Long before the word glamping had ever come into the camping lexicon, Isle of Mull-based Shieling Holidays (the brainchild of David and Moira Gracie) were offering nights under canvas for those not keen on pitching their own tents. Their 16 starched white shielings may not be quite as glamorous as some places these days, but they are supremely flexible, and eight en-suite shielings are also available (with their own toilet and hot shower). Designed for a maximum of six inhabitants, they also boast cookers, worktops, electric lighting and gas heaters. You can either bring your own bedding, crockery, cutlery and kitchenware or hire it. For those without en suite ablutional arrangements, the site facilities are excellent, so there’s no need to rough it here. In one large Shieling there’s a common room where you can cook, wash dishes and sit by the multifuel stove. Or light the campfire outside and enjoy the spectacular view.
There are camping pitches, too, for those who prefer to pitch their own tent, and the location could not be more dramatic. The waterfront site sits right on the strategic Sound of Mull, guarding the gateway to the Hebrides. Just across the water lies Morvern, while in the distance a flurry of mountain peaks vie for attention, including Ben Nevis. Otters are resident on the rocky foreshore and porpoises and dolphins also regularly make an appearance. Many visitors just recline and watch the wildlife and the ferries travelling between the mainland and the isles.
If you’ve brought along a canoe or two, or even a boat, these can be launched at the front of the site where there’s a handy slip road straight into the Sound of Mull. Behind the Shielings, climb the Hill of the Two Winds, a fine ridge with views made in heaven.
Bring your bikes to Mull for some serious traffic-free miles and a wilderness experience not found anywhere else in Britain. There’s an excellent cycle ride to the island’s main (and only) town at Tobermory. It’s a 40-mile round trip, but taken over the whole day, and in decent weather, it isn’t nearly as arduous as it is scenic. Tobermory is famous for being the inspiration and setting for the kids’ TV show Balamory, but the island was famous before that for its wildlife, and especially its population of sea eagles. They can usually be seen around Loch Frisa, where there are organised eagle-spotting trips, but also at several other coastal areas on the island.For hikers, Mull’s biggest attraction is Ben More, the only island Munro (a mountain with a peak over 3,000ft/914m) outside of Skye. Much more accessible is Dun da Ghaoithe, Mull’s second highest peak, which rears up behind the site – a good half- day’s walk, but one that offers life-affirming views and the chance to spot red deer and eagles. Back by the Sound your tent awaits and a cosy congratulatory sundowner enjoyed with that view.
A beautiful site, with views to Ben Nevis, and a warm welcome for you and your tent, camper or caravan. Or try our unique Shielings and budget beds, or charming Cottages. Wi-fi, bike hire, launderette. There's a wildlife trail, and an enchanting coastline to walk the dog. Otters live on site, and dolphins and porpoises visit.
It is the ideal base for Mull: stroll to pub, shop, cafe, ferry, buses for Tobermory and Iona (for Staffa); walk to swimming pool, castles, and hills. Wild life tours collect from the site. No need of a car, especially for short breaks. Just visit our website to book and escape to a better world.
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From Glasgow, rail (08457 484950) or bus (0871 266 3333) at 12.00, ferry (01680 812343) at 16.00 from Oban, arrive Mull 16.46; back by 10.55 ferry, arrive Glasgow by 1600. Please check times before travel.
Tent and 2 people £16, extra adults £5, children £2.50, dogs £1; hook-ups £4; Shielings £32/208 per night/week for 2 adults; ensuite Shielings from £48/288 per night/week; budget beds £13.50 per person per night (£9.50 under 15). £2.50 discount if no car.
Campfires allowed (designated communal area). 16 shielings. 90 tent pitches. Excellent toilet and free hot shower facilities with washbasins and disabled facilities. Swing, sandpit and games for children. Communal TV. Communal firepits and benches with views. Launderette. Astroturf tent pitches handy in poor weather, special tent pegs available if needed. Bike hire available. Wildlife trail on site.
You can walk along the beach to Duart Castle, 12th century home of the Chief of the Clan Maclean, where the home baking in the tea room is legendary. The Isle of Mull Hotel (01680 812544) has a lovely swimming pool and spa facilities if you fancy treating yourself. Further afield the island capital of Tobermory is a picturesque treat, and is home to the Tobermory Distillery (01688 302647). There are buses to take you off to Tobermory and Iona (and Staffa too). Or get the ferry to Oban for a mosey around the town. The Scottish Sealife Sanctuary (01631 720386) is about 10 miles away in Barcaldine and has an impressive array of water-loving creatures, including sharks.
Camping March–November; shielings April–October.
If it's full
The Craignure Inn (01680 812305) does a decent pint, and this cosy pub also has a restaurant offering wild Mull venison, smoked trout from Tobermory, Mull Cheddar and Mull Brie. Tobermory has a better choice of eating options including the excellent Café Fish (01688 301253), where the freshest of fish and shellfish is perfectly prepared. Mull’s best pub is in Tobermory, the Mishnish (01688 302009). MacGregor’s Roadhouse (01680 812471) is also handy, with top-notch grub.Stroll to Arlene's Coffee Shop, by the pier (01680 812238); or walk to the Isle of Mull Hotel (01680 812544) at the other side of the bay, or along the shore to sample the home baking at Duart Castle (01680 812309) .
Buses leave from the pier for Tobermory and for Iona/Staffa. Many wildlife tour operators will collect from the site, for example our neighbour Pete Hall of Mull Wildlife Tours (07780 601177).
Tents, campervans, caravans, big groups, young groups, dogs – yes.