Having lived, worked, sailed and spent many holidays in Scotland on the West Coast, we have only just discovered the jewel in the crown, Ardnamurchan. We are looking forward to spending much time exploring this area, here's why we think it is so special.
Ardnamurchan is a 50 square mile peninsula sitting on a complex underground volcanic structure, this long narrow headland bordering the shores of Loch Sunart the longest sea loch in Highlands to the 36m high lighthouse at the point long from Sanna Bay with its beautiful white sandy beaches, commonly described as the most westerly point of the British mainland.
Home to the Sunart Oakwood, some of the best surviving remnants of the ancient temperate Atlantic Oak forest also the richest lichen and fungi habit in Europe, often referred to as 'Temperate Rainforest’ due to the mild, wet oceanic climate.
With much wildlife, described by Wilderlust as ‘arguably Britain's finest mammal -watching’ location. Particularly boasting Scotland's 'big five' red deer, golden eagle, red squirrel, otters, common and grey seals. We have been lucky to have seen the big five and more from the house (the most comfortable wildlife hide in Scotland, probably!), to include dolphins, pine martens, porpoises and sea eagles. On the shore line, sea urchins, hermit crabs, star fish and lobster.
The peninsula is renowned as one of the last refuges of the critically endangered Scottish Wild Cat with perhaps only 35 pure wildcats spread across the Highlands. Each wild cat faces near impossible task of finding a mate in order to produce the next generation. A protection programme is in to place to trap/neuter/health check/inoculation/return for feral cats. With clinics for local community to neuter and micro chip domestic cats. For more information www.wildcathaven.com.
Ardnamurchan has remote access, one single track winding road much of the length allows this land to remain unspoilt, rich in forest, lochs, beaches and moorland. Part of Rough Bounds (Garbh Chriochan) most of Ardnamurchan is trackless, rough and boggy, caution is required during the stalking season in Autumn. Although there are several track and purpose built walks and cycle paths, leading through forest to white sandy beaches (singing sands) many are listed on www.ardnamurchan.com.
Kentra Bay, The Singing Sands
Another highlight is Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart, just 7 miles from Tigh Bhaan, offers magnificent views, lovely walks and miles of sand at low tide.
There are a few Villages all with their own charm and facilities Arcaracle, Salen, Strontium, Ardgour, Lochaline, Cinchona and Glenuig
The monthly magazine ‘de tha dol?’ has information on local events, available from the jetty shop and you can get a lot more information from the Ardnamurchan tourist association website, www.ardnamurchan.com
It is also an easy place from which to tour. Glenfinnan, at the head of Loch Shiel, has a National Trust Centre and the famous Bonnie Prince Charlie Monument.
Car ferries to Mull go from Kilchoan to Tobermory and from Lochaline to Fishness, making it possible to do a round trip, or visit Iona, which is possible on a day trip.
Isle of Muck foreground, Isle of Rum background taken from Ardnamurchan point
Going North, from Arisaig, you can do boat trips to Rum, Eigg, and Muck, and from Mallaig get across to Skye. The nearest Town is Fort William, 35 miles away, Scotland's biggest outdoor adventure playground, boasting many activities from climbing, white water rafting to skiing.
What ever you get up to enjoy this beautiful part of the world and using another’s words...
‘Take nothing away but memories, leave nothing behind but foot prints’