Campsite review – Sands Caravan and Camping, Gairloch

Sands Caravan and Camping site is a bigger and busier site than we usually choose, but it was its outstanding location in the north west highlands of Scotland that pulled us in.

The site

Sands is 3 miles out from Gairloch village, out along a coastal road.  It offers camping, touring and static caravan pitches and wooden wigwams. The camping and caravan sections are set apart from each other, with campers able to pitch their tents in amongst the dunes. The pitches all looked pretty flat and spacious.

The campsite is in a fabulous location, as you’ll see from this picture.

View from wigwam at Sands Campsite
View from wigwam at Sands campsite

In front of our spot, over the dunes, is the sandy beach.  The small uninhabited island of Longa is visible directly in front, with Skye a little further out. On the other sides are mountain vistas. Could the location be any more spectacular?

Our wigwam

I’d booked us into a wooden wigwam, partly because it saved us carrying all our camping gear and partly as protection against rain and midges.

Rona - our Sands Campsite wigwam
Rona – our Sands campsite wigwam

The wigwams are basic enclosed wooden shelters with platforms and mattresses to sleep on. You need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.  There is a small storage area, a kettle and a heater, which we definitely didn’t need.  Each wigwam also has a picnic bench and fire pit outside.

Inside the wigwam at Sands Campsite
Inside the wigwam at Sands Campsite

We needn’t have worried about the rain as it was unexpectedly warm and sunny throughout our stay. However the midges drove us crazy!  We were near enough confined to our wigwams once they came out each evening.  Due to the heat the wigwams resembled saunas as we kept the windows and doors shut in an attempt to keep the midges out.

Campsite facilities

There were plenty of toilets and showers, and they were kept pretty clean given the number of people using them. Annoyingly, the shower buttons had to be pressed every few seconds to stop the water turning off.  Very tricky when you’re trying to wash your hair!

You’re not allowed to cook in the wigwams, and as we’d managed to forget our camping stove we were thankful for the hob in the undercover cooking area (£1 for 20 mins of electricity). There’s also a dining area, which some people were using to escape the midges.

If you don’t fancy cooking, there is a small onsite cafe with home baking, lunches and breakfast rolls.  It’s open from 9am-5pm, then reopens again 6-8pm for evening meals. We popped in for drinks and cake, but didn’t eat there in the evenings.

Sands Campsite cafe
Sands campsite cafe

The camp shop is well stocked and sold just about anything you could possibly need on holiday. It opened at 8.30am, and we were always there ready to pick up freshly baked chocolate croissants each morning. Very tasty and highly recommended.

The shop has tourist information and details of walks in the local area. Directly across from the campsite entrance they’ve created a 1km looped trail, which was popular with the dog walkers. If you fancy a little more action you can also hire bikes (£12 a day) and kayaks (£25 a day) from the shop.

The beach

Beach at Sands Campsite, Gairloch
Beach at Sands campsite, Gairloch

The sites biggest attraction for families is the sandy beach which the campsite fronts onto. I’m guessing that for most of the year its pretty wild and windswept, but during our stay it was the scene of sandcastles, paddling and beach BBQs.

One last tip – if it is sunny during your stay, head up to the dunes to watch sunset (which can be pretty late in summer).   The pinks, gold and orange reflect onto the sea, creating an amazing spectacle. Certainly an impressive end to the day!

Sunset at Sands Campsite beach
Sunset at Sands campsite beach

More info

  • To book, or find out more,  see the Sands Caravan and Camping website.

Costs

  • Our family of four paid £48 per night for the wigwam. This was peak summer pricing. You can get smaller wigwams, these cost £32 for two sharing.

Campsite review: Fauxquets Valley, Guernsey

We loved this campsite!
Reception and shop at Fauxquets Valley campsite
Reception and shop at Fauxquets Valley campsite

Fauxquets Valley is located in a rural area in central Guernsey. It offers pitches for tents and camper vans, fully equipped tents and a couple of log cabins to rent.  There are a variety of camping areas, with separate areas for large tents or outback camping for those who don’t need an electric hook up.

Despite it being the May Bank Holiday weekend the site was pretty quiet and we were able to choose our own pitch on arrival.  We had mixed weather during our stay, with heavy rain on two nights, but the terraced pitch drained well.

Roland and Teresa, the owners, were friendly and welcoming.  They were permanantly busy but happy to chat and provide recommendations for walks and places to eat. Roland has mapped out some walks in the locality, and can point out a short walk in the valley which is perfect for an evening stroll.
A group of 50+ French children arrived on a school trip a couple of days into our stay. Fortunately they used tents in a separate field and had their own group toilets and showers so we weren’t disturbed.  Although they did commandeer the sockets in the ironing room for their phone chargers – and a coffee machine!
The campsite pool
The campsite pool

Facilities at Fauxquets

The toilets and showers were kept clean. I’m not sure how they’d cope at the height of the season as there were only three showers for ladies, three for men and a disabled shower but we had no problems during our stay. There is a playground for young children, a large field for ball games, an outdoor swimming pool, a TV room and a games room. We didn’t brave the pool as it was a cool week but we did hear shouts and splashes from more hardy souls.  The TV room was very small but to be fair, you don’t generally come camping to sit and watch the box!
The shop offers the usual camping and food basics, as well as newspapers, postcards, hot drinks and pre-ordered bakery goods.  It was open in the morning and late afternoon during our stay but all day during high season.  There’s a small sunny terrace outside, with free wifi, and a covered seating area with conservatory style furniture.
A wood fired pizza van operates a couple of times a week. We enjoyed an excellent goats cheese and red onion pizza (£6) with our Greek pasta salad one night.
Help yourself to herbs
Help yourself to herbs
The best part of the campsite though was the small area of farm animals – piglets, lambs, chickens etc. The piglets were very cute and the source of the sausages and other pork products on sale in the shop!
Piggy
We completed a variety of family walks in Guernsey and we also popped over the beautiful island of Herm for a day trip. Highly recommended if you get the chance!

More info: