Linwater Caravan Park, West Lothian, Scotland, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Linwater Caravan Park, West Lothian, Scotland, UK

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Linwater Caravan Park is situated near East Calder in West Lothian, Scotland. It is a family run site for touring caravans, tents and campers (although they seem to be called 'motorhomes' these days), and is on open farmland seven miles west from Edinburgh. Being open it can get very windy, but the site owners will help you out if you need it. There is enough room for 60 pitches, and they are very generous with plenty of room between them - to put out tables and chairs, have room for the kids to spread out, and park the car. The grass pitches are reasonably level, with some hardstandings (solid pitches, not made of grass) that are level, and most have electric hook-ups. The site is close to Edinburgh airport, and planes do fly over the park. However, they do not go over very often, and if you're not paying attention you could miss them.

The family who own and run the site live there, so are usually to be found onsite during the day. They have a small farm, so if the birds have been laying you can buy chicken and duck eggs in reception. They also have their own pigs, which are sent to a local butcher to be cured. If you want bacon with your breakfast, be sure to pick some up in the evening, as the packs are frozen. Watch out for chickens on the road as you arrive and leave the site.

There is no shop onsite, but reception also stocks some essentials, such as chocolate and fizzy drinks. You can also order bread rolls, milk and a morning newspaper if you get your name down by 9pm.

The site has four stars from the Scottish Tourist Board, and three flags from the AA. The site also has a David Bellamy Conservation Award. It is a very nice site, and the helpfulness of Jean, the owner cannot be stressed enough. She's always on site somewhere, and if you can't see her you can either ring a bell at reception, or use the payphone on site and use the 'Warden' button. She carries her phone with her all of the time.

On Arrival

Once you arrive and book in, you will be given details of local1 bus routes, railway lines and woodland walks from the site. You can borrow magazines and books from reception, which also holds leaflets and details of the local tourist attractions.

Dogs are very welcome, there is an area where you can exercise your dog at the back of the site, but they must be kept on a lead in the park itself. A track leads through the bushes, and branches left and right. It isn't paved, but is covered with gravel and stones over mud. All dog mess must be cleared up, as the track also leads onto the woodland walks, which is used by people who don't own dogs, as well as those who do. It's not a doggy toilet, it's a walk.


There is a Scandinavian-style amenity building, with excellent facilities. There are free showers, private washing cubicles and toilets separated into male and female areas. A small laundry, dishwashing area and toilet and shower cater for those with disabilities.

Unfortunately the toilet and shower are in the same room, and can also be used by lone parents with an opposite-gender child who is too big for the 'wrong' sex facilities, but not yet big enough to use the right sex on their own. It also houses the baby-changing facilities. This is a slight design flaw, so anyone who can't manage steps or needs more room than a standard cubicle should make sure that they don't wait until they are desperate for the loo to go. There may be a queue! Another flaw is that the sink is the kind that doesn't take a plug - so it's not possible to just have a face or strip-wash.

The dishwashing area is clean and well-kept, even providing cloths and washing up liquid. The sinks are outside, and although they are covered by the roof of the amenity building, this is not a guarantee that people washing up won't get wet if it's raining. One thing to beware of is that the taps on the two sinks are the opposite way round, so the position of the hot water tap on one sink is taken by that of the cold water tap on the other. This did catch a few people out when this Researcher stayed there, so be careful; the hot water is very hot, and the taps are quite forceful.

The facilities are extremely clean and well-looked after.


Glass bottles and newspapers can be recycled (boxes near the bins), and any unwanted books, magazines or tourist leaflets should be handed in to reception for use by other campers.

Stuff To Do

There is no Stuff To Do on the campsite itself, except for a sandpit with toys for the kids. It's the sort of site you stay at while visiting the local area - so it's a base for the holiday, rather than the holiday itself. The site is quiet2 so if you want to 'stay in' for a day it's a nice place to sit and relax. If you want to be in bed by eight o'clock every night, you won't be disturbed.

Getting About

The train station, Kirknewton Station, is around three miles from the site, the bus stop one mile. You can get into Edinburgh by bus if you don't want to drive, the buses come every half an hour Monday to Saturday, and every hour on Sunday. If you are coming back to the site after dark, you will need a torch as the roads are country roads and are unlit. If you are walking in a group then you should have a white light at the front and a red light at the back so that any motor traffic can see you. East Calder village is two miles away, and Livingston three miles away. There is a larger shopping centre, the Gyle Centre, on the way to Edinburgh.

Woodland Water Walks

The walks are not really suitable for those people on wheels, because the paths are not smooth. They also might be tricky to use if walkers need a stick, or are unsteady on their feet, as the stones do slip, especially when they're walked over downhill. There are some steps on some of the walks, gates, and plenty of stiles to navigate, some in better repair than others. Remember to keep to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when out walking in the countryside in Scotland.

On arrival, campers are given a sheet with four local walks on it. One to the Union Canal and Lin's Mill Aqueduct, one to the adjacent Almondell Country Park3, one a complete circuit through the park, and one to the nearby Adventure Centre or further to a canalside pub, the Bridge Inn at Ratho. They all walk through woodland, and along water, either the feeder stream to the Union Canal, the canal itself, or the River Almond. The walks go through some beautiful countryside, where it is very peaceful. The only sounds are the wind through the trees and bushes, and the sound of the rushing water.

1If you call a mile walk to a bus stop 'local'.2Despite the aeroplanes.3Once in Almondell Park, beware. The first walk takes you to the visitor centre, where you can pick up leaflets with more walking routes on them. Be prepared for a long day if you like walking.

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