We thought we would write a review on this great little, good old fashioned campsite since we spent the weekend camping there and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, this campsite may not be for everyone, but if you are looking to go somewhere where you can disconnect from daily life, relax and enjoy yourself this is a great little site to do it on and what is better is that there are even some non-camping accommodations available for cosy winter getaways.
Now, this is not the first time we have camped here as we spent a weekend there about 2 years ago. The trouble was I was in the tent, in bed ill for most of that weekend and never really got a chance to explore the site properly or see any of the surrounding areas.
About the Site
Balloch O’Dee is a very relaxing, family orientated and run campsite near Newton Stewart in Dumfries, Scotland. The site is owned by the lovely James and Hazel and their family who make you feel most welcome.
In fact, when we arrived on our recent visit James and his son came to offer us a hand with pitching our tent as the winds were blowing and we had left our mallet behind, (was quite ashamed at this rookie mistake when he learned who we were!) making securing the tent difficult while half pitched. They happily went about offering a hand to anyone who needed it.
The family also includes dogs, ponies, chickens and ducks which are free-roaming (the chickens and ducks anyway) and will sometimes pay you a little visit in the cam
p field which the kids seem to love. The pony stables are accessible to campers and the girls who work with the horses are very good at answering your questions and introducing the horses to the children if it is something that interests them. They can help muck out or groom the ponies too, just let someone know that it would be of interest and they can arrange it.
This is a dog-friendly site, but you should talk to the owners if you wish to take your pooch to ensure the safety of all the animals on the site.
There are very few rules at this campsite but the most obvious is to respect the area and your fellow campers. Now there is no quiet time set here but a gentle reminder to respect others around you. We have heard the odd singsong around a fire later in the evening which, to us, was comforting as this is one thing, we love about camping is getting around a fire with family and friends and spending quality times both having fun and relaxing and sharing in these memory-making times together. However, having music blasting and partying into the small hours would be a no go.
The campsite is not situated near any public transport routes so your own transport would be essential for visiting. For us, this just makes it all the more special as mostly, the only other sounds you hear are other campers and nature and you are surrounded by some stunning views across the fields and hills.
If you like to chill in the evening on a beautiful site but want something more adventurous for during the day, there is no need to worry. There are many attractions nearby also. Whether it be books that take your interest, hillwalking or mountain biking there is something that will suit almost everyone just a short drive from the site.
As I mentioned earlier, we were camping at the lovely Balloch O’Dee site during their Country weekend which made this an added bonus to camping. This was a great family get together weekend with live music and dancing for everyone to enjoy.
This was their first country weekend and hopefully, it won’t be the last. This site does run some fun-packed weekends with the likes of V in the Park, the only Scottish Vegan festival. An annual music weekend in September and they are also looking to have some single nights stage performances throughout the year.
As with the ethos of this site, it is all family-friendly and the children really seem to love joining in with the music and dancing. Believe me, I watched a teenager doing a Fortnight celebration dance (Fortnight is a computer game) to a bit of country music and it just made a few of us smile. Everyone is included and encouraged to join in.
There are both EHU camping and non-EHU camping fields. The field with electric was mainly being used by campervans and caravans when we there but as this was a mini Country Music Festival weekend some of the performers had chosen to stay onsite.
The camping areas are large, and you have the freedom to choose where you would like to pitch and are certainly not packed in like sardines like some site which we have visited. The non-electric field is fairly vast and tent size does not seem to be a problem.
There are many fire pits dotted about if this is something you would like while camping and most have the cutest little homemade pot stands for you to use during your stay. You are free to take your own firewood, or the site sells bags for a few quid.
There are also some picnic tables for campers to use too and there doesn’t seem to be a problem for you to move it a little closer to your tent. These are ideal on a nice weekend if you are only taking a small tent or don’t wish to trail a full kit with you. For those seeking some other shelter to maybe cook or eat while away there is a very nice and well thought out cookhouse in the EHU camp field with a larger one currently being built in the non-EHU field too. See below for more info on these.
As it is a family-friendly site both the toilets and showers are communal. There are 2 showers and 5 toilets all very eclectically decorated.
There is a block of three toilets, these are very large toilets with sinks and can easily be used for changing or having a quick wash if you do not wish to shower. When I say big, I mean you could easily get a family of 5 in them if you are getting the kiddies ready for bad or dressed for the day.
In the other block, there are 2 toilets and 2 showers as well as to bathroom sinks and 2 washing up sinks. This area also has books you can borrow, and local information should you wish to peruse it. There is also a visitor’s book and recommendations for places to eat if you want to venture out or into town one day.
As I said earlier there is a cookhouse in the EHU field with another larger one being built in the non-EHU camping field. Here there are tables and benches, a log burning stove and BBQ for you to cook on, range of pots, kettles and some utensils. There was also a little box of condiments too which we felt was a nice touch and an honesty box for donations should you use anything. There is no washing area here and you would still need to take your dishes up to the other communal building but it is only a short walk away.
There are other accommodation types available apart from camping and I am choosing to mention this as a large family get together or group of friends may wish to use a mix of camping and accommodation for their time away together.
Having seen other accommodation this is what we would look to do as a big family weekend away as it would mean my mum, who is getting on and has limited movement could also enjoy time away with us in suitable accommodation and get to see how we camp, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and spend more time with the grandkids, which she loves.
Other accommodation available:
• The Ranch House which sleeps 6.
• The Bothy that sleeps 5.
• The Roundhouse which sleeps 4.
• Bluebell the caravan which sleeps 4
• Rose Hippie a unique caravan that sleeps 2
You can visit their site for a full description and prices for all accommodation including camping at http://www.ballochodee.com/
As I have already said this is an ideal site for a family get together where not all of the party are able to camp in a tent but will allow that uninterrupted time together.
A great family run site for everyone to enjoy. If you are looking to totally relax and unwind here is a great place to do it.
I would totally recommend it to those with young children, especially if they have a love of nature and animals.
We will certainly be back, the next time it will hopefully be with the whole family so we can all enjoy it together.
Again if you would like to visit their site and have a nosey for yourself you can by clicking on the following link – http://www.ballochodee.com/