When life gives you lemons (or in this case a summer of cancelled international holidays) then you make sweet plans to explore places nearer to home. We took this opportunity to see more of the wonderful country I called home for 6 years. Scotland. Oh beautiful Scotland. How close you are yet feel like a majestic and mystical land so far removed from anywhere else. In particular I’m referring to the rugged west coast of Scotland. This short and sweet three day adventure touring Mull, Oban and Glencoe was the perfect switch off we both needed.
Read on for this 3 day West Coast Campervan trip. We tick off three destinations – a weekend in Mull sandwiched between an evening in Oban and a sunrise in Glencoe.
DAY 1: OBAN:
Van hire: Staycation Scotland (loaned for trip)
Pick up your fully converted luxurious VW camper van from Glasgow at 3pm. We took Roxy, one of Staycation Scotland’s brand new fully kitted out camper vans for three days and drove this beauty straight out of Glasgow and headed north. We skirted the edges of Loch Lomond as we made our way to Oban for the evening.
The drive takes 2 hours and arrival into Oban early evening will get you a place in the queue at the Oban Seafood Hut for your first taste of fresh Scottish seafood. The green hut is open 10-6 daily and be prepared to wait. It’s no surprise there will be a small crowd waiting for the ridiculously cheap, fresh off the boat seafood. We had the scallops in garlic butter, a tub of mussels, hot smoked salmon sandwiches and oh so fresh, plump and juicy oysters all for £24. With the oysters being priced at a competitive 95p each it’s no surprise you can dine out on 5* seafood for less than a round of drinks in the pub.
If a more upmarket, sit-down affair is what you’re after then Eeusk on the harbour is unmissable. All locally caught fine Scottish seafood paired with as much locally sourced produce as possible.
In keeping with the seafood theme but a more lowkey meal check out one of Oban’s fish and chip shops. There are plenty to choose from but you’d be doing yourselves no favours if you don’t go to The Oban Fish & Chip Shop on George Street. All the usual suspects up on the main board (haddock, cod etc..) with the addition of a daily changing specials black board dependent on the fisherman’s catch. We went for the deep fried scallops with lashings of salt and vinegar. Divine is an understatement. Go to this chip shop, order the deep fried scallops and say YES to salt and vinegar. I insist!
That evening our moveable home took us to North Ledaig Caravan Park a 15 minute drive from Oban. We picked this place for the magical sunset spot and it most certainly delivered. The site was the most expensive one we visited on our three day trip (£30 per night) but it’s worth it for the sunset views over the loch.
DAY 2: MULL
An early start to catch the 8am ferry from Oban to Mull. The Calmac ferries are easy to book, run every couple of hours and are about £50 return for a motorhome spot on the boat.
We sailed out of Oban harbour and enjoyed 45 minutes of spectacular views as we edged closer to the misty mountains of Mull. Arriving at Craignure we drove off the ferry and took a right heading toward Tobermory. We took the liberty of stopping off at a woodland walking zone for a lazy breakfast in the van.
There are plenty of roadside lay-bys and view points along this road. The most spectacular one is most definitely Aros Park. Just shy of Tobermory, five minutes in to this woodland walk you’ll be treated to a roaring waterfall cascading down to the sea.
Back on the road make sure to stop off at Tobermory Fish Co to pick up local seafood and meat. If you plan on cooking in the camper van then this is a must! You won’t find scallops plumper or fresher than here. Spoiler alert – the deep fried scallops we ate in Oban were actually Isle of Mull scallops! So we couldn’t resist going back for more.
Mull is also the only Scottish isle that has an abattoir so all meat is locally reared and extremely fresh. At Tobermory Fish Co you’ll also be treated to local chutneys, biscuits and all the other scrumptious foodie things you can dream up on your highland camper van trip.
By lunchtime Tobermory is a perfectly convenient place to stop. Cafe Fish is the best restaurant on the island (or so I hear – unfortunately it’s still closed due to covid measures). If your visit is during a time the restaurant hasn’t reopened then the bakery sells hot and fresh pasties and sandwiches which are still tasty. Make sure to swing by the Isle of Mull Ice Cream parlour for dessert. Creamy and sweet homemade ice cream with a range of interesting flavours. We had salted caramel cheesecake and peach & coconut. Divine! I say this about a lot of stuff but wow that was the best ice cream we’ve both ever had.
Tobermory is home to the island’s distillery so stop off for a whiskey tasting (for the non drivers) and pick up a few bottles of the island’s tipple.
Back in the van head west out of Tobermory. By this point you’ll have realised there is one main island road that loops Mull and it is extremely easy to navigate your way around the place. A short 5 minute drive will take you to the Isle of Mull Cheese farm.
This famous cheese is still locally produced here at the farm. Visit the stunning cafe and enjoy a coffee, or just pass by to pick up some creamy and mature cheeses and chutneys. We opted for the classic isle of mull cheddar and a smoked version too.
Back in the van take the 40 minute drive to the west coast which will bring you to the most beautiful beach on the island. Not to be confused with beaches of the Mediterranean, Calgary Beach is the pristine white sandy beach with clear waters.
Mull beaches are absolutely one of the reasons to consider booking a trip here. Motorhomes are unable to stay overnight in this area but read on for a brilliant camping spot.
After an afternoon at the beach continue on the drive to Eas Fors Waterfall. There is free parking just past the waterfall and its a 30 second walk back to the entrance of the walkway.
The drive is incredibly beautiful around the island, so whilst you may feel like its a lot of time spent in the van it’s well worth the time seeing the island in all its beauty.
A 20 minute drive from the waterfall will take you to the Killiechronan campsite. A very casual affair – pull up and someone will be over at some point to take your money (£5pp to be exact). No showers or electricity but they do have accessible toilets. A lot of the campsites currently don’t have any facilities open so research the site beforehand or ensure your van is fully equipped with a portable toilet etc.
Minor details aside, the reason we stopped off here was for the uninterrupted, tranquil views out over Loch na Keal. An absolutely stunning spot to camp and if you’re lucky you may even spy some otters and sea eagles.
DAY 3: MULL / GLENCOE
The location of this campsite is really convenient for hikers wanting to tackle Ben More, the highest mountain in Mull.
After breakfast we set off early on our drive to reach Fionnport for some leisurely time at the beach and to catch a glimpse of Iona on the stunningly clear day we had. If you don’t have a dog / are willing to take your dog on a three hour boat trip then definitely sign up to Staffa Tours for a puffin watching expedition with a visit to Fingals Cave.
After a mid afternoon van lunch (unfortunately the Creel Shack was closed) we headed back to Craignure to catch the ferry back to the mainland.
Never too early to be thinking about dinner we stopped off at Inverlussa Mussel Farm to pick up 2kg of mussels (for a modest £2) for our final dinner of moules mariniere in the van. It sounds super boujie, and it absolutely was.
After the ferry ride and drive to Glencoe we arrived at Caolasnacon Caravan and Campsite at 6pm. Just in time for quick walk to the loch before sunset and a 5* van dinner before bedtime.
The following morning we woke to stunning scenes around the loch – a lone stag resting at the shores of the water. This site is extremely peaceful and reasonably priced at £17 for its location and facilities.
Day 4: VAN DROP OFF
An early morning departure from the site so we could enjoy a walk at the Glencoe Lochan Trail before heading back to Glasgow.
We only have a short stint in Glencoe and if we were redoing the trip I would add on an additional night here to explore the beauty of this area more.
Every place we visited is saved to my MULL, OBAN and GLENCOE Google Maps accessible here.
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Extra info about hiring a camper van from Staycation Scotland:
Costs vary from £85-£130 per day based on seasons.
Additional costs for extras including canopy cover, sleeping bags, portable toilet and luxury Scottish hampers. Vans are collected at 3pm on the day your trip begins and returned at 11am on the drop off day. All vans are deep cleaned between uses.
Jules, the owner of Staycation is SO lovely and always available to answer any questions in the run up to your trip (I had many.) There are plenty of inspiration guides on the Staycation Scotland site to get an idea of where other happy campers have been.
With a motorhome or Camper van places to camp are restricted. Whilst not illegal, wild camping is frowned upon in most places with a motorhome so make sure you have a rough idea of your route and check availability of campsites / openings before you set off. Pre-booking a campsite is encouraged.
Be prepared to really switch off – we had absolutely no signal for 24 hours on the west coast of mull. Fear not the Staycation Scotland vans have wifi – if you choose to use it. We relished in being uncontactable for a while.
The roads are mainly single track on the isles so be careful and maintain a safe speed. Driving time will always take longer than expected on the narrow, winding roads. Ensure there is plenty time to get to the next destination.