Nothing can prepare you for the view at Cleadale. Admittedly, the journey here does a good job of warming you up – especially if you see dolphins, minke whales or an orca on the ferry over. And the island of Eigg itself gets ever more spectacular as you approach, with its serried banks of sheer cliffs and the insolent snub nose of An Sgurr towering over the harbour. Any geologists on your boat will be in heaven; birdwatchers may well be spontaneously combusting. But it’s only when the local minibus rattles its way up and over the ludicrous ribbon of tarmac that passes for a road on the island and drops you down into the cluster of crofts in the northern corner that you really get it.
First you look seawards. Ah, you think, look at that – a sweep of green land, a white sand beach, a shining Hebridean sound and the jagged crown of the cuillin of Rum. JRR Tolkien holidayed here, and you can bet he had Rum in mind when he imagined the Misty Mountain. It’s amazing. Then you heft your bag and turn to look at the campsite – and realise you will be staying at the bottom of a vast and curving cliff, an amphitheatre tiered infinitely steeply as if for the sole purpose of giving the eagles a braw place from which to observe the sunset.
The campsite itself is as wild and wonderful as its setting. The pitches aren’t the flattest and the dishwashing sink is outdoors. But if you’re the kind of person who likes watching buzzards coast from the cliffs as you wash the pasta from your plate, you’ll love the view at Cleadale.
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The picture of the tent at this campsite is our tent. I remember being approached and asked if the photo could be taken. My other half is in the tent and had no idea what was going on!
The campsite is by far the best we have ever stayed at. It is not a campsite you go to for its facilities. It is all about the view! We enjoyed the basic facilities, climbing the hill to the wooden hut with a drop toilet was not an issue for us. The island itself is beautiful with some lovely walks on the hills and on the beaches which are near by. The exposed position of the campsite also had the added bonus of keeping the midges at bay. All in all a great stay and we hope to return in the future.
Kinloch Village CampsiteKinloch, Isle of Rum, Inverness-shire, PH43 4RR, Scotland
Explore the wonderful wildlife of this magical, remote Hebridean island.
GlenbrittleGlenbrittle, Carbost, Isle of Skye IV47 8TA
When was the last time you saw the Milky Way? Or had no signal on your mobile? In this remote glen on the Isle of Skye, far away from the ubiquitous glow of sodium street lamps, you’re bound to see the streak of a shooting star and if you listen carefully enough you’ll hear nothing at all.
ArdnamurchanOrmsaigberg, Kilchoan, Acharacle PH36 4LL
A geographical beauty where you can forget the harsh realities of life and remember what it is you’re living for.
10 pitches, no hook ups. This is as close to wild camping as a campsite gets. There are two composting loos (one of which would win a national ‘Loo With A View’ competition by a mile). A newly built campers’ shower and loo will be operational by 2013. There is also a yurt and a self-catering bothy; the bothy is open all year round. The only shop on Eigg is on the other side of the island, so make sure you bring supplies. The site does sell free-range eggs and seasonal organic vegetables grown on the own croft when available. No campfires.
There are two of Scotland's most excellent beaches within 15 minutes’ walk. One of which, the Singing Sands, has natural arches, caves and waterfalls to explore. The crofting museum a couple of houses along is fascinating. Take the path just past the Lageorna restaurant up onto the cliffs for an airy and unforgettable circular walk. The locals love a good ceilidh, so check out if there’s one happening and join in.
Food & Drink
If you fancy a special treat, the restaurant Lageorna (01687 482405) is just two minutes walk from the campsite and offers fine food in a friendly atmosphere, with windows that make the most of the setting.