Tel: 01671 830708
Balloch O Dee has a traditional camping feel. It doesn’t have many rules, all they ask is that you respect your fellow campers, the environment and our Camp Ethos.
There are no set pitches for tents so you can pitch up wherever you like. Numbers are kept to a sensible level so you don’t feel crammed in.
It is a family-oriented site that encourages sitting round a camp fire with a guitar and good friends and family into the wee small hours putting the world to rights but doesn’t expect stereos blasting out all night.
All their animals are free range so don’t be surprised to be sharing your shower with a chicken or your tent with a Shetland on occasion.
Friendly dogs are welcome and owners are asked to respect the campsite, clearing up any mess.
The campsite believes in the philosophy that wherever we are we should leave that place in a little better shape than how we found it and hope you share that view.
The A75 is the nearest main road and the campsite is about 2.5 miles away.
From Newton Stewart, the junction to the campsite is about 9.5 miles. Look out for the brown Tourist sign for the Three Lochs Caravan Park – take this right turn (Durnow Rd) – go over two cattle grids and about 0.25 of a mile past the second cattle grid you will see our sign on the right for Balloch O’ Dee – go down the drive.
From the Stranraer direction, the junction to the campsite is about 17.5 miles. Look out for the brown Tourist sign for the Three Lochs Caravan Park – take this left turn (Durnow Rd) – go over two cattle grids and about 0.25 of a mile past the second cattle grid you will see our sign on the right for Balloch O’ Dee – go down the drive.
Three Lochs. If you enjoy a walk, then we would recommend a walk to the Three Lochs. There is a caravan park by the same name located here but there is indeed Three Lochs. The entrance to the caravan park is about 2.3 miles from the campsite. Once you reach the caravan park entrance, at a cross road, turn left and about 0.5 mile along this road, with a loch to your left, you will come to a junction between the loch on you left and another loch on your right. At this point, we went though a gate on our left and looped back around the first loch as there was no obvious path around the second loch. As it turned out, the loop we took was well established and eventually took us back onto the road we had walked from the campsite. The walk from the campsite and back is about 5.5 miles
Another local walk will take you to the top of a nearby hill, which gives you great views of the surrounding area. It can be a bit boggy in parts but is relatively straight forward. As you leave the campsite, turn left and walk along the single-track road that takes you to the A75. About 1 mile along this road, look out for a path that leads to the top of the hill. Apologies for not being more specific but James, the campsite owner, can explain it better.
Galloway hills has 183 mountains listed. Each with its own unique challenges and views. All within a few miles of the campsite.
7Stanes: Glentrool Mountain Bike Trails is 14 miles from the campsite and is described as world class.
Newton Stewart is the nearest large town for restocking provisions. The town is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to the Galloway Hills”. Here are some visitor highlights: –
- Crafty Distillery. Why not visit the home of award-winning gin?
- Kirroughtree – 7stanes. Another excellent mountain bike centre. Is about 3 miles outside the town.
- The Museum Newton Stewart. The exhibits in the Museum have been gifted or lent by local people and each year sees many additions to the collections and displays.
Glenluce Abbey. 12 miles from the campsite and dating back to 1192, there is still much to see. Some parts are in ruins but the overall grandeur is still striking after all this time.
A further 4 miles along the A75 is Luce bay, a large bay in Wigtownshire in southern Scotland. The bay is 20 miles wide at its mouth and is bounded by the Rhins of Galloway to the west and the Machars to the east. From the 1930s to the 1990s it was a bombing range used for training purposes by RAF aircraft based at West Freugh.
Castle Kennedy is about 4 miles passed Luce Bay. The Tower House can be viewed as part of Castle Kennedy Gardens although the ruinous structure itself cannot be entered. The ruins are set within beautiful and well-maintained grounds. Visitors can take a short walk to view Lochinch Castle although there is no internal access as it remains a private residence.
Wigtown is a gem of a town that punches above its weight with what it has to offer. There are 2 routes from the campsite one is 13 miles and is any easy paced journey via B733. The other is 15 miles along the A75 then A714. Here are some of the highlights that Wigtown has to offer: –
- The Book Shop. Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop.
- The Wigtown book festival. Help at the end of September and the beginning of October, for ten days the town buzzes with book events as well as theatre, music and site-specific events in quirky venues. A dedicated Children’s Garden hosts events for younger readers.
- Torhouse Stone Circle are a stone circle of nineteen granite boulders on the land of Torhouse.
- Wigtown Martyers’s Monument. Dedicated to Margaret Wilson and Margaret McLachlan, who died in 1685. Their faith was unbreakable as they didn’t relinquish their beliefs, even as the tide moved in.
- Crook of Baldoon. A natural place, with superb view across the Cree Estuary to the Galloway Hills. The return of geese and waders in winter really brings the coast to life. Breeding skylark and lapwing are common in summer.
If you are able to and in a driving mood, there are a few more places that we would like to recommend: –
The village of Whithorn is worth a visit. Check out the Whithorn Priory and Crypt. The site of an important monastery, and the seat of the bishops of Whithorn, during the first 1000 years of Christianity and beyond. Another building of interest is the Iron Age Roundhouse, which is just a short walk from the priory. built in 2016, for opening to the public in Spring 2017. It was built on precise details derived from excavations at Black Loch of Myrton.
3 miles further on from the village of Whithorn is St Ninian’s Cave. You reach the cave from a well signposted car park near Physgill House. St Ninian’s Cave is traditionally believed to have been used as a place of personal retreat and prayer by St Ninian, who founded the first church at Whithorn sometime in the 390s
So, a great range of places to visit whilst camping at Balloch O’ Dee. Some near some further away but all are worth a visit – Enjoy.
We spent a lovely weekend at Balloch O’ Dee, during their music weekend – 20th – 23rd September 2018 and here is our story.
Aileen and I don’t watch the TV much and if we do it tends to be on catch up. Autumn and winter, snuggled up on our very uncomfortable couch – that’s another story – are the two seasons that we are more likely to watch the gogglebox and during this period we stumbled across a TV show called The Forest. It follows the lives of people working in the Galloway Forest. One of these people was James, the owner of Balloch O’ Dee campsite. The campsite is a quirky and eccentric work in progress that caught our eye immediately. So we added it to our ever-increasing list of places we want to visit and we couldn’t resist heading there at the end of September this year. As an added incentive it was hosting a music weekend.
Thursday 20th September.
We set off for Balloch O’ Dee. Our trusty trailer, containing all our camping needs, hooked up to our car. The weather forecast, post-storm Ali, wasn’t great and it was a bit of a gamble. We’re fair-weather campers.
We finally arrived around 1 pm after relying on Google maps, which for some reason wants to take you on a grand tour of every single-track road known to man. On arrival, we were met by James’ wife who told us all we needed to know and left us to choose a pitch near the duck pond.
Shortly afterward a motorhome parked close by. The driver and his wife were from Lancashire and were friendly. The husband sat down with a guitar and began to play it and sing. Inviting us to a sing-along by the fire pit later that night. Unfortunately, the weather got worse and it began to pour done so that put an end to that potential good wee night.
Instead, it got wetter and wetter. Aileen and I headed to the shower block, lantern in hand. This was an interesting experience. The block, which was art deco shabby chic in appearance, was dimly light by small solar fairy lights. All adding to the experience but did nothing to help you see. Luckily, we had our trusty lantern and the water was piping hot.
Back to the tent by 9 pm. Into our ‘special’ bed and snuggled under our duvet with Sam our dog at our feet. When I say ‘special’ bed, let’s just say we have been around the block a few times when it comes to finding that comfortable camping bed! Finally, we have it perfect and comprises of a simple combination of – 4 large self-inflating mattresses (2 side by side with another 2 on top) all wrapped in a fleece sheet to stop the movement. Then topped by a duvet which is then covered by a mattress topper. We then sleep under a king-size duvet with two comfy pillows each! Like I said – ‘special’!
Omg! What a night. Never slept a wink. The rain never let up. The battering of the roof of the tent and gusts of wind made us think the tent was going to take off.
Anyway, we survived and decided to go on a road trip as it was forecast to rain until late afternoon and hopefully by the time, we returned the campsite would be busy with preparation for the music weekend.
So, first stop was Whithorn which turned out to be an interesting coffee stop as it has a lot of history and photo opportunities.
Then onto Luce bay, a large bay in Wigtownshire in southern Scotland. The bay is 20 miles wide at its mouth and is bounded by the Rhins of Galloway to the west and the Machars to the east. From the 1930s to the 1990s it was a bombing range used for training purposes by RAF aircraft based at West Freugh
Finally, we restocked with wine and headed back for lunch.
Back at the campsite, it was still wet and windy though the owner was noted to be heroically putting up bunting and preparing the ‘stage’. He was being confidently supported by an older gentleman sporting a blue boiler suit, swagger and an air of authority, as befits this look in these situations.
Our friends in the motorhome have been joined by a friend who is excitedly playing her drum – boombox.
It finally stopped raining but still very windy.
Soooo needless to say that due to barking dogs, DIY, boombox, high winds and excitable children, there was no way we were getting an afternoon nap to catch up on our sleep before the night kicked off.
Friday night and we headed over to the stage, which I think had something to do with the horses he kept as we were standing in a paddock. We got talking to the owner, James, who informed us that we should have been standing in a marquee but it blew away the week before during storm Ali. James talked about how this weekend has evolved over the years with casual invitations to play music and the word spread. And the rain came down again.
We go for a 7-mile walk to the Three Lochs Holiday Park and back. This passed away the morning and by the time we got back to the campsite, the sun came out. People starting to sit outside in time to watch the owner continue to build his empire. This time it was an outdoor cooking area but he ran out of wood and was stopped by the returning rain.
Finally, the sun came out and stayed out and like all true Scots, we took full advantage of it! Out came the BBQ, beer and the campsite started to come to life.
The stage was prepared and the first band was on – an amalgamation of various local bands doing some improvisation.
By the time The Barr Stools came on, the moon was sitting behind the stage and 3 pit fires were helping to keep the chill away. By now it was close to freezing so everyone was wrapped up apart from one nutter still only wearing a t-shirt. It wasn’t a large crowd but we were all getting into the music – A six-piece band from South Ayrshire playing a unique blend of Celtic and American folk music with an eclectic mix of the accordion, guitar, banjo, double bass, pipes, whistle and vocals.
With James bouncing about, the band played till 1 am.
It was an absolutely freezing night in our tent
– Think it’s time for a campervan!
The campsite was very quiet in the morning but we were woken up by the rain crashing down on the tent.
Sam, our dog was struggling to keep in last night’s BBQ.
TIME TO GO HOME! BUT WE’RE COMING BACK IN A CAMPERVAN.