Ardnamurchan is one of the best places to experience the unspoilt wilderness of Scotland. The northern part has been designated as a ‘National Scenic Area’, one of forty such areas in Scotland. From beautiful lochs, through oakwood forests, to breath-taking mountains, you’ll always have something interesting to look at.
Ben Hiant hill is the highest point on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, but at 528 metres it’s not really particularly high. It’s mostly a gentle ascent, making it a great choice for the novice hill climber. Getting to the top takes a few hours, and if you do so you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the Scottish coastline. Look out for wild red deer and pine martens on your climb.
The beautiful white sands of ‘Bay MacNeil’ beach contrast sharply with the desolate rocky landscape around it. If you bring a pair of binoculars, this is a great place to see golden eagles. You can also see Ardnamurchan Point and the Small Isles from here.
‘Glenborrodale Nature Trail’ takes you through the beautiful oak woodlands and moorlands of Ardnamurchan. Birdwatchers will love this trail, as there is a big range of different species here, including golden eagles, merlins, warblers, oyster catchers, sandpipers, skylarks, flycatchers, and redstarts. It also gives you a fantastic view of Loch Sunart, and if you keep your eyes open you might be able to spot some otters and seals. One of the most spectacular natural displays in the area is the red deer rut. This occurs from late September to early October, and people come from all over the world to see it.
You can’t come to Scotland without finding out how its national drink is made. ‘Ardnamurchan Distillery’ is located on the shores of Loch Sunart, one of the most beautiful settings of