We'd read rave reviews about this site, so felt confident booking one of their Super Tents for the bank holiday weekend.
There's no denying that the location on the shores of Loch Lomond is beautiful. But unfortunately the camp site looked neglected. In some places the grass was 8-10 inches long, and the various pathways and tracks were deeply pot-holed, and were very much in need of repair.
The showers and toilets weren't especially clean. This situation was made worse by the consistent rain over the weekend, meaning that a lot of mud was being walked into the toilets. As far as I could make out the showers/toilets were only being cleaned once a day, not nearly regularly enough, especially in wet weather. The staff had left a mop and bucket in the toilets and left a notice asking people to clean up after themselves.
Our tent was roomy, with all the necessary basics. But it clearly had only been given a cursory clean before we arrived. The mattresses on the camp beds were covered in a fine layer of grit/sand and underneath the beds, and in the corners of the bedrooms, obviously hadn't been swept for some time.
The staff were friendly, but we arrived at 7.50pm to find Reception closed, despite it being advertised as being open until 8.00pm. But, they let us in with a smile, although they didn't seem to realise that we were arriving. We had booked only 5 days before, but in this instant techno-age I wouldn't have thought this a problem?
The camp site was busy, but I got chatting with several regulars who all expressed disappointment at how standards had slipped since the new owners took over. They said that although the new owners were friendly enough, their standards weren't nearly high enough for what had been a first class camp site. I had to agree - the whole camp site just didn't appear well looked after, it looked shabby and run down. It had all the facilities you needed, but everything just desperately needed smartening up. Cashel looked very much the poor relation compared to the immaculate looking Caravan & Camping Club site just down the road.
Locally, I can highly recommend The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha. Excellent food and a good lively atmopshere. But don't bother with The Inn at Inversbeg. They have just had a multi million pound re-fit, and it looks very smart - but the staff are hopelessly inexperienced. Our meal took over two and half hours to complete, and whilst we were dining several other customers complained about their meals taking too long. One poor bloke asked a waitress for another drink, and she told him to go and get his own from the bar because she was too busy!
Just come back from this site, and whilst okay,there were a few small problems. The sani bins in the smaller toilets were overflowing. Not very pleasant!Also the hand dryer stopped working and had still not been fixed almost a week later. The shop is very overpriced, so take supplies with you. Another thing was that we had booked an electric tent pitch, and when we got there were told it was hard standing, when we had specifically told them it was for a tent. After our initial dismay, the manageress stepped in and said that we could pitch next to the hardstanding and use the hook up. Okay, but could be better!
Like other campers we booked this site after reading previous reviews and I am afraid I have to agree with the more recent reviews. I have used other Forest sites on quite a few occasions and this one just does not come up to the standards of the others. There was some confusion over our booking which had been booked well in advance, we had requested ehu and we were told we had to pitch on hard standing which of course we would not want to do in a tent and we eventually had to pitch at the side of the hard standing.
The weather was awful whilst we were there and whilst we appreciate that nothing can be done about this it did however highlight that the site is poorly drained, huge areas were wet and muddy our entire stay this in turn made the facilities very muddy. I feel more attention is required to keep these areas clean.
My biggest disappointment was the 'no noise rule' after 23.00 was neither observed or enforced.
On the plus side there is no escaping the fact that the site is in a breathtakingly beautiful setting and if you were there just for the water sports then you probably could not find better facilities. There is a nice playground for the kids and whilst the shop is not the best I have seen, it does have the essentials. The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha was warm friendly and had great food.
The campsite is ideally located if you want to do the walks to Ben Lomond. However, the drive to the campsite is via narrow, winding roads. You need a keycard to raise the barrier on the site (£10 deposit required) or you can park in the spaces just outside the campsite.
We arrived just after 1pm on a Thursday but had to wait till 2pm as Reception was shut - there had not been any warning of this - which it turns out was due to being short staffed.
We booked a select pitch with electric hookup and were told that that type of pitch was not really for tents as the ground was hard standing - the issue had something to do with the new website on which we had made our booking (no mention of this was made on the website or in our booking confirmation). From looking around the site, I think tents wanting electric hookup aren't really catered for at this site.
Nevertheless, staff were very helpful and we were shown a bit of area that had enough grass next to the hard standing pitch for us to use. And it was fortunate we had some hard ground pegs otherwise we would have been in trouble with pegging out the tent.
The facilities were clean and as the campsite was busy if you didn't time it right, you faced a little bit of a queue for the showers.
The is a small shop on site or you had a bit of a drive through those narrow roads to get to the nearest village for provisions.
The beach, which is right by the campsite, is pebbled and could be quite busy in good weather. There is also a launch area on the site for people who bring their own boats.
We arrived on site at about 6pm on a Friday night, not too busy, but the midges were out in full force. There are basic pitches, and premium pitches with hook ups and a small premium for a picnic table. Our pitch was under the trees, nice and shady in the sometimes sunny weather! Site is lovely, with fantastic views, and enough to keep kids amused on site. Good for bike riding and a small play park. The gravel beach at the site was great for picnics and freedom from midges. The toilet block was spotless and plenty of showers, washing facilities and laundry room all clean and tidy. Cashel Forest is just across the road, with a choice of 3 scenic walks.The staff on site were friendly and helpful, a well stocked shop on site, but we found some items overpriced. We would definitely go again!
We didn't actually stay because when I phoned to book you had to be in your pitch an hour before dark for Health & Safety reasons, i.E. Children. I thought this seemed a bit extreme as that's why parks have speed restrictions and my old VW does have headlights too.
Anyway I thought I would mention this to save disappointment for someone else.
It does seem like a really good site, ideal if you want to climb Ben Lomond which sits behind the park. Beautiful part of Scotland if I must say so my self.
Submit a review to UKCampsite.co.uk of any caravan park or campsite, for a chance to win a caravan towing course or motorhome manoeuvring course worth up to £145, or £100 of Amazon vouchers, courtesy of The Caravan Club. Join the Club for just £44 per year to enjoy access to a great range of caravan sites, benefits and special offers.
If you've visited this site, then please submit a review for a chance to win.
All reviews and comments are the personal opinion of the review author only , and as such do not represent the view of the UK Camp Site.co.uk.
The facilities shown on this website are a guide only, and you should check with the campsite direct before making any booking. The UKCampsite.co.uk will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions