Glamping in Scotland looks set to start catching up with the rest of the UK
I was delighted to be asked to run my first glamping business workshops in Scotland, by the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, in early September 2018. Held over two days at Callander and Balloch in the stunning National Park, they were well attended with in-depth questions from interested landowners with a lot of positive feedback. Participants went away feeling better informed and inspired, which always makes me feel I’ve done a good job.
After the Callander workshop, I was taken for a tour around Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine to see a couple of existing glamping places plus some potential glampsite locations. The scenery is nothing short of breathtaking and it’s no surprise to see why the area is a popular movie and TV shoot location. The sheer scale of the landscape is something to behold, let alone the beauty of the expansive lochs themselves. We visited some local tourism businesses en route and glamping sites, where it was interesting to note the healthy occupancy and rental fees being achieved on even mid-level accommodation.
Staying in one of the first glamping developments in Scotland, the Lock Katrine Eco Lodges, was quite an experience – it’s a small glamping development where the cabins are discreetly nestled in among trees and sensitive landscaping. Obtaining planning permission was something of a journey, but the development benefited from local Leader funding and is now achieving remarkable occupancy rates.
My view from the bathroom window was of huge boulders covered in moss, merging into deep woodland, and through the glazed front wall, the loch itself with a steamboat serenely moored on the opposite bank.
Supper in the nearby gastro-pub, the Byre, is recommended, the bar is fabulous if you can if you can handle loud music, but as we needed to talk we tucked ourselves away in the restaurant to the side. Their gin selection is not to go without note (!) so as I sampled a local creation I was given a fabulous run down on local history from James Fraser, I always like to get to know an area because it makes such a difference when I start to work with individual projects. Over the last 100 years, most of the places haven’t changed much at all, meaning there’s a tangible feeling of timelessness here; not to mention that often difficult to describe ‘sense of place’.. the personality of the land and the way that humans have created a sense of heritage within it.
It was a short trip made even shorter by a cancelled flight and I found myself back in Somerset before I knew it, but the minute I put my suitcase down I was missing the place. Those lochs and mountains somehow get into your system, so I’m delighted to be returning to Scotland to visit potential glamping locations and talk to landowners later this year.
For the workshops, I wrote a short introductory Glamping Business Guide in collaboration with the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, which was distributed at the events, you can download a free copy of it from their website here.
I’d like to extend a thank you to James Fraser CEO and Trustee of the Friends for inviting me to run the workshops, to Jared Bowers, Project Manager for the Friends, who arranged the workshops and picking me up at silly o’clock from the airport, and to Manager Gordon Allen and staff of Loch Katrine Eco Lodges for their superb Scottish hospitality.