If the effort of getting there makes the arrival all the sweeter, Fidden Farm is a sugar overload. Not to mention utterly gorgeous. A three-hour drive from Edinburgh only gets you to Oban, where you’ll have to jump on a ferry to Mull, which may just be the most scenic ferry ride you’ve ever taken. Arriving on Mull, you might be lucky enough to see an otter playing on the rocky shores of Craignure, before negotiating the remaining 40- odd miles across one of Britain’s most spectacularly inhospitable landscapes. Some sections are single track, so you’ll have to weave around the odd car, bike, Highland cow or red deer, and you may well arrive cursing. But not for long.
There are no signs telling you that you’ve arrived at a campsite (no signs telling you anything, actually) and many a baffled camper must surely have turned around, disappointed, and left thinking that maybe there isn’t a campsite here after all. But there is, and it’s thriving – just in a very quiet way.
Fidden Farm enjoys one of the finest locations of any campsite in the UK. The grass tufts of this deeply informal place to camp give way to a rugged coastline indented with pretty little sandy coves, while the Atlantic stretches off into the distance broken only by the hulk of the Isle of Erraid. There is not much to do here but take in the setting and look out for bottlenose dolphins, whales and sea eagles. You certainly won’t want to leave – and that’s not just because of that epic journey home.
All in all, it takes a good couple of days to calm down, let the mental metabolism adjust to ‘Fidden Farm time’ and come to terms with your good fortune in finding the place. Bring everything you have in the way of bikes and canoes, and be prepared to use them; the heavily indented coastline of Mull makes it perfect for sea kayaking, and the traffic-free roads are as biker friendly as they are joyously scenic.
Most of the time Fidden Farm is getting-away-from-it-all-camping in no uncertain terms, but apparently, for the first two weeks of the English school holidays, half the nation feels the urge to escape and a good proportion, it seems, migrate here, so do choose your time wisely.
So, what else is there to do besides canoeing, biking, bird-watching or just wandering about in a trance of slightly detached amazement? Surely that’s enough? If not, the pilgrimage to the island of Iona can be made from Fionnphort either purely for sightseeing reasons or for a lovely stroll around the entire island (about 9 miles). Those with deeper religious intent may want to visit Iona Abbey, where Christianity first washed up on these beautiful shores. And while you’re prowling around Fionnphort, waiting for a ferry, the café and shop can be inspected too. The shop stocks everything you’re likely to need, including the famously delicious Selkirk Bannock Bun, a rich fruit bun that is all anybody really needs in life. Also accessible from Fionnphort is the small, uninhabited island of Staffa, which resembles the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. And that’s it – anything else is miles (and miles) away, but then surely that’s the whole point of getting away from it all.
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We came to stay at Fidden Farm for a few days in May 2013. On arrival we were amazed with the spacious grounds overlooking the sea, it was like a little spot of paradise with white sandy beaches and clear blue seas. Lovely array of wildlife about and plently of rocks for climbing! Absolutley loved it! One of our favourite camping spots with great facilities!
My husband and I visited here last summer for the first time and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, The site is massive, with its own beach and loads of space between tents. The showers and toilets are great and the washroom for dishes is ideal. On our way down to get the ferry to Iona we found a shed full of books for sale for pennies. Dolphins swimming along side the ferry was amazing. The local pub does great food to eat in or take away and the wee shop sells enough to get you by should you need it. If you visit the abbey on Iona, your pass admits you all week – it's an amazing place. We enjoyed ourselves so much we're gong back in 2 weeks. Oh and if you visit Tobermory, look out for the famous handsome Tobermory cat. I cant wait to get back.
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A very nice site, although it was busy when we visited. We managed to get a beachside pitch and enjoyed dining with the sunset. The beach is a mix of sand and rocks - perfect for exploring. It was good to see a restored steading housing a new toilet and shower block - feel the quality of the wooden doors and slate tiles! Also, for a campervan, it represents good value - about half the cost of a typical site - although no electricity, of course. There is even a chemical toilet disposal spot. Yes, it is quite a long drive out to Fidden Farm, but it is very close to Fhionnport and the ferry to Iona, so it fits in with a typical Mull/Iona itinerary very well.
Iona CampsiteCnoc Oran, Isle of Iona, Argyll, Scotland, PA76 6SP
The rugged and windswept Isle of Iona lies just off the coast of Mull and has some of the UK’s most wonderful and virtually deserted beaches. And now it has a campsite (the island’s one and only), called... Iona Campsite! Are your bags already packed?
Fidden Farm has one of the most scenic locations of any UK campsite.Far, far from the madding crowd, and in an incredibly beautiful location.
Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs, big groups, young groups – yes.
Campfires allowed. 40 pitches. No hook-ups. Simple toilet portacabin with toilets and showers.
The most popular nearby destination is the Isle of Iona, with its beguiling abbey (01681 700512) and white sand beaches. Another option is the island of Staffa, renowned for its incredible basalt pillars, which inspired Mendelssohn’s ‘The Hebrides’. For walkers, a thrilling option is being dropped by boat on the Isle of Erraid, where the hero of Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped is bundled ashore. Suitably equipped walkers can also follow the Stevenson Way, which battles its way through 50 miles of Mull’s toughest terrain.
If it rains
Food & Drink
In Fionnphort the Keel Row (01681 700458) serves up a hearty menu featuring local seafood. The Ardachy House Hotel (01681 700505) has superb local lamb and hand-dived scallops.There is only one, and thankfully the Keel Row Restaurant (01681 700458) is a cracker, only a mile or so from the site, it offers excellent traditional food (served between 6 and 8:30pm, so get there early) and beers.