Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Badrallach Campsite, near Ullapool, Scotland

A site on the Badrallach campground
Location: 45 minutes from Ullapool
Website: Badrallach 
Map: Google Maps
Camping Facilities: 
Bothy, campsites, and cottage
Grade: B
Stargazing: Very good
Summary: Beautiful location, simple facilities, sloped spots for tents, watch for midges
Thoughts: We had been driving all day, not really sure where we would end up when we did our internet search and found Badrallach Bothy. The Guardian informed us that this was one of the best campsites in the UK - to that point this was damning with faint praise (keep in mind my being accustomed to Canadian camping). But after considering it a bit, it seemed like everything we would want; close to the ocean, remote, and a genuine Scottish camping experience. I can say that we were not disappointed, by any standard of campsite.

The string of sites at the campground
(bothy in background)
We pulled up and knocked at the cottage located on site, and asked about a campsite. The price (£7.50 pp per night; Sept 2015) seemed reasonable and the setting looked fantastic. You drive in on a undulating, narrow road dug into side of the hills. It is a phenomenal spot and you get a sense of excitement to think that you're going to sleep rough in a place like this. You are tucked into the side of the hill, which doesn't afford the grandest of views, but you can look up the side of the hill to look at the heather (in the autumn at lesat) and a little waterfall that trickles its way down the slope. In addition, you can walk to the bottom of the hill on the main campsite and stroll down to the seashore and catch a good view of inlet, especially if the weather is clear.

One of the more secluded walk-in sites,
just a few steps from the main camping area
The campsites themselves are green and grassy, but the ground is generally sloped which can be create a bit of a challenge if you're trying to stay comfy in a sleeping bag. We were really impressed with the walk-in sites, which had a very private feel to them. We didn't feel like lugging our gear and setting up on one and I seem to recall the firepits being a bit better in the main camping area (though overall, they're still not great and you need to bring your own wood). The amenities (washing up facilities, washroom) are shared with the occupants of the bothy, which is fine and we had a few friendly chats with the occupants. The facilities were all in good order and sufficient for the small crowd that we had sharing the plots with us that day. The Badlarrach website suggests that the bothy becomes a common social/eating area for campers if it isn't reserved for sole use, but we did not have the pleasure of using it for that purpose.

We were visiting in Autumn, so I must warn that the midges were out as a merciless force; I suppose the midge buster was down for the season. However, as you can see from the photos, the site merits a look (just be sure to put on a midge hat). A great spot to begin a drive up the west coast of Scotland.

The setting of Badrallach Campsite
View from the nearby shore
(20 mins walk from campsite)
You mostly only share the landscape
with the sheep 

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