Escaping to the islands: Wild camping on Gigha

Posted by Admin on

As summer inevitably draws to a close, we here at summits are doing our best to eek out every last second of Scottish warmth. That's why a few of us set off to camp on the beautiful Isle of Gigha for a relaxed beach weekend. Read on to find out the best camping spots and what there is to do on Gigha!

The Journey

One of the more accessible Scottish islands, Gigha is roughly only a 20-minute ferry from the mainland port of Tayinloan. The journey to the ferry is quite a drive - roughly 3 hours from our shop near Glasgow - so leave lots of time regardless of where you are coming from!

The ferry itself is relaxed, running every hour and you don't have to book, just get a day ticket. You'll capture your first glimpse of Gigha's west coast, beyond which you can even see the Paps of Jura - another great adventure in Scotland! We had already scouted out our spot, the twin beaches that link Gigha with a rocky peninsula so all we had to do was drive for 10 minutes down Gigha's (only) road, park and then walk around 500m to our spot on the beach!

The twin beaches

Camping on Gigha's beaches

We chose a grassy spot for our camp just up from the southern beach and set up camp while watching a glorious 25°C (!!) sunset. The rest of the evening was spent simply enjoying each other's company beside a campfire, enjoying the rare comforts of car camping which we usually have to forgo to get such beautiful scenery. Big comfy camping chairs, coolboxes, inflatable mattresses - working at a camping shop has its perks!

Sunset on the twin beaches of Gigha
Sunset on the twin beaches

Island activities

The next two days were spent exploring the island and most importantly, relaxing! Our first activity was paddle boarding, before being attacked by the midge - Gigha has a particularly vociferous strain- however a kindly local helped out by lending us some trusty smidge. The locals are well known throughout Scotland as a particularly friendly group of people. In 2002, there was a community buyout which led to a boost in the island economy, including wind turbines powering the whole community with green energy. It has also led to a genuine community feel on the island, making it one of the nicest places to visit in Scotland. A special mention must also go to "The Nook", a really lovely fish and chip shop. Owned by the locals that run the adjoining Ardminish store where you can get anything you might need.

The Nook on Gigha menu
The Nook's menu

What to do on Gigha

Other than the classic island activities of fishing, walking, cycling and apparently sunbathing, here are a few sights to see on the island while camping on Gigha.

  • Golf - The island is home to a Gorgeous wee 9-hole course maintained by the locals,
  • Gigha is home to some of the best quality dark skies in Britain. Keep an eye out for any astrophysical events going on when you are visiting, it's not uncommon to see the Aurora Borealis from the Dark Sky Theatre which is a simple setup at the north tip of the island.
  • Gardens - Arguably the biggest attraction is the Achamore Gardens with a renowned Rhododendron and Camellia collection. There is also a viewpoint well worth a visit.
  • Kayaks, paddle boards, wetsuits, and snorkels are available for hire on the island. Visit Gigha Boats and Activity Centre on Facebook for more details.
  • Gigha also has its own whisky and Gin, although not distilled on the Island it is definitely worth a taste. Explore the island shops for other local goods such as a local skincare range or orchid essence grown on the island.

As always, we at Summits Outdoors are here to help you with all your adventure equipment needs. Just get in touch if you think we can help!

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