My recent visit to the Highlands rightly took in the imposing Commando Memorial which is a Category A listed monument in Lochaber in the Highlands and is dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces. Much of their training was carried out in this area.
Caravan Times’ William Coleman caught up with CAMC Director General Nick Lomas at the show.
By William Coleman
On the opening day of the Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show we caught up with Nick Lomas, The Director General of The Caravan and Motorhome Club. We spoke with Nick about The Club’s sites in Scotland that are pitched on locations that film fans will certainly recognise.
Nick also gave us the rundown on The Club’s ‘Adventure Outside’ campaign which will include the Cycle Fest. We have a full article of CAMC’s CycleFest.
For those who love films here are a few of The Club sites that have been given the Hollywood treatment. Some of these are contenders for list of all time greats. The films are good too.
The Highlands: Film- Stardust
Kinlochewe Club Site
Set at the bottom of the rugged slopes of Beinn Eighe and along the shores of Glen Docherty, Kinlochewe Club Site is somewhat famous on the network. The Site played host to the stars of 2007 romantic fantasy film Stardust; including Robert de Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, when it was used as a base camp for filming in this beautiful region. Kinlochewe offers a slower pace of life and is a great spot to wind down after a busy day outdoors exploring the surrounding mountains. This Site is also popular with bird lovers trying to get a glimpse of the golden Eagle at nearby Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve.
From £18.70 per standard pitch per night based on two adults sharing
Glencoe: Film- Skyfall
North Ledaig Caravan Club Site
Home to one of the most famous battles between Scottish Clans, Glencoe also played host one of the most recognisable Special Agents in the country. Featuring in the 2012 film Skyfall, the childhood home of James Bond, Skyfall Lodge, was set and filmed in the natural beauty of Glencoe. For 007 fans, combine a visit to this stunning landscape with a stay at the North Ledaig Club Site. This 30-acre Site is located on two miles of sandy beach and has been awarded the David Bellamy Conservation Award. The Site is ideal for those who love watersports and is only a 40 minute drive to Glencoe.
From £20 per standard pitch per night based on two adults sharing
Fort William: FIlm- Harry Potter
Bunree Caravan Club Site
Deemed one of the most iconic film locations in Scotland, Fort William and the surrounding area welcomed the magic of the Harry Potter movie series for over ten years of filming. Muggles will recognise the infamous Rannoch Moor in the area, where the dementors boarded the Hogwarts Express in the first instalment of the final movie. The West Highland Line also runs through Fort William with services from Edinburgh and Glasgow and will be familiar to Potter fans as the route of the Hogwarts Express. For those looking to be close to all of the enchanted action, Bunree Club Site offers a great pit stop. The Site is only a 20 minute drive from Fort William town centre and is on the water’s edge of Loch Linnhe.
From £17.50 per standard pitch per night based on two adults sharing Mon-Thurs during mid-week discount periods
Perth: Film- Braveheart
Balbirnie Park Caravan Club Site
Situated just north of Edinburgh, Perth plays host to the filming location one of the most iconic Scottish movies of all time, Braveheart. Some of the best known scenes of the 1995 classic starring Mel Gibson, were filmed at Loch Leven in Perth including the famous mountain walk of William Wallace after the killing of Mornay. For the perfect Scottish getaway this year, combine a trip to Loch Leven with a stay at nearby Balbirnie Club Site only a 30 minute drive away. The Site is set within 400 acres of parkland and is a popular stop off point on the network with hikers, cyclists and dog walkers.
From £13.50 per standard pitch per night based on two adults sharing Mon-Thurs during mid-week discount periods
SOURCE: William Coleman of “Caravan Times”
I was in Scotland earlier this week. I stayed at four Caravan Club sites; Coniston in the Lake District on my way to Scotland, Strathclyde which put me in the right place for the Scottish Show at the SEC in Glasgow, then a night at the delightful “The Woods” Affiliated Site in Alloa about twenty miles north east of Edinburgh and finally at Melrose which is a favourite.
My four photographs are:
1. Sunrise in The Borders not far from the Scottish English border.
2. The idyllic setting you find at The Woods – with a restaurant thrown in for good measure.
3. The Caravan Club stand at the show – as always busy and very well presented.
4. The new and still under construction Forth Road Bridge is a thing of beauty and because it is so close to the world famous rail bridge it makes you realise just how outstanding those Victorian engineers were. I am reliably informed the rail bridge no longer needs to be continually repainted as science has developed a long life coating which will last for ages. Doubtless the complaining and weary phrase most often heard in offices “it’s like painting the Forth Bridge” will live on anyway.
The Caravan Club’s site in Melrose, Scotland, is well worth a visit. Open all year it is in the town and Melrose itself is a delight. Some pubs and the star attraction for me – The Townhouse restaurant and hotel; and a couple of late night food shops within two minutes one of which is The Cooperative. All in all a very user friendly site for motorhomers.
Opened in 1890 the bridge was considered the be-all and end-all of engineering. At the time it was also the longest bridge in the world at 2.53 kilometres.
The Caravan Club’s 75 pitch Balbirnie Park is the nearest to hand at Markinch, Fife.
The phrase “It’s like painting the Forth Bridge” is still of course widely used to describe some never ending task but the phrase is now technically inaccurate as paint technology has moved on and the bridge is sealed with an industrial coating which renders constant repainting redundant.
