Tom an Fhuadain croft camping, Gravir

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Discover wild and ancient Pairc, almost an island in itself. Reach us by bus from Stornoway (W9/W10) and Tarbert (W10 then W9) via Balallan or by foot, cycle or kayak. This special ‘semi-wild camping’ (all the benefits of natural solitude but with low-impact hygiene facilities, a water supply and wind-reducing walls) experience is unique, placing you in the heart of a crofting township. Allow us to welcome you into the community. Join us for meals, a brew and/or a beer or two, or make your own arrangements and enjoy the solitude if you’d prefer.

This exclusive, remote site is only accessible to non-motorised visitors. The W9 service will drop you and your kit at the croft gate, or come under your own power on an easy scenic walk or ride from the Hebridean Way route. See ‘Getting Here’ below for fuller transport information.

Croft 37

Our croft, ‘lotted’ (established) in 1852, has a rich agricultural and maritime history. Previous occupants were fishers and merchant sailors. The small shed by the burn at the foot of the croft next to the loch was used to store provisions for servicing the Gob na Miolaid lighthouse (now replaced with an automated structure) by boat. The Tom ruins that host the campsite were the first of three dwellings visible on the current croft, with the low blackhouse across the road from the present accommodation, which is in the familiar more modern Highland and Island style. They’re self-contained and invisible from the croft house (and vice versa).

Slipway on Loch Odhairn

The site and its facilities

Follow the path across the croft marked with blue-tipped posts from the croft garden inner gate to the ruins.

We’ve designed the facilities to give a wild camping feel while minimising any negative impacts to practically zero. Indeed, by staying with us you’ll be contributing to our biodiversity improvement efforts and to the wider community economy. We’ve provided a composting toilet whose contents will ultimately help to fertilise the trees in our croft woodland. The toilet roof collects rainwater for washing use and we’ve supplied Dr. Bronner’s biodegradable detergent for cleaning your pots, body, hair, teeth and more. We use it around the house. It’s super concentrated and you won’t need much. We also supply drinking water from the mains supply in a food grade container.

Under the sink, you’ll find an organic waste container and the bathroom area also has separate bins for mixed recyclables (green) and non-recyclables (red; please try to minimise this waste stream). We’ve fitted chains to the bathroom door openings as “occupied” indicators for those visiting in small groups. Recycled paper and wood shavings are provided next to the toilet. Throw a handful of the latter in with solids. Please note that in order for the composting process to work and for the toilet to remain odourless, we need to keep solid and liquid waste separate — everyone sits down for every purpose please.

To the north of the site is an amazing loch viewpoint, great for a morning coffee or an evening beer. Bring your binoculars and look out for golden and white-tailed eagles, otters, seals, divers, ravens, buzzards, hen harriers and many other bird and insect species. We’ve even seen a pod of common dolphins below the croft.

Loch viewpoint

Rate and opening times

The rate is £40 per night for exclusive use for the whole site. We reckon that up to six people can enjoy it comfortably. If there are more in your prospective party, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do. If you’re an individual and would find the cost prohibitive, we can come to an arrangement — we want this experience to be accessible to all.

We’re open 24-7, 365 days per year (it’s rather nice in winter too) for bookings up to our Scottish pop-up allocation of 28 nights. Do get in touch, however, prior to arrival so that we can arrange to greet you as far as possible. You can use the contact form through this blog or message us via our Facebook page. We’ll give you our number for WhatsApp but don’t want to post it here for obvious reasons.

As much of the income as possible will be reinvested in our rewilding, community and local food production activities. We lead a fairly modest life! We hope that our guests will develop an ongoing relationship with the croft and follow our journey.

Adventure hub

I’m a Level 2 professionally qualified cycle mechanic and we have a fully equipped workshop — if your bike needs some work we’re here to help. We can also offer a mobile breakdown and transport service for cyclists — contact via WhatsApp. We can charge your electricals and store your valuables in the croft house, where there’s also Wi-Fi, although the camping area gets decent mobile internet reception.

We’ll give you all the information you need to enjoy the wild and historical wonders of Pairc — walks, rides, paddles, local history, wildlife etc. — and can offer day or half-day guided hiking and cycling outings for a ‘pay what you feel’ donation.

Part of the local economy

We stock basic groceries, cakes and sourdough bread and, as our production increases and diversifies over time, we plan to offer an ever expanding range of croft produce. We can link you with local tour guides for visits further afield.

For coffee and cake, visit Ravenspoint café. It’s around 6.5 miles from the croft, or 11.5 miles if you do the stunning longer scenic loop through Calbost and Marvig. If your visit includes a Wednesday, we’d be delighted to welcome you to the community lunch there (13:00), where you can meet our friends and neighbours and learn more about Pairc and its inhabitants.

Getting here

The W9 bus timetable can be found at this link. Ask to be dropped at Tom (pronounced “towm”), or walk up from the church if you prefer. You’ll find the croft on foot or by bike by following the rising single track road from the bridge at the head of Loch Odhairn along the south side of the loch. It’s the white house on the left-hand side around a mile from the junction. If you reach the dead end at Tom an Fhuadain you’ve gone too far. Enjoy the view toward Kebock Head then turn around and backtrack past the caravan to find the house on your right.

As experienced wild campers ourselves we understand that arrival and departure times are fluid and unpredictable — we’re chilled about these things and don’t operate a reception. If you let us know roughly when you plan to show up we’ll try to be around to welcome you and help shift your gear to the site, but otherwise feel free to come and go as you please.

You’re very welcome to join us in crofting activities and have as much, or as little, contact with us as you’d like. We love meeting visitors and learning about them, but equally respect your privacy.

House rules

We suspect that as adults interested in staying in a beautiful, remote, peaceful community, you’re not planning to disturb and trash the place. Therefore, most of the following are probably somewhat redundant. However, we politely request that you follow these guidelines:

  • Observe the leave no trace and Scottish responsible use principles as usual. The site is designed to enable this
  • The normal motorist-cyclist interaction in Pairc is characterised by mutual courtesy and friendly waves. Please exercise common sense in using the passing places to give way when appropriate
  • Please respect our neighbours and wildlife and keep noise and disturbance to a minimum. No radios, speakers etc.
  • Everybody sits down for everything on the toilet in order to maintain waste separation, please
  • Please use the super-concentrated biodegradable detergent provided for all your washing and cleaning needs. We can provide you with appropriate bike and kit cleaning materials on request
  • No open fires please. They damage the ground and constitute a wildfire risk. Wood is also in short supply here. Please use stoves on the cooking platform provided
  • Please don’t climb on the walls. The best view is from the viewpoint; it’s a stunner
  • Please ask if you’d like to welcome visitors during your stay
  • No private motor vehicles are permitted. The only parking facility we have is the one occupied by our own vehicle
  • No pets permitted. The croft has visiting livestock (albeit not ours) and wildlife

Many thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

360 degree aerial image of campsite

360 degree panorama from campsite viewpoint

Two-minute video flyaround

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