We were keen to try out our tent at a music festival but didn’t fancy a large festival with tents crammed together and every human smell imaginable wafting through the air. Then someone from my work suggested Mhor Fest, which takes place every year at the end of May.
Described as Scotland’s most loved wee festival with artisan food and drink producers, sell-out recording artists, theatre and entertainment. Located at Monachyle Mhor Farm, Balquhidder, Perthshire. Surrounded by stunning hills in Balquhidder Glen, the campsite was perfectly situated on a section of land that separates Loch Doine and Loch Voil.
We had to go!
It was forecast to be a sunny weekend, which makes a big difference when you’re thinking about what to wear. So, shorts and T-Shirts it was.
We headed up along the A84 and at Mhor 84, a popular motel, restaurant, bar and café which is owned by the organisers of Mhor Fest, we turned off onto a single-track road. The road is reasonably well maintained but the 6-mile drive along it was slightly nerve-racking as I was aware that if I met a vehicle heading the opposite way with my trailer in tow, it might have been difficult to reverse or move into the side but luck was on my side and it went smoothly. The lochside drive to the festival is a great way of getting you in the mood for a camping festival, in a stunning part of Scotland. There’s even a bit of history along the way if you want to stop and pay a visit to the village of Balquhidder’s Parish Church, you’ll find the grave of Rob Roy MacGregor, along with his wife and two of their sons.
We arrived at the campsite about an hour earlier than its official opening time. We were staying from Friday to Monday and were keen to get set up. Thankfully the venue staff were friendly and didn’t mind us arriving early, in fact, they helped find a spot for our car, hitched up our trailer to one of their vehicles and towed it to a perfect spot for us to pitch up our tent.
We quickly got to work, aided by a good few years of camping experience under our belts by now. Finally, we felt like seasoned campers! It wasn’t long before we were sitting, chilling and drinking our wine. Just in time to see the campsite starting to fill up with various styles of tents and various tent pitching styles. Ranging from the experienced campers with tried and tested techniques for pitching a tent, to tent virgins.
As it turned out, we had tent virgins next to us. It wasn’t obvious at first as the tent they had brought was a complex and well-used structure, with its separate sleeping pods and central living area. Thus, requiring some knowledge of pole colour coding and placement of the groundsheets. We didn’t want to stare but the chat between then suggested that they didn’t have a clue. Added to the dynamics was the fact that the husband hated camping. We had to help but at the same time we didn’t want to intrude but as soon as they got wind of the fact that we were willing to help, they were more than happy to let us take the lead and before long the slightly awkward tent was up and we had some happy campers as neighbours. Then they basically ignored us for the rest of the weekend! Hey Ho.
The campsite’s facilities were bearable but basic. There were two large toilet/shower portable cabins but for some reason, there was only one dishwashing sink, with no plumbing resulting in the water pouring out of the plug hole and onto the ground. To be honest, I’m nitpicking as the campsite didn’t have any idiots, everyone was courteous and friendly and no dodgy smells were wafting through the air.
Mhor Fest turned out to be a great wee festival and we would definitely recommend it. There is a lot to keep all the family occupied and perfect for couples. It is also popular with the locals, as many of the festival-goers were not campers but day visitors.
Here are some of our memories –
The build your own Raft race on Loch Doine. We stood on a grassy bank, nice and dry with a beer in our hands and watched as all sorts of homemade rafts and inflatables attempted to navigate around a set course. Great entertainment.
A walk along the shore of Loch Doine from the campsite. There is a lochside path, starting at the back of the campsite and next to the loch, which is well worth exploring. It can be a bit tricky and soggy in spots but the views and tranquillity are worth risking wet feet.
A short walk from the Monachyle Mhor hotel, along the road towards Inverlochlarig. As you leave the campsite, you cross the single track road into the festival but if you are looking to stretch your legs or take your dog for a walk, then turn left out of the campsite and you’ll discover a quiet road with great views and opportunities for some quirky photos.
Entering our dog Sam into the dog show, a tongue in cheek version of Crufts. Thankfuly, Sam behaved himself but he didn’t win. Never mind, he’s perfect to us!
The disco yoga class. An upbeat fitness class with a funky track list. Aileen participated whilst Sam and me sat with a cold beer (me not Sam) and enjoyed the atmosphere this activity was creating.
The band Dirty Harry taking forever to set up but nailed it with Blondie songs.
The highlight for us was the DJ Jon Sa Trinxa. A talented and experienced Ibiza DJ, who’s set was on far too early in the evening. A DJ who knows how to mix his music and tune into those on the dance floor.