My first wild camping experience was at Firkin Point, a popular area to visit in Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park.
Having visited before many times, I’d never camped there and to be honest, wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I hope that if you’ve never camped here, I will help answer some of your questions in this post!
Where is Firkin Point?
Firkin Point is nestled just off the A82. It sits in between Inverbeg and Tarbert – it’s also about a ten-minute drive away from Luss. From Glasgow city centre, you could reach it in under an hour.
It’s a scenic area that’s got picnic benches, toilets and a car park. You can see and be in Loch Lomond at Firkin Point, it’s a popular place for wild swimmers, dippers, and paddleboarders.
Do you need a permit to camp at Firkin Point?
Yes! Between March and September, there are camping management byelaws that mean you can’t camp without a permit in specific parts of the park. Across the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park, you may see permit area signs – this is where people who have a permit can camp. Within these permit areas, campers can pitch up anywhere. You can’t camp in one area for longer than three nights.
How much does the permit cost?
At Firkin Point, the permit cost £4 for one night. I had booked Firkin Point B which is just along from the picnic benches and overlooks Loch Lomond. With this area, there are two spaces available so my friend had booked the other space meaning we had the area to ourselves. The whole area to book was £8 per night.
What facilities does Firkin Point have?
There are male and female toilets and an accessible toilet. The male and female toilets are open from 9am to 9pm and the accessible toilet is open 24 hours during the peak seasons.
There’s a medium-sized car park and an area that says ‘no parking’ which is reserved for those who are staying over in a motorhome. Picnic benches are dotted around the area. There isn’t a huge amount of facilities at Firkin Point but to me, that’s the appeal of it and why it’s a good wild camping experience – I thought it was great that there was a toilet that was open!
What is it like to wild camp at Firkin Point?
As a total wild camping newbie, I thought I’d be worried about the lack of facilities however I really enjoyed my experience.
After booking, you get an email with a description of the area you have booked and images which were helpful, when I arrived I knew exactly where I was going.
I camped on a Thursday night in June and it had been a lovely sunny day so people had been coming for a splash in the loch and having dinner with a view. I thought maybe these people were also camping but the majority of them had left by 8pm and then it was quiet with a handful of campers scattered across the permit areas. Camping here may be different when it’s at the weekend or during summer holidays but midweek it was nice and peaceful.
Our camping pitch was surrounded by trees on three sides so even though there were people in the next pitch along, they were a good distance away and we couldn’t hear them.
In our permit area, we had two picnic benches which were great for cooking, chatting and hanging out, outside of our tents.
The view was amazing! Waking up in the morning, unzipping the tent door and being met with Loch Lomond and the silhouette of the mountains. Absolutely beautiful! For £4 a night, I was absolutely chuffed with the whole experience.
Having only ever camped at a pitch with electricity, I was surprised to find that I didn’t really feel the need to have electricity for a night. I had brought a couple of portable chargers to charge up my phone and I had solar lights and a light that can be charged up by USB (I’d charged it up at home before I left) and can also be wound up to power it. I brought a small portable gas cooker so I could have cups of tea and make breakfast.
What time can you arrive and when do you have to leave when camping?
You can start setting up camp from 1pm and on your last day, you need to have packed everything up and away by 11am.
Do you have to check in with anyone?
Nope, you just need to make sure you have a permit so if anyone does ask to see it, you can show them. I quite liked that there was no official check-in as it meant you could arrive a bit later and set up rather than having to arrive by the time a campsite office closes.
My tips for wild camping at Firkin Point
- Screenshot or print out your permit in case you lose signal or your phone runs out of battery. If a park ranger asks to see your permit, you’ll need to actually have it to show you’re allowed to camp there.
- Take smidge spray or Avon skin so soft to battle the midges!
- The car park isn’t right next to the permit areas so it can mean a few trips to and from the car. If this might be an issue, I’d recommend buying a camping trolley or luggage cart.
- If you haven’t been wild camping before, bring along some little things to make your night of camping feel more homely if you’re not sure you’ll like it. This could be soft blankets, cosy socks, or stringed solar lights to decorate your pitch.
- You can hear some slight traffic noise from Permit Area B, if you’re a light sleeper bring along some earplugs.
For more general camping tips, read my Beginner’s Guide to Camping.
Get to the Firkin Point
Where: A82, Arrochar G83 7DL
Facilities: toilets, including an accessible toilet and free car park