With the forecast of blizzards on the way and after three great days on the hills and the freedom of wild camping by night under our belts, we decided that we would make a run for it, whilst we still could, and get booked into a campsite near by. The closest one that was also open for the winter season was the Forest Holidays site at Ardgartan near Arrochar on Loch Long. It was less than 10 miles from where we were parked at Inveruglas for our climb up Ben Vane.
We actually made it ‘just in time’ as overnight the forecasted blizzard materialized and we woke to over 4” of snow, which grew to over 8” throughout today.
The Ardgartan site comprises a mixture of wooden chalets plus room for a large number of touring caravans and motorhomes, as well as camping facilities. We were not too surprised when the site warden told us that we had the pick of the site and could pitch anywhere. We chose a spot facing Loch Long and the village of Arrochar.
The facilities on site are excellent. The shower and toilet block are well cared for: the showers are roasting hot and just what was required after our winter’s day outing on Ben Vane. However, we must have looked a rather incongruous sight when we headed over to the shower block again this morning with me sporting a pair of shorts, hooded sweatshirt and flip-flops: with the snow over 4” deep. Rather cold tootsies!
There is a well-stocked shop on the site, which also acts as the reception area. A small conservatory-like extension to the shop/reception is provided as a “reading room” and café area. There is also a modern and efficient laundry room adjacent to the toilet and shower block.
The Forest Holiday staff are really friendly and helpful. The warden especially helped get Internet access set up that allowed me to post some updates to the blog. Even he was surprised by the amount of snow that had fallen overnight and during the day as Ardgartan is a sea-level site and not generally susceptible to heavy snowfalls.
We were so glad we made the decision yesterday to sit out these blizzard conditions at a proper campsite as the police, due to the adverse weather conditions, closed many of the local roads. When we get back to Fort William I’m definitely going to order a pair of snow chains or snow socks for the ‘van!