Tuesday 20 November 2007

Islay - The Whisky Isle

Until recently, there was just one campsite on IslayKintra Farm, 3 miles out of Port Ellen. Then, in 2007, another site opened – Port Mor Centre and Campsite at Port Charlotte. We can’t comment on Port Mor campsite because time did not permit us to visit it, however, a fellow motorhomer staying at Kintra Farm spoke very highly of it.

We use the internet extensively for researching our motorhoming holidays, and had seen some amazing images of Kintra. We chose it because pitching is possible right up to the beach and the views looked abolutely stunning. They were, and more.

This is without doubt one of the most beautiful and natural locations we have ever camped in our motorhome. The wide, sweeping, windswept beach is right in front of your door and the white sandy beach is just a step away. After checking in at the farmhouse, you make your way slowly over the solid grass-covered sand dunes to pick a pitching area of your choice. There were just a handful of fellow campers whilst we were there: a few tents and a couple of other motorhomes but we did not see any caravans in the two and a half days we were there.

Now, it has to be said that the facilities are basic, the welcome is brusque and the list of do’s and don’ts is very long and strictly enforced. A strange situation is that the site has no facilities for chemical toilet disposal. Apparantly the septic tank cannot cope, and there is an essay in the advance information emailed out that they are not a dumping station for campers who have stayed elsewhere. So the tone is pretty much set from before you arrive. We were only there for a couple of days, so it wasn’t a problem, but I have no idea what you would do if you wanted to stay there for a week or more. Now, I thought that it was a minimum requirement that campsite had to provide a CDP?

On the subject of water, this comes out of the taps brown and has to be boiled. We'd filled up before arriving, and had plenty on board to last us, but campers may wish to take an ample supply of bottled water for drinking purposes.

We paid £15.00 per night in September for our motorhome with no hook-up, to include showers and use of kettle, however, any other electricity used is charged for – ie mobile phone charging or hair-dryer!! Dogs are tolerated, and, disappointingly, there is a 4 mile circular walk from the site, on which dogs are not allowed. That put me in a right bad temper, I can tell you.

Once pitched up, we spent our time walking on the 10 mile beach, or just soaking up the amazing views. It was extremely windy whilst we were there, so sitting outside for any length of time was not pleasant and having planned to do the walk above, Plan B was a linear walk back down the single track road towards Port Ellen, and down towards Mull of Mu, which took us about three hours and is well worth doing.

We wished we'd booked longer on this site, and we would have loved more time to explore Islay, however, a text message from CalMac meant we had to adjust our return journey arrangements ................

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