Sanctuary at Ardgartan

This freezing weather is playing havoc with our ‘vans plumbing. During the last three days the overnight and daytime temperatures have stayed well below zero and the frost has now (eventually) made its way into our fresh water supply (tanks and pipes are frozen): so last night we had no hot water for showers or washing up. We’re okay for drinking water because we store that separately in a large 25 litre jerry can that can be brought into the warmth of the ‘van to keep it from freezing solid.

Icicles hanging from the roof of our motorhome

So, after completing Ben Challum yesterday we decided that it was time to run for shelter at a campsite with good facilities. As our plans are to head to Edinburgh in the next few days to meet up with my brother and his family we thought that we’d give the Edinburgh site a call to see if they had any spaces and so could take us a few days earlier than planned. We were, however, a bit surprised when they told us that the site (in the middle of Edinburgh) was effectively closed to all but four-wheel drive vehicles due to the “treacherous levels of ice covering the whole site”. We had to quickly revise our plans and instead made our way south to the Ardgartan Forest Holidays site near Arrochar (about 20 miles from our location near Ben Challum).

Although the temperatures at Arrochar were similar to those in Edinburgh there was very little snow lying and the site wardens had managed to clear all but the most stubborn patches of ice from the grounds. And as per our visit a few weeks ago it turned out that we were the only touring ‘van staying – we once again had the pick of the site for our pitch.

An icy grip on our motorhome

Pitching at the exact same location as we did on our previous visit we were able to look out towards the village of Arrochar at the head of Loch Long. Even though Loch Long is a sea loch, the temperatures have been so consistently cold that large parts of the sea had frozen and this floating platform of ice was rising and ebbing with the tide.

Even after a day on the site, with us plugged into the electric hook-up our water supply remained “dead”. It is going to take a sustained period of temperatures well above freezing to thaw out the lagged tanks and pipes.

Wooden chalets on Ardgartan site - with The Cobbler (Ben Arthur) in the background

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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