Mountain Biking in Scotland: Where to stay

Mountain Biking in Scotland: Where to stay

Mountain Biking in Scotland: Where To Stop For The Night

Where to sleep when Mountain biking

 

As a keen mountain biker, you’ve probably heard about the incredible trails we’ve got up in Scotland, but you might never have ridden them. If you’re looking to hit some of the best trails in Europe, or even the world, there’s no better place to come this summer.

Once you’ve booked one of our awesome Rockinvans, you will have the flexibility to  visit all the trails without having to worry about finding a hotel or B&B nearby. If you plan on spending hours on the trails, hiring a campervan means you can just park up and crash before the next day of riding.

Fortunately, there are plenty if places to park up for the night near Scotland’s top cycling centres, but also not far from more remote trails all over the country. Whether you want to hit the mountains up in the highlands, explore cross-country trails or take in the view around down the stunning west coast and islands.

Glentress

Well it would be an injustice to Scotland to not mention Glentress in the Borders, as it is easy the top centre in the country. There are routes and trails for just about every ability, making it ideal for family trips. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, there will be plenty of challenges along the 30km of black route.

If you’re stopping overnight or just need somewhere to park for the day, Buzzard’s Nest Car Park is probably the most popular place. There’s plenty of wild camping spots towards Innerleithen, but Tweedside Caravan Park is also nearby.

Laggan Wolftrax

There are 35km of trails set in Strathmashie Forest at this purpose-built centre, including a routes suitable for novices and skill riders. Rip up the trails in the Bike Park and down the 6.4km of Black Double Diamond singletrack trail. If you’re parking in the car park, be prepared to pay up to £12 a day with a camper, but cars are only charged at £3.

If you want a bit of peace and quiet away from the centre, drive towards Crathes for some good wild camping spots. If you’re away with the kids, Invernahavon Caravan Site might be a better choice.

Glen Sligachan

The Isle of Skye is one of the most popular places to visit in Scotland and with a dramatic trail between the Cuillin, it makes for the perfect riding holiday. There are over 40km of trails, all designed for experienced riders – it’s definitely not for the kids.

Skye is the ideal place to do a spot of wild campervanning, but if you do prefer the security of campsite, Sligachan Campsite isn’t far away.

These are just a few of our favourite mountain biking destinations, but we think that with great spots to park up and incredible trails, they deserve an extra-special mention.

Will you be hitting the trails this summer? Hire a campervan from Rockinvans for additional flexibility.

Campervanning in the wild

Campervanning in the wild

Campervanning in the wild

Campervanning in the wild

 

Do you want the freedom to sleep around? That was an innocent enough question, it’s your mind that’s the problem!

Now, we’ve got that out of the way, jump in one of our luxury Rockinvans and head into the Scottish wilderness.

We say Scotland, not only because we’re based in Kilmarnock, but because it’s the only country in the UK that allows you to wild camp.

By wild camping, sometimes referred to as freedom camping, you are able to escape the holiday parks and campsites and get out in the real outdoors. You’ll see so much more of Scotland and it’s completely free!

The only thing that you do have to do in return for the luxury of wild camping is abide by the Outdoor Access Code.

This code is largely common sense and respect, but it’s surprising the number of campers that ignore it. Wild camping is a privilege so make sure you follow the code and leave no trace of your stay when you leave.

There have been a number of cases in the media where campers have behaved poorly, vandalised and polluting sites. It is this lack of respect that could lead to wild camping becoming illegal.

Wild camping guidelines

  •  Avoid overcrowding by moving on to another location
  • Carry a trowel to bury toilet waste and urinate well away from water courses
  • Use a stove or leave no trace of any camp fire.
  • Never cut down or damage trees
  • Take away your rubbish and any other litter you see.
  • If in doubt about whether you can camp, ask the landowner.

 

Good spots

 Although you can wild camp just about anywhere in Scotland, we think there are some spots that just shouldn’t be missed.

Mar Estate: this National Trust estate is a great place to visit. It occupies around 7% of the Cairngorms National Park and contains four out of the five mountains in the UK.

Loch Lomond: this is genuinely one of the most beautiful places in the whole country. You will have spectacular views across the loch at just about any site.

Ben Nevis, Fort William: where better to camp that on the UK’s highest mountain? A trip to the summit and you can say you’ve bagged your first Munro.

 ‘Almost wild’ campsites

The majority of wild camping spots won’t be accessible in the camper, but you can always park up somewhere nearby and head out into the wild with a tent.

Alternatively, Rockinvans has selected their top 5 Scottish campsites that offer an ‘almost wild’ camping experience.

Killegruer Campsite

Address: Woodend Glenbarr, Tarbert, Argyll, PA29 6XB

Telephone: 01583 421241

Open: April-October

Red Squirrel Campsite

Address: Glencoe, Argyll, PH49 4HX

Telephone: 01855 811256

Open: All Year

Dales Farm Cottage

Duloch (Hamlet), Near Inverkeithing, Fife, KY11 7HR

Telephone: 01383 417681

Open: All Year

Garden House Camping Site

Address: Isle of Coll, Argyll, PA78 6TB

Telephone: 01879 230374

Open: April-September

Lazy Duck

Address: Nethy Bridge, Cairngorm

Telephone: 01879 230374

Open: May-October

Top 5 Budget Campsites in Scotland

Top 5 Budget Campsites in Scotland

Top 5 Budget Campsites In Scotland

So, you’re looking for a campsite to park up in your Rockinvan for the night, but don’t fancy shelling out the equivalent of a night in a 5* hotel?  Well, we’ve handpicked our top five budget campsites

Camusdarach Campsite

On the west coast of Scotland lies Camusdarach Campsite. With spectacular views over the islands and an estate committed to providing a sustainable and environmentally-friendly, this site is the perfect destination for any campers looking to enjoy a relaxing trip on the Scottish coast.

There are large hand-standing pitches ideal for campervans and caravans, so you can be confident of plenty of space at a reasonable price.

Price: from £21 per night for up to 2 people

Open: March – October

Address: Camusdarach Campsite & Beach, Camusdarach, Arisaig, PH39 4NT

Telephone: 01687 450221

 

Tummel Valley Holiday Park

Situated near Pitlochry at the foot of the Cairngorms National Park, Tummel Valley Holiday Park is a great place to stay if you want to get away from it all for a few days. Wake up to deer grazing outside the grass and squirrels amongst the forest.

Whether you’re travelling with children or alone, there are plenty of things to do, yet still manages to remain good value for money.

Price: from £12 per night for up to 4 people

Open: March – November

Address: Tummel Bridge, Perthshire, PH16 5SA

Telephone: 0844 3353672

 

Station Caravan Park

If you’re looking for immediate access to a beach on your camping trip, there’s no better place to stop over than Station Caravan Park in Hopeman. Whether you want to do a bit of crabbing in the rock pools or go dolphin-watching at Moray Firth, there are plenty of things to enjoy.

This park is ideal for families and those with pets without having to pay sky-high premiums.

Price: from £15.75 per night for up to 2 people

Open: March – October

Address: Station Caravan Park, West Beach, Hopeman, Moray, IV30 5RU

Telephone: 01343 830880

 

Thurston Manor

Do you struggle to spend more than just a few days out in the countryside? Thurston Manor is a former country estate, but not too far away from Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Blend an exciting city break with a relaxing rural holiday.

There are a number of facilities at Thurston Manor that make this site great value for money.

Price: from £12.00 per night for up to 2 people

Open: February – January

Address: Thurston Manor Leisure Park, Innerwick, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1SA

Telephone: 01368 840643

 

Mossband Caravan Park

This small caravan park is located on the outskirts of a small village called Kirkgunzeon and just less than 10 miles from Dumfries. With incredible panoramic views over the hills towards the Solway Coast, this site is a favourite with families looking for a bargain break out in the great Scottish countryside.

Price: from £15.50 per night for up to 2 people

Open: March – October

Address: Mossband Caravan Park, Kirkgunzeon, Dumfries, DG2 8JP

Telephone: 01387 760505

The Scottish Cheese Trail Part 2

The Scottish Cheese Trail Part 2

The Scottish Cheese Trail Part 2

Scotland is home to hundreds of cheeses, some of them are even award-winners! Join the Scottish Cheese Trail to celebrate locally produced cheese. This is the latter half of our itinerary for the Scottish Cheese Trail, so if you missed the first part, check it out here.

 Day 4

First off, you will need to get from the Orkney Islands to the mainland early on. It’s quite a long journey, once you’ve arrived back in Thurso, it’s nearly a three hour drive to Rothiemurchus Farm Shop & Deli in Aviemore.

As well a delicious Highland beef, venison, tasty sausages, haggis and rainbow tout, there is a beautiful range of farmhouse cheeses. The deli is a haven of beautiful local produce, but there is much more on offer outside, as it also has loads of outdoor activities. It’s easy to spend the whole day here, but you’ve got plenty more to see later in the day.

An hour’s drive away down the A9, you’ll find the House of Bruar, which is a great way to break up the trip to Perth. The deli has become a popular stop with motorists and as such has recently extended.

Before a long day is over, hop back in the campervan and head down south 39 miles to the outskirts of Perth. You can spend the night at Noah’s Ark Caravan Park before another busy day tomorrow.

 Day 5

From the park, you’ll head to Gloagburn Farm in Tibbermore, which will help support the local farmer as well as giving the whole garm a fun day out. There’s a couple more places to visit today, so after an hour or so you’ll move on to St. Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Co. just over an hour away.

Here you’ll find the only farmhouse in Fife, where you can actually see  the cheeses being made. You can sit back and relax in the coffee shop, while tasting some delicious cheeses with a cuppa.

Back in the van and another hour away on the outskirts of Edinburgh in South Queensferry is Craigie’s Farm & Deli Cafe. With a comprehensive range of cheeses and a hot dish of the day, it’s a great place to stop for your dinner. There are a number jams and chutney for sale and pick-your-own fruit.

The good news is that you won’t have to travel far tonight as tomorrow’s first pitstop is less than 10 miles away.  You can either find somewhere suitable to park up for the night or pop over to Drummohr Holiday Park.

 Day 6

The first stop today is a fantastic Italian deli in Edinburgh called Valvona & Crolla. It is a spectacular treasure trove of produce that you can spend time rifling through. Next up and just over half an hour away is Whitmuir the Organic Place.

Whitmuir is a working farm, dedicated to growing seasonal and organic produce as well as rearing pigs, cattle and lamb. You can sample some of the produce at the “edible and boozy hedge” and in the food hall or restaurant.

Another 15 miles down the road and 20 minutes in the camper and you’ll arrive at HJ Errington, which is most famous for its Lanark Blue sheep’s milk. Just a few miles away down the M74 is Biggar Park Caravan & Camping Park.

You might want to get an early night as you’ll have a long drive ahead to your final stop on the trail, before returning your camper to Rockinvans.

 Day 7

Your final day on the Scottish Cheese Trail will feature a visit to Loch Arthur Creamery in Dumfries & Galloway. The farm shop is set in the beautiful Scottish countryside, so whilst you’re scoffing down freshly baked bread and cheese, you can take in the breathtaking scenery. Spend some time relaxing in Beeswing, before the 60 mile journey back to Rockinvans in Kilmarnock.

If we’ve tempted you to explore Scotland’s fantastic dairy produce, take a look at Part 1 of the Scottish Cheese Trail and get in touch with us to hire a campervan.

 

Scottish Cheese Trail Part 1

Scottish Cheese Trail Part 1

The Scottish Cheese Trail Pt 1.

Cheese Trail

 

Scotland is known for some of its rather bizarre and unique foods – the country has foods steeped in history to more modern favourites (deep-fried Mars bar anyone?). However, despite it’s quirks, we have also produced some of the most delicious gourmet food.  The Scottish Cheese Trail takes you around Scotland taking in some of this countries great cheeses.

There are a number of trails around Scotland that celebrate local produce, we’ve already covered the Malt Whisky Trail and Seafood Trail. Now it’s time to move onto some of Britain’s finest cheeses in the Scottish Cheese Trail.

What could be better than hiring a campervan and spending a week travelling around the spectacular Scottish countryside, whilst stopping every now and again for a we tour and taster? Is your mouth watering yet?

To make the most of the places you visit, It’s best to spread the trail over a few days, so I’ve created an iterinary for a week’s holiday in Scotland. Follow Part 1 below, the we’ll post the second part later in the week.

 Day 1

Once you’ve picked up your van from Rockinvans, you won’t have to travel too far before your first cheese fix as Dunlop Dairy is just 11 miles away. This small farm produces cows’, goats’ and sheep’s milk to create a range of soft and hard cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bonnet – a goats’ cheese, with a texture similar to Wensleydale
  • Dunlop – dry cloth bound cheese, often compared to a soft cheddar
  • Swinzie – a creamy texture using the milk from local sheep.

 

Next, you’ll make your way 30 miles north up to Ardardan Farm Shop, which is just 10 miles from Glasgow.  With a farm shop and deli counter, you can buy loads of goodies to take with you on your journey up to the Highlands, but make sure you stop off for a cuppa first.

After a relaxing day at Dunlop Dairy and Ardadan Farm Shop, you’ll have a long drive ahead up to West Highland Dairy over three hours away in Achmore.

You probably won’t have time to visit the dairy on the same day, so find somewhere to park up for the night – Reraig Caravan Site and Ardelve Caravan and Camping Site are both nearby.

 Day 2

Hopefully you got a good night’s sleep as you’ll be visiting three dairies today and driving over 100 miles inbetween. First up is West Highland Dairy, which makes delicious handmade cheeses and also specialises in crème fraiche.

Back in the van and a couple of hours later, you’ll end up at Connage Highland Dairy just past Inverness. This organic dairy farm has produced a number of award-winning vegetarian hard cheeses. You can visit the production room to see where all the action happens as well as buy produce from the pantry.

Further along the coast in Elgin is Gordon & MacPhail, a grocery shop that actually specialise in Malt Whisky. The cheese counter in the deli just can’t be missed though.

You’ll get your head down for the night in Elgin – try North Alves Caravan Park or Riverside Caravan Park – before an early start and a long journey to the Orkney Islands tomorrow.

Day 3

Get up and out early this morning as you’ll want to fit in Island Smokery and Orkney Cheddar on the Orkney Islands later on today. First you’ll have to drive the camper three hours north to Thurso, before catching the ferry over to the island – find out more about getting to Orkney here.

First up is the smokery, which takes local cheeses and creates distinctive (and award-winning) flavours in the smokery. They don’t have a website, but you can contact them on 01856850840.

After spending time there, you’ll move on to Orkney Cheddar, which is just half an hour’s drive away in Kirkwall. The Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kitchin, is a fan of the cheeses produced by the Orkney Cheese Co. and you can even find some of his recipes on their website.

Book a pitch at Pickaquoy Caravan and Camping Site before getting the ferry back to the mainland tomorrow.

 

You can find Part 2 of the Scottish Cheese Trail here.