef (Uig) as close as you want to risk :) £6 for the toilets n showers
Ardroil (Uig) next to beach tho watch out for the friendly highland cows £4 for toilets/water
Coll beach next to beach.
Tolsta, car park with toilets/water, long golden beach about 50yds away.
Dalmore, about 50yds away toilets/water
Losgintir, bout 15ft above the beach, tide comes in below you.
Huisnuis, by the beach toilets/water
There's also a campsite at Horgebost which looks good too.
We've also stayed on the Uists which tho as stunning in their own way, don't hold such a special place for us
Polochar, next to the standing stone by the beach.
Smiercliet, by the beach grey white but sea weed smelly!
Solas, by the beach in car park, safest place if it's really high tide!
On Skye by choice we've stayed by the graveyard at lower breakish tho watch out for unfriendly bulls!
Except Horgebost which we just recce'd these are our own experienced campsites but if you have an iPhone/pad you can't do any worse than google earth the shorelines or using OS GB250k and looking for the picnic bench icon and just exploring.
If your coming back via Tarbet and it's an early ferry, you can't go wrong asking Bill the barman if you can stay overnight in the Harris inn car park in exchange for drinking his real ale.
For an idea of what the beaches look like, have a look at our Album.

17-03-2012, 22:24
Always book first ferry, after that you have a number to call and arrange next leg of your island hopper. Not always needed but some ferrys are once a day so better safe than sorry. Our first trip was Oban to Mull and we just turned up and bought the hopper ticket on the day. We were then put in the last minute queue, 7 vehicles back. For some reason tho the loaders took a shine to turtle and waved us on at the last minute with a bit of paint scratching tightness, leaving the 6 cars on the docks. They were really apologetic offering insurance forms but I explained it was a 30 y/o van n it added character plus we were on our way!
Must have been the right thing to say as Turtles now been waved on at last minute a few times!

18-03-2012, 09:44
You could miss Oban and drive through the The Great Glen, cross over to Morven via Corran Ferry (no booking required), then drive down to Lochaline, take ferry over to Fishnish and Mull (no booking required) Many oppertunities to park up next to the beach, Calgary Bay being one of them.

From Tobermory, ferry over to Kilchoan and Ardnamurchan (no booking required) up to Mallaig for more ferries to the outer Hebrides.

There are lots of options, just a case of doing the research to fit into your time frame, and budget!

Undiscovered Scotland: Home Page (http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/)


Official Caledonian MacBrayne Hebridean & Clyde Ferries site (http://www.calmac.co.uk/)


21-03-2012, 01:04
Thanks for all your replies - very much appreciated - only had a brief look, but hopefully I'll have time to digest it all tomorrow.

I've now booked our ferries, Oban necessary as we are meeting up with family, Clachtoll a definiate on our return to the mainland - visited a couple of years ago - amazing place and superb campsite.

Any suggestions where we can get a good meal?