A tummel valley experience! This was a “spur of the moment” decision to go camping, as I had just got back from work. Our awesome cousin organized us a Volkswagen California Beach camper van to use for the weekend. The kids loved it.
There were two options for the camper van, one with a kitchen and one without. My wife and I decided against the one with the kitchen, as there is a restaurant at the resort. Besides which, you sacrifice space in the camper van if a kitchen is fitted.
The setup of it was simple enough, as we were given a full demonstration of how it works at my cousins showroom. I’d imagine you would get the same demonstration anywhere you hire it from to be honest. But with this demonstration, setting it up was a breeze.
Tummel Valley is located close to Pitlochry in Perthshire along the Tummel River. The drive is very beautiful (clear weather makes it even better) and finding the resort was relatively easy. There is good signage throughout. The road along the river to the resort is very narrow and a lot of blind bends. But stunning nevertheless.
Upon arrival we went to reception to check ourselves in. It was a very straight forward process and we were soon given our welcome brochures and pitch number (along with directions). Finding our pitch was easy and we were soon setup (camper van ready) and ready to go.
We were located opposite a very quiet and peaceful pond. A rather tranquil scene I might admit and the geese that populated the pond were ever so friendly. That was until my 2 year old son discovered them. I must admit they were very tolerant of him, despite him trying to feed them pebbles. “Son, geese don’t eat pebbles. Perhaps you can try give them some bread?” No, he preferred the pebbles!
As our “camper van” was technically just a people carrier with the ability to fold the seats into a bed, there were no toilet facilities. However, a short walk from our pitch brought us to the toilets, wash area and laundry.
While these facilities were clean, one still had to walk to them. Given the Scottish climate (most of the year), one does risk getting wet on their way back to their pitch. This of course, is not necessarily an issue if you are heading down to shower (in which case getting wet before a shower won’t really be a problem).
Draining stations for camper van toilets and rubbish bins were near enough to our pitch. This really wasn’t an issue for us, but we did hear our neighbours (in big camper vans) wheeling their tanks down the road. In this case, it was good that they were located where they were.
Amusements and entertainment
In all fairness the entertainment is more guided at kids (although there was a bingo night). There are 2 characters for the kids to enjoy. They are “Sid The Seagull” and “Lizzie The Lizard”. They were out and about each day and night and hosted shows and activities for the kids. Our kids did enjoy them, although my son preferred they stayed away from him when it came to taking photos.
There is a swimming pool connected to the restaurant, but the times to use them need to be booked the day before. The slots were one hour periods.
Outside of the restaurant is a play area for the kids and lot’s of space to let them run away in. Table and chairs are also available outside, so on a good day, it is definitely the place to be with a nice cold drink. An arcade is also attached to the main building, some games being well priced, well others were just simply over priced.
But the games were good and my son enjoyed them so much, he couldn’t understand why we couldn’t take them home. By the end of the holiday I was more interested in taking the games home and leaving him in their place (but as it turns out there are laws preventing that).
There are some great places to visit surrounding Tummel Valley. Admittedly we didn’t visit any of them, but some of the other holiday makers in our resort did and their feedback was good. Here is a list of places that you can visit:
- Blair Atholl Castle
- Cairngorms National Park
- Deward World Of Whisky
- Queens View
My daughter and I, did enjoy a nice peaceful walk along the Tummel River. The weather turned nice for us in the afternoon and we decided it would be a waste not to go. We were leaving the following day, so one last bit of fun hey?
There is a hydro station on the opposite of the river to our resort and one of the holiday makers told me they used to open the gates. He had apparently been coming to the resort for a while and that they had always opened the gates and let the water out while he was on holiday there. It was quite a sight according to him. I took his word for it and left it at that.
Food And Drink
As it says on the tin, there is a bar and restaurant available, but take plenty of cash with you. As a captive market, be prepared to pay way more for food and drinks than you normally would. The food was good, it must be said, but not worth the price you have to pay.
A couple drinks will easily set you back around £10. There was a decent selection of draught beers, as well as ciders on tap, along with your usual spirits. My wife did enjoy a cocktail, although again it was not worth the price.
For the price we paid for the meals and drinks, a better quality of service would have been expected. But what we saved in our pitch, we certainly paid for during meal times.
There were tables and chairs near the bar itself, but the main seating area was at the bottom. This was also next to the stage, where Sid and Lizzie would perform, along with the entertainment hosts. Most of the times the music and audio was far too loud. Sitting and enjoying a meal or drink was very difficult, as you found yourself shouting. Not to mention the audio settings were not done by a professional.
For larger families, the seating arrangement might be somewhat of a hinderance. Especially if you have buggies. The area in itself it big enough, but not for all the table and chairs. Well for the table and chairs, but if left unoccupied. A lot of bumping and apologizing happens when one moves about in there. Luckily though, everyone is in the same boat so to speak and understands the situation.
The bar staff at Tummel Valley were friendly, but the bar at times was understaffed. Especially on Friday and Saturday nights. You could expect to wait up to 10mins to get served. Staff seemed to be split between serving drinks and taking food orders, so this slowed the process down somewhat.
The Saturday we were there was the busiest. There was a bingo session for the adults and a movie night for the kids. During this time, we found ourselves and other patrons having to clear their own tables of plates and glasses. The staff were not efficient at cleaning tables, nor very friendly. Many of them were young and certainly appeared as if they would rather be somewhere else.
Despite everything, the kids enjoyed it. After all, it was for them and as long as they enjoyed it, we enjoyed it. The setting is peaceful and up until the Saturday night (again the Saturday night), their is no noise at night. This night however, the chalet across the pond were having a party to the early hours of the morning. Luckily my kids sleep like the dead.
Apart from the noise that night, the neighbours are respectful (ours were anyway), the toilets and facilities were clean and their is a variety of things to do. Or you could just relax by your pitch and enjoy the scenery.
Would we go again? Probably not.