Port Bàn Holiday Park Ltd, Kilberry, Near Tarbert, Argyll
Port Ban can be accessed via a 14 mile single track road just off the A83. The drive from Glasgow takes around 3 hours, passing some beautiful scenery. It all adds to the feeling that you are heading somewhere remote and tranquil. This was now our third campsite and we choose it because of its stark contrast to the previous two – Willowmere Camping & Caravan Park and Middlewood Lane. It would also be our first campsite in Scotland which, due to our new found tradition of following the sun, meant we had to take full advantage of the sunshine when it made an appearance in Scotland and as luck would have it, the weather was looking good for this part of our whistle stop tour of campsites,
When we finally arrived, our first concern was the apparent lack of tent pitches as the site appeared to be full of statics. We made our way to reception and was informed that the tent section was an out of the way area right next to the shore and we would be the only tent there so ‘take any pitch you like’.
We made our way excitedly to the tent area. OMG what a spot we had and all to ourselves. The shower block was just newly built with showers that were of hotel standard. We quickly pitched up our tent, sat back and took in the views. The stillness, the sunshine, the facilities and the wine made for an ‘in the moment memory’ that would stay with us for the remainder of our camping years, There would be another memory that would also stay with us but I’ll get to that later.
We quickly pitched our tent and set up our table and chairs. There would be no people watching or a drive to a local town. This was all about the views, the peace and the walks.
We sat and reflected on our first season of camping and both agreed that it was for us. This week, in particular, had highlighted a variety of experiences. We had felt the warmth and the quirkiness of Sudbury. We had experienced the feeling of just being a number at Middlewood Lane but excepted it as a great location to go exploring and the campsite was fine. Then there was the tranquillity of Port Ban. This just motivated us all the more to get out there with our tent and explore.
Port Ban also gave us another experience that would stay with us for a long time and be influential regards future camping decisions in Scotland:-
We woke up early the day after our arrival. The sun was lighting up our tent and, although it wasn’t as warm as Sudbury, we knew that before long we would have to leave our tent due to the build-up of heat from the sun. We lay and thought about breakfast and I was looking forward to getting the gas stove fired up.
I popped my head out of the tent to breath in the fresh morning air and once again take in that amazing view. My relaxed anticipation was immediately cast aside as I had a feeling that was familiar but at the same time magnified a thousand times. I was being swarmed by midges. The intense feeling of them crawling over my face and biting me was unbelievable. I’ve experienced midge bites before but not like this. I immediately recoiled back into the tent shouting ‘FFS I’m being attacked by midges’. Of course, they had followed me and now the inside of the tent was a scene of swiping movements, screams from Aileen and general panic. We had to evacuate but where! Outside the tent, we would be met with midge hell and inside we would be eaten alive. We had no choice, we had to run for it! One, two, three – go. We sprinted for the communal dishwashing room. Don’t ask me why, it must have been the closest. I kid you not, we were chased the whole way by these vicious carnivores and once inside the washing room we had to spend a good bit of time killing the ones that had come in with us as they were as keen as ever to get our blood. Finally, we felt we were getting the upper hand and could relax enough to review our situation. The outside of the washroom window was crawling with midges trying to find a way in so we weren’t going anywhere any time soon. Sam had managed to follow us and he sat looking up at us in a confused manner, no doubt wondering what we were up to and when was he getting his breakfast and going for a walk.
We hatched a plan – let’s leave it a bit longer.
Eventually, the window cleared of midges and our attention turned to breakfast. We dug deep into our limited knowledge of midges. They don’t like the wind or strong sunshine. Ok, the sun is starting to heat up and it’s breezy down by the shore. So we made a decision. Run to the tent. Grab our chairs, cooking equipment, breakfast provisions and whatever you do don’t stand still for too long!
And that’s what we did. Thus creating a special memory of us sitting by the water and having breakfast. Protected by the sea breeze.
After breakfast, Sam got his walk and while we were away our tent continued to heat up and fry every last midge that had decided to chase me back into our tent that morning.
We decided to pack up and head home.