I have just completed – and not for the first time – the drive on the A82 alongside Loch Lomond and up to Fort William and beyond. I put it up there with the best drives in Europe. Huge, spectacular scenery and passes of extreme beauty such as Glencoe. Breathtaking stuff.
The Caravan Club is scheduled to open its new site at Stonehaven, Queen Elizabeth Park on 5 July this year. A picturesque seaside location, it’s ideal for family holidays and will provide 77 pitches, equating to approximately 9,500 pitch nights for 2013; more will be available in 2014 when it will be operating from March to November.
Local attractions include an Olympic sized, open air swimming pool and paddling pool, heated and fed by seawater. Fishing villages, a variety of restaurants and Dunnottar Castle are all situated close by. For those wishing to experience some city culture, the town’s railway is part of the mainline link to Edinburgh so plenty of opportunity to see more of the sights of Scotland. Stonehaven is also located just 15 miles south of Aberdeen.
This is the second new site The Club has added to its network in Scotland in less than a year, following the opening of Strathclyde Country Park Caravan Club site, near Glasgow, in November 2012 which is open all year round to members as well as non-members. This brings the total number of Caravan Club sites in Scotland to 30, with 121 Certificated Locations (small, maximum 5 van sites) also on the site network. Lying in 400 hectares of parkland, just 15 miles from the bustling city centre of Glasgow, there are plenty of attractions and events to suit all ages including sites of historic interest and a nearby theme park for the children. The Country Park includes activities such as sailing, kayaking, bike hire and much more.
The popularity of touring in Scotland is on the increase and following requests from its members, The Caravan Club has recently introduced a flat-rate fee offer on three of its Scottish sites, providing even greater value when travelling north of the border and enticing members to experience the delights of these beautiful, remote and scenic locations. Caravan Club member and TV wildlife presenter, Simon King says, “I like to feel as close to the wild world as possible and that is where the caravan comes in. No other accommodation gets me into the heart of the action with so much comfort and flexibility. Scotland offers an abundance of wildlife that can be
seen among some of the most stunning scenery. I am delighted that The Caravan Club is helping its members discover the many hidden wonders of this beautiful part of the country.”
In the north-west, Kinlochewe, close to Loch Maree, now costs just £15 per night for two adults including pitch all year round. Brora – a lovely coastal site in the north-east, costs £18, and beautiful Dunnet Bay in the north costs just £17 for two adults.
Another deal covering two more wonderful Scottish sites – Clachan next to Loch Tay and Altnaharra on the banks of Loch Naver – now offer The Club’s ‘Only Eleven’ deal, which means the all-inclusive fee for a standard pitch, including electricity or economy pitch with no electricity, is just £11 per night.
With all these great value offers and so many sights to discover, there has never been a better time to visit Scotland. Ellen Shotts, Product Development Manager for The Caravan Club says, “These Caravan Club offers are great news for both the Scottish tourer and those visiting from further afield. It’s hoped that even more Caravan Club members will have the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of Scotland as a result.”
The head of Scotland’s tourism industry has issued a rallying call for it to capitalise on the “once-in-a-lifetime” series of events being held in 2013 and 2014.
Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland’s chairman, said the country had the chance to emulate the success of the London Olympics if it threw its weight behind the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the next Home- coming and the Battle of Bannockburn 700th anniversary celebrations.
Mr Cantlay, who hosted a reception at the Scottish Parliament to kickstart VisitScotland’s campaign, declared that tourism was now Scotland’s biggest industry and could provide the “tonic” to the economic downturn over the two years.
He said the Year of Natural Scotland, a Scottish Government-instigated campaign for 2013, would pave the way for the events the following year by encouraging more Scots to discover their own country and become national “ambassadors”, in a similar way to how Londoners embraced the Olympics.
“This is our time and opportunity to put Scotland firmly on the tourism map as the eyes of the world focus on our nation,” he said.
The government agency EventScotland is hosting a major conference in Glasgow next month to help ensure Scotland capitalises on the string of events.
Bill Morris, director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the London Olympics, as well as the torch relays, will be among the guest speakers, along with David Zolkwer, who will be in charge of the equivalent events in Glasgow in two years’ time, Donald Getz, a leading tourism academic from the University of Queensland, and Mr Cantlay himself.
The tourism chief said: “We simply have never had a year like this before, when two of the biggest sporting events in the world will be held in Scotland. But we are really seeing them as only the start.
“We want to use the Year of Natural Scotland as a campaign to get Scots to properly discover their own country for the first time, and ensure that every Scot plays as big a part and enjoys the events in 2014 as much – if not more – than Londoners did this summer.
“We want both the Year of Natural Scotland next year, and the Year of Homecoming, to reach every corner of Scotland, and we want businesses and the public to get ready for them.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “There are some wonderful opportunities for Scottish tourism in the coming years, and we are working with VisitScotland to make sure that we maximise the impact of these.”
He said next year, the Year of Natural Scotland, will celebrate Scotland’s marvellous assets.
“2014 sees Scotland ‘Welcome the World’ with our big invitation to visit in a year when we celebrate not only our second Year of Homecoming but also host two of the world’s largest events – the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.
“The talent and dedication shown by people who work in the industry is central to the success of these events, which can make a substantial contribution to delivering sustainable economic growth for Scotland.”