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. One now has a woodburner as well. You can either bring your own bedding, crockery, cutlery and kitchenware or hire it. For those without en suite arrangements, the site facilities are excellent, so there’s no need to rough it here. One large Shieling also houses 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 put up 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 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 known 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 Glen Seilisdeir, 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) 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, with a cosy congratulatory sundowner – to be enjoyed with that view.
PriceTent and 2 people £18 (£15 if no car); extra adults £6, children £3, dogs £1.50; hook-ups £4.50. Shielings from £39/£244 per night/week; ensuite Shielings from £55/£330 per night/week, Cottages from £60/£360, all for 2 adults.
Opening TimesCamping Mar–Nov; Shielings Apr–Oct; Cottages all year.
Accommodation90 pitches, 30 with hook-up, some right by the sea, others with enchanting views to Ben Nevis. 16 Shielings and 2 cottages.
The Shielings, Shieling Holidays, Craignure, Isle of Mull PA65 6AY
By car, you cross from Oban to Craignure, or from Lochaline to Fishnish 6 miles up the coast -
On foot or by bike, take the train or bus around mid-day from Glasgow and catch the ferry at 16.00 from Oban, arriving at Craignure, Mull at 16.46; returning by the 10.55 ferry arriving in Glasgow around 1600. Please check times before travelling. Phone, and we'll collect you and your luggage from the ferry.
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