“ Address: Inverarnan / Loch Lomond / G83 7DX / Scotland / Tel: 01301 704 281 „
My favourite part of the UK is the far north west coast of the Scottish Highlands and usually when I visit there I like to take my tent and rough it. The problem is it's almost a 600 mile drive from my home to the far north west so I am always on the lookout for a decent campsite to stop over at for just one or two nights on my way there and back. Sadly I've found many places that seem to be ideal but thus far they have always turned out to be a bit of a disappointment and the Beinglas Farm Campsite unfortunately turned out to be yet another such example to add to my list.
The location just a couple of miles north of Loch Lomond was perfect and the website enticed me. Its located right on the A82, which is the main route north from Glasgow to Fort William at a village called Inverarnan about 9 miles south of Crianlarich. I know this is a lovely part of the country so my expectations of this campsite were high - maybe too high.
According to the sat nav we had reached our destination about a mile before and having passed through the sign for the village of Inverarnan we were now concerned that somehow we had managed to miss it but then suddenly without warning it was there, indicated by the tiniest of signs stuck on a gate at the end of a narrow track.
Despite the fact that the weather was not good first impressions of the campsite were positive and the location is beautiful. It is set back off the main road and accessed via a narrow lane that crosses a bridge over the River Falloch. The backdrop is Ben Glas, which rises to over 700 metres above sea level and directly above the campsite sits the Ben Glass falls one of the regions most dramatic waterfalls.
It isn't possible to pre-book a pitch at this campsite which was a bit of a concern as I knew that we would be arriving quite late but we had had a good journey so it was only about 5pm. A sign at the end of the driveway instructed all new arrivals to report to the shop and so that's what we did. To the right of us there was a large field which was full of tents and although it looked busy it seemed adequate for our needs. We paid £15 per night for 2 adults and one car and paid for 2 nights. The owner was pleasant enough but not over friendly but that wasn't a problem as we would soon be moving on.
The first thing that we quickly discovered was that it was not possible to take the car beyond where we had parked, not even to unload, despite there being a good gravel path as it was blocked off by locked gates. It was quite a long walk but we didn't have a choice so we unpacked just the basic essentials (i.e. the tent) and headed off towards the distant field. As we approached the tent field it soon became apparent that all of the tents were huddled in the same small area, which was the only flattish part of the site. We walked around for a few minutes and finally decided that we had no option other than to pitch our tent very close to the others, which was not ideal but after all we weren't here for long. Even whilst we were putting up our tent more and more people arrived and we kept saying to each other that surely it is now full and they will now be starting to turn people away but they did not.
After settling in we checked out the site. There was a shed with tables and cooking facilities and an area to prepare or cook food. It was quite basic but better than many sites that I have stayed at have. I was however concerned when I checked out the toilet/shower block. There were just 2 toilets (no separate urinal in the mens), 3 showers and a couple of sinks. I convinced myself that there must be another toilet/shower block somewhere else and tried to turn a blind eye to the overflowing waste bins, which looked like they hadn't been emptied for days. I would soon discover that this was indeed the only toilet block and that despite the overflowing waste bin there was never any paper towels to dry your hands on and no hand dryer to use as an alternative. Of more concern we would discover that there was also never any loo roll either but thankfully we had come prepared and had some of our own.
There is a pub, café and restaurant on site as well as a shop which all sounds great but the prices were a joke. £1.35 for a cheap unbranded tin of beans! We hadn't been here very long but we had already realised that this place was here to just to make as much money out of their guests as possible.
Later that evening we decided to check out the pub on site but we had seen another pub in the village and decided to have a look at that first. Thankfully we did and the Drovers Inn turned out to be one of the highlights of our stay. The Drovers Inn is an old stagecoach inn that is steeped in history and one of the most unusual pubs I've ever been in, a cross between an inn and a museum. I suspect that it will be reviewed in its own right very soon so that's enough for now.
It was about a 15 minute walk to the village and we ate at the Drovers Inn and had a few drinks there with the intention of calling at the campsite pub for "the last one" on our back. The onsite pub is housed in the same building as the café, which both occupy the lower floor and upstairs there is a restaurant. It is very modern inside but it was quite small and very busy so there was nowhere to sit. It was also very noisy with young kids running around everywhere despite it being about 10.30pm. According to the notice on the wall children were only allowed in the bar until 9.30pm but the bigger joke was the sign that said strictly no noise on the site after 10.30pm.
A pint of lager was 40p dearer than I'd been paying at the village pub for the same brand but that didn't surprise me. We managed to grab a table just before we finished our pints and decided to stay for another one (we were on holiday after all). When we left about 11.30pm the pub was still quite busy. Last orders were supposed to be at Midnight.
At 11.30pm we would have normally been tiptoeing back to our tents and whispering but the place was still alive. A large group of about 30 people were huddled around a barbecue and they were very noisy. Elsewhere music blasted out from smaller barbecue parties. These would carry on until well into the small hours. We went to bed and I tried to sleep but I couldn't and I remember checking my watch and being surprised to find it was nearly 4am. Laughing and shouting was still going on outside.
The next morning I wondered if I'd imagined all the noise during the night but the vast amount of empty beer cans thrown everywhere soon reassured me that I had not. We wondered if we really wanted to stay here another night or not but then somehow convinced ourselves that perhaps last night was a one off. We stayed another night and unfortunately the first nights experience was not a one off. It seems that this place attracts large groups of young people, many of them with young kids that probably come from Glasgow which is relatively nearby (sorry Glaswegians) with the sole purpose of being very loud and constantly drunk and it seems that as long as they are spending their money the site owners could not care less. At the other end of the spectrum it also attracts the naive passer by. I guess that not very many of the latter ever return for second helpings.
On the plus side the location as I mentioned earlier is breathtaking. It is located right on the route of the long distance walk The West Highland Way and the Ben Glass Falls are very impressive. I could have probably grown used to the sound of the roaring water cascading vertically down the rocks above us had it not so often been drowned out by other less welcome noises.
If you like lots of noise and are happy to not move very far from your tent during your entire stay then perhaps this is the place for you. The shop opens until 10pm and the café and restaurant both serve food until 9pm. I didn't eat at either so I can't comment on the food at all. Oh and despite the site rules you will be free to make as much noise as you like and you will also be able to leave your children playing unsupervised close to gushing rivers.....
Beinglas Farm Campsite