Camping Spots for Mountain Biking In Scotland

London to Scotland in a VW Camper Van

Top 5 Camping Spots For Mountain Biking In Scotland

Taking your mountain bike away in your campervan

 

Scotland is easily one of the best destinations for mountain biking in the whole of Europe. There are hundreds of incredible routes up through the challenging Scottish mountains, along the spectacular west coast and down in the Borders. Whether you’re looking for purpose built tracks or to experience the cross-country trails nature intended, you’ve gotta give mountain biking in Scotland a go.

Our Rockin’vans are a perfect way to experience mountain biking in Scotland, as the majority of our vans have plenty of space for storing all your gear and equipment, as well as giving you the flexibility to stay near the best trails.

By hiring a campervan you can simply travel to one of the Scottish mountain biking hotspots, park up and get out on your bike within minutes. If you want to spend as many hours as possible on the trails, the only way to make the most of your experience is by campervan. There’s no need to worry about transport, booking accommodation or storage because that’s all solved with your awesome camper.

Don’t think that mountain biking in Scotland is just for those that spend every hour god sends with their feet on pedals rather than the ground. There are trails and places to cycle for all ages and abilities, so why not take a slightly different family holiday this year – the kids will love the experience of wild camping!

 

Glentress Forest, Scottish Borders

 

Buzzard’s Nest car park is a popular stop for most people as it’s the highest access point for vehicles in the forest and usually the best place to park. It’s handy if you’re just looking for an overnight stay, but there’s always a chance you’ll be asked to move on.

If you’re up for wild camping, try driving north along the B709 towards the Moorfoot Hills as there are a few good spots nearby. Those that need the security of a campsite should check out Crossburn Caravan Site and Tweedside Caravan Park.

 

Highland Wildcat Trails, Golspie

 

The Sutherland area of the Scottish Highlands is perfect for a spot of wild camping, or in our case, campervanning. As Sutherland is so remote, there are plenty of fantastic areas to camp. Whether you prefer the golden sands of Sandwood Bay (note that vehicles are prohibited so it will just be you and a tent!) or one of the many other spots in the area, there will be somewhere to get your head down.

If the thought of spending a few nights without the reassurance of fellow campers or facilities is enough to send you packing, try Dalchalm Caravan Park in Brora.

 

Nevis Range, near Fort William

 

Wild camping was made legal in Scotland back in 2005, but it is still important that you respect the environment around you. This is particularly true in the upper parts of Glen Nevis, where you might be asked to move on.

A really great spot is south of Ben Nevis, near Ben Cruachan and not too far from the West Highland Way. You can find this wild campervanning area by taking A82 North, take the South exit from the first roundabout and just keep going for close to 10 miles. You’ll find a great pitch here and it’s ideal for campervans. If you’re biking Ben Nevis, the North Face Car Park in Torlundy is perfect for an overnight stop.

 

Glen Sligachan, Isle of Skye

 

Experienced bikers will be able to resist the temptation of Glen Sligachan on Skye. There is a very good campsite at the top of the loch with some pretty spectacular scenery, which is probably your best bet.

If you’re committed to wild camping, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly equipped. There is a great spot of flat remote land, between Loch Coruisk and Loch Scavaig, around 30 miles away. It’s quite a popular place for campers to stop, so don’t expect it to always be empty.

 

Laggan Wolftrax, Laggan

 

If you are biking at the Wolftrax Centre, you’ll be pleased to know that the owners are very generous with their car park and often let campervans stop over. If you’re after something a bit more remote, head up past Crathes as there are plenty of spots up this road.

Wolftrax is popular with families going mountain biking in Scotland, so if you’re looking for a campsite with all the mod-cons, try out Invernahavon Caravan Site.

Visitor Attractions For Young Families In Scotland

Visitor Attractions For Young Families In Scotland

Top 5 Visitor Attractions For Young Families In Scotland

 

Forget booking your next holiday in Spain, try something different with the family and spend a couple of weeks touring around Scotland. We are obviously huge fans of camping and caravanning in our beautiful country, but we know there are a few sceptics out there too.

One of the most common reasons that people avoid this type of holiday is because they think the kids will be bored. It’s true that camping and caravanning does often involve a lot of time travelling and taking in the scenery, but it’s also a huge adventure.

We’ve handpicked the top five visitor attractions for young families in Scotland so that you can convince your children that campervanning can be just as fun as a trip abroad.

Enjoying Glasgow science centre

 

 

 

Glasgow Science Centre

 

This is definitely a ‘must-visit’ for anyone with young children as it offers hours of educational fun. The main part of the centre is the Science Mall, which houses numerous exhibits that the kids can get involved with.

 

Science Mall: Adult £9.95, Child/Concession £7.95, Under 3’s free

Planetarium: £2.50

Feature Film: Adults £9.95, Child/Concession £7.95

Where to stay:

Craigendmuir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • £22 per night for up to 2 people, £2.50 per person thereafter
  • Price includes electricity and showers
  • Fishing, golf and pony trekking nearby
  • Just over 10 miles from Glasgow Science Centre – approx. 20 minutes’ drive

 

Bankell Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • £12 per night per campervan
  • Price includes use of facilities: toilet, hot shower and dishwashing area, electricity hook-up and chemical toilet disposal
  • Caravan Club members only
  • Ideal base for exploring Glasgow and Loch Lomond
  • Just over 9 miles from Glasgow Science Centre – approx. 20 minutes’ drive

Great for kids that love trains

Old Deeside Railway Line

Next, on our list of top five visitor attractions for young families in Scotland is the Royal Deeside Railway. If your young’uns love playing with their train set at home, they’ll absolutely love this magical journey.

Steam: Adult £6, Concession £4, Child £3

Diesel: Adult £4, Concession £2.50, Child £2

Where to stay:

Feughside Caravan Park

£20 per night for up to 2 people, £3 per person thereafter
Price includes electrical hook up and on-site facilities
Fishing, golf and horse riding nearby
9 miles from Deeside Railway Line – approx. 18-20 minutes’ drive

Braemar Caravan Club Site

£8.20 per pitch, £6.35 per adult, £2.20 per child
Ideal for exploring the Cairngorms National Park
Caravan Club members only
Around 40 miles from Deeside Railway Line – approx. 1 hour’s drive

Great day out at Blairdrummond

Blairdrummond Safari Park

This unique Scottish attraction is great fun for the whole family, so the adults can enjoy themselves too. Visit all sorts of wild animals, from bears to elephants and from camels to meerkats, Blairdrummond has it all.

Adults £12.95, Children £9.90, Senior Citizens £10.50, Disabled £11.95, Under 2’s go free, Students £11.95

Where to stay:

Balgair Castle Holiday Park

£18-20 per night for up to 2 people, £3 per person thereafter
Excellent on-site facilities
Great for history buffs
13 miles from Blair Drummond Safari Park – approx. 25 minutes’ drive

Braidhaugh Holiday Park

£20-£23 per night (2 adults, 2 children & 2 dogs)
Ideal for exploring Stirling and Loch Lomond
Fishing, golf and horse riding nearby
22 miles from Blair Drummond Safari Park – approx. 35 minutes’ drive

M&Ds Theme Park

Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, they’ll want to holiday with you forever after a trip to M&D’s. There are rides and attractions to suit children of all ages, including white knuckle rollercoasters and a huge soft play area.

Unlimited ride wristband: Under 1.35m £12.75, Over 1.35m £16.85

Where to stay:

Muirkirk Caravan Park

£15 per night for up to 2 adults & 2 children
Mainly grass-standing pitches, price includes electrical hook up
Fishing, golf and racetrack nearby
32 miles from M&D’s Theme Park – approx. 45 minutes’ drive

Beecraigs Country Park Caravan and Camping Site

£17-£21 per night (up to 2 adults)
Price includes 16amp electrical hook-up and use of all on-site facilities
Discounts for Caravan Club members and long stays
Around 20 miles from M&D’s Theme Park – approx. 30 minutes’ drive

Dundee Treasure Trail

Last, but not least on our list of top five visitor attractions for young families in Scotland is Dundee’s treasure trail. If you’re staying in or passing through Dundee, there is a fun-filled activity that you and the children can enjoy together. The treasure trail can be printed from the website or you can have it personalised to make it extra special. Explore this wonderful Scottish city in a completely unique way.

Download/Postal £5.99, Personalised £12.99

Where to stay:

Lochlands Caravan Park

£18 per night for up to 4 people, £2 per person thereafter
Electrical hook-up £1.50 per night or £9 per week
Facilities have all been improved in recent months
12 miles from Dundee – approx. 20 minutes’ drive

Drumshademuir Caravan Park

£19-£21 per night
Price includes electrical hook-up and use of facilities
Situated near Kirriemuir, which is known as the “Gateway to the Glens”
Around 15 miles from Dundee – approx. 30 minutes’ drive

Off-Piste Guided Skiing in Scotland

Off-Piste Guided Skiing in Scotland

Off piste in Scotland

 

 

Off-Piste Guided Skiing in Scotland

 

Scotland may not be the first place you think of when planning a skiing trip; France, Italy or Switzerland are perhaps more likely to spring to mind. However, there are a surprising number of opportunities to get on your skis or snowboard. Off-piste guided skiing in Scotland is gaining in popularity.

Although many skiers will tell you that they’ve had the best ever days spent in the Scottish mountains, skiing has been unable to take off properly because of the changeable weather. This makes booking and planning skiing holidays an absolute nightmare.

As soon as you even hear rumour of a fresh snowfall, get yourself up to the Highlands in a jiffy. Don’t waste valuable slope time booking accommodation or transport and all that malarkey, just jump in a Rockin’ van and head straight up to the mountains.

Skiing in Scotland is incredible if you manage to time it right. At one end of the spectrum you need to avoid the gale force winds and torrential rain that can ruin the snow and at the other, the tourists, as during peak season Scottish ski resorts can be manic.

With this in mind, you might want to head off-piste. You’ll be lucky to catch a few full days of skiing up in Scotland so the relatively limited areas won’t really have too much of an impact.

If you’re not experienced in skiing in the back-country, make sure you only ever embark upon off-piste guided skiing in Scotland with a guide as the mountains are notorious for their treacherous terrain. It’s incredibly easy to get caught out without the correct equipment or knowledge.

Scottish Skiing

Things to consider

Don’t exaggerate your experience – you could end up in danger!
Specialist equipment can often be hired from your guide
The weather requires a certain degree of flexibility
Off-piste guided skiing in Scotland is very picturesque so don’t forget a camera
You’re likely to be gone all day so pack plenty of food and drink.

Going off piste in scotland

Places to ski

There are plenty of tough off-piste routes around the Glencoe resort, with a couple of popular ones being Baillies gully and East Ride. In all honestly, even the main ski resort at Glencoe is quite rugged with many of the pistes being left ‘au naturel’, so if you don’t want to venture into the back-country, you’ll probably find something suitable at the resort.

Cairngorm

If you can’t be too flexible, you’re best heading up to Cairngorm as this area of Scotland is the most likely to have snow. That said, it can get incredibly crowded up on the slopes, so the Cairngorm backcountry just outside the resort is a good idea. Try heading to Mclarens gully, the high Cairngorm plateau, Coire Domhain, Coire Raibert and Ben Macdui.

The Lecht

The smallest of Scotland’s ski resorts probably gets the worst snow coverage, so there is little off-piste skiing worth mentioning. However, the resort itself has a few challenging forests and high altitude terrain, but you’ll want to move on in a day or two.

Glenshee

Scotland’s largest ski resort, Glenshee, has a number of excellent ski tours on the outskirts. Whether you want a whole day of off-piste skiing, or just a couple of hours, there are good routes for everyone. Your guide should be able to direct you to the best snow, but a few suggestions would be Carn an-t Sagairt Mor and Glas Moal.

Nevis Range

When the weather is just right, Nevis Range has some of the best off-piste guided skiing in Scotland. There are plenty of off-piste runs in the back corries and many will claim that these offer some of the best experiences in the world. A number of these runs are actually marked on the Aonach Mor Piste map, alternatively head to the Easy Gully.

Private skiing guides

Team Ascent

The Old Police House

Main Street

Newtonmore

Inverness-shire

PH20 1DR

01540 670021

http://www.teamascent.co.uk

G2

Unit 3, Plot 10

Dalfaber Industrial Estate

Aviemore

Inverness-Shire

PH22 1ST

01479 811008

Home

Wilderness Scotland

Inverdruie House

Aviemore

Cairngorms National Park

Scotland

PH22 1QH

01479 420020

http://www.wildernessscotland.com

Nevis Range

Torlundy

Fort William

Inverness-shire

PH33 6SQ

01397 705 825

http://snowsports.nevisrange.co.uk/

Active Aviemore

Grampian Road

Aviemore

PH22 1PT

01540 210000

http://www.activeoutdoorpursuits.com

History of the VW Transporter

History of the VW Transporter

The History of the VW Transporter

VW transporter in factory

The VW Transporter is one of the most famous and iconic vehicles to have ever been manufactured with a history dating back to just after World War II. VW T4 campervans are our personal favourites, but it all started out with the Volkswagen Type 2, also known as a ‘split-screen’, which is still one of the most popular retro campervan models to date.

VW in factory

The Type 2 was dreamt up by Ben Pon, who visited the Volkswagen factory as Germany was re-building post WWII. This factory, the Kdf-stadt back then, was under British control after the war and where Major Hirst starting reproducing the VW Beetle. It was renamed due to its close proximity to Wolfsburg Castle.

It is thought that he noticed the Plattenwagen, which was designed to shuttle parts around the factory, and got the inspiration to sketch what became known as the VW Transporter.

The popularity of the Type 2 even led to a second-generation T2 version of the original, released in the late 1960’s. However, after the T2, campervan enthusiasts had to wait over a decade until the next VW Transporter hit the market. The T3 or the T25 as it’s also known, came just before the T4 in the 1980’s.

VW T4 Campervan on the beach at Loch Lomond

VW T4 campervans are still a top favourite for a variety of uses, from light commercial to minibuses and camping. Production of the T4, which sported a revolutionary front-mounted water-cooled engine, started in 1990 and continued for 13 years until 2003.

Volkswagen had been toying with the idea of front-engined campervans since the ‘70s as they had enjoyed success with their passenger cars, but the van ended up being delayed until the launch of VW T4 campervans.

It is actually this model of campervan that officially launched the ‘Transporter’ name as its predecessors are only colloquially referred to as Transporter campervans; the VW T4 is the original vehicle to use the name.

VW T4 campervans stayed relatively similar in the whole 13 years of production, with only one major change in 1994 when the front end was re-shaped. The move was required in order to fit the larger six-cylinder VR6 engine into the bay.

The two different versions of VW T4 campervans are known as T4a and T4b by super- fans, keeping in traditional with the Type 2.

There are a vast number of engines to choose from since the re-model: the T4a can be powered by four engines (I4, R4, I5, R5) in either petrol or diesel, but the T4b also saw the five-cylinder TDI engine.

VW T5 Campervan

The VW Transporter didn’t end with the T4 in 2003, its successor the T5 was released in the same year with a much more streamlined design. It underwent a re-design in 2009 to improve power and install a dual clutch transmission. Rumours have it the T6 is now not too far away also.

VW T6 Campervan

Because of their popularity, it’s easier to get your hands on gold dust than a VW T4 campervan these days! If you don’t want to miss out on the experience of a T4, but don’t have the funds to buy your own, book a camper with Rockinvans.

Malt Whisky trail Scotland

Malt Whisky trail Scotland

Touring the Malt Whisky Trail in a Campervan

Britons, particularly the Scottish, are renowned for enjoying the odd drink. Despite our supposed addiction to binge-drinking, one of our most famous drinks is associated with a much more respectable type. Yes, Scottish whisky is right up there alongside Irn Brn as one of the country’s most famous exports. Scotch is that well-respected north of the border that there is a whole tour dedicated to it. The aptly named Malt Whisky Trail, takes you around eight working distilleries at the heart of the Scottish whisky industry in the Highlands.

You may have noticed that I am referring to Scotch as ‘whisky’ rather than ‘whiskey’. Read this poem by Stanley Bruce if you want to keep your head when next stopping in a pub on your travels around Scotland:

A Scotsman who spells

Whisky with a n ‘e’,

should be hand cuffed

and thrown head first in the Dee,

In the USA and Ireland,

it’s spelt with an ‘e’

but in Scotland

it’s real ‘Whisky’.

So if you see Whisky

and it has an ‘e’,

only take it,

if you get it for free!

For the name is not the same

and it never will be,

a dram is only a real dram,

from a bottle of ‘Scotch Whisky’.

With numerous distilleries to visit around the country, hiring out one of our Rockin’vans is one of the easiest – not to mention fun – ways to experience the Malt Whisky Trail.

Getting there

To get to the starting point of The Malt Whisky Trail in a campervan, you’ll enjoy a delightful drive through Scotland.

From Perth and Dundee: Choose from three different routes, either head around 90 miles on the A90 across the Cairngorms National Park and through Braemar; the A9 via Aviemore or the longer route on the A94 via Brechin.

From Inverness: The quickest route is the A9 and A95, but if you want to take your time on your campervan road trip, try heading via Nairn on the A939 or even continue through to Forres and come down the A96.

From Glasgow: Take the M80 towards Stirling and once you hit Perth, use the directions above.

Pouring Whisky

The tour

Day One:

The Glenlivet Distillery

Admission: £25.00

Opening Hours: 2nd April – 26th October 2012

Address: Glenlivet, Banffshire, AB37 9DB

Telephone: 01340 821720

Cardhu Distillery

Admission: £5.00- £20.00

Season: All year /Closed 21st December 2012 – 7th January 2013

Address: Knockando, Aberlour, Banffshire, AB38 7RY

Telephone: 01479 874635

Speyside Cooperage

Admission: Adults: £3.50, Juniors: £2.00, Students/Senior Citizens: £2.80, Family: £8.50

Season: All year / Closed 21st December 2012 – 7th January 2013

Address: Dufftown Road, Craigellachie, Banffshire, Scotland AB38 9RS

Telephone: 01340 871108

Where to stay

Findhorn Bay Holiday Park: pitches are £16.50 per night during the low season and £19.50 during high season (prices include use of electricity and other facilities). The site closes over winter between November and March and pitches are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Day Two:

Glenfiddich Distillery

Admission: Free – £50

Season: All year / Closed 21st December 2012 – 7th January 2013

Address: Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4DH

Telephone: 01340 820373

Glen Grant Distillery

Admission: £3.50

Season: Mid-January to mid-December

Address: Rothes, Aberlour, AB38 7BS

Telephone: 01340 832103

Strathisla Distillery

Admission: £6.00

Season: 2nd April – 26th October 2012

Address: Seafield Avenue, Keith, Banffshire, AB55 5BS

Telephone: 01542 783044

Where to stay

Station Caravan Park: pitches are £15.25 per night during the low season and £17.75 during high season (prices include use of electricity and other facilities).

Day Three:

Glen Moray Distillery

Admission: £3.00 regular tour

Season: Open all year

Address: Bruceland Road, Elgin, IV30 1YE

Telephone: 01343 550900

Benromach

Admission: £5 – £60 depending on tour

Season: Open all year

Address: Invererne Road, Forres, Moray, IV36 3EB

Telephone: 01309 675968

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Admission: Adult £5.20, Child £2.60, Concession £4.20

Season: Open all year

Address: Mannachie Road, Forres, Morayshire, IV36 2RR

Telephone: 01309 676548

Where to stay

Nairn Lochloy Holiday Park: Book your pitch on the website to find out prices for your stay – facilities included. The site closes over winter between October and April.

Beaches of Scotland

Beaches of Scotland

The White Sandy Beaches Of Scotland

Shells on the beach

Imagine yourself relaxing on stunning white sands against the back drop of jaw-dropping rugged mountains and with a view of beautiful islands out to a crisp blue sea. Heaven; open your eyes, where do you think you are? Somewhere on the European mainland? Perhaps Asia or even the USA? Wrong, welcome to Scotland.

The north of the UK might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a beach holiday, but despite the obvious lack of sunshine it is still an incredible place to visit. Scotland is home to more than 50 beaches with flag awards, seven of which boast the prestigious blue flag.

North

The north of Scotland is well known for its rugged landscape and stark solitary beaches. The turbulent waves of the Atlantic Ocean have battered the coastline, leaving behind dramatic cliffs and moody skies.

Sandwood Bay Beach

Sandwood Bay

The powerful sea meets a mile and a half stretch of beautiful sands against a backdrop of sand dunes and a striking sea stack.

Getting there: There is some effort involved, as you’ll need to park up just over four miles away in the Blairmore car park and head over on foot.

Where to stay: There’s a great little spot in Kinlochbervie called Shegra Wild Camping. Don’t expect any fancy facilities, but it’s a clean place to stop for the night before moving on somewhere else.

Camusdarach Beach

Camusdarach, Morar

This beach has some of the whitest sands on the planet, which look even more spectacular when contrasted with the bright blue waters.

Getting there: Follow the A830 “Road to the Isles” until you are just a few miles south of Malliag; you’ll come to a car park after passing over the low dunes.

Where to stay: The Camusdarach campsite is just a few short minutes from the beach, offering incredible panoramic views but with good shelter thanks to the mature trees.

East

The east coast of Scotland is perhaps lesser known for its beaches than the west, but these shores do still have a certain charm. The rocky shores and sandstone cliffs are incredibly vast and largely untouched by humans.

Horses on the beach

Seacliff, East Lothian

The most popular beach on the east coast is undoubtedly North Berwick, but if you want to avoid all the usual tourist tat, head a few miles further to Seacliff. This beautiful beach looks north towards Bass Rock and sits at the base of Tantallon Castle.

Getting there: head down the A198, about half a mile south of Tantallon Castle visitor centre take the sharp turning down a private road. You will be directed to the left onto a track to the car park.

Where to stay: Head back to North Berwick and park up the van at Gisland Caravan Park, where you’ll find a number of motorhome pitches.

A lovely August day on Tentsmuire Sands

Tentsmuir Sands

This beach is over three miles long, stretching right from the Tay estuary down the River Eden and backs onto the beautiful pine forest.

Getting there: take the Tay Road toll bridge, turn onto the A914 towards Leuchers, and then follow signs to Kinshaldy. The beach is found down a road through Tentsmuir Forest.

Where to stay: A few miles from the beach and back towards Dundee, you will find Tayview Caravan & Camping Park.

West

The climate is much warmer on the west coastthan the north and east, so there is a lot more rain, but this only leads to lush tropical greens as well as the traditional coastline.

Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan. White sands, Aqua water

Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan

This gorgeous white sandy beach is situated at the most westerly point of mainland Britain. You will be greeted by huge sand dunes and spectacular sweeping bays.

Getting there: the roads are narrow and a little rough but the 45 minute trip to Sanna Bay is well worth it.

Where to stay: A quaint campsite with just five pitches for motorhomes and campervans called Fair View Campsite in Ardnamurchan.

Traigh Ban nam Monach, Iona

Traigh Ban nam Monach, Iona

This is the cream of the crop when it comes to beaches on Iona. Traigh Ban nam Monarch (Gaelic for “white strand of the monks”) is a beautiful stretch of isolated white sand.

Getting there: Turn right out from the ferry terminal and head straight past the Abbey, continuing until you stumbles across the glistening shells of the beach.

Where to stay: At the other end of the small Isle of Iona you will find Cnoc-Oran, a small campsite with basic facilities and cheap nightly rates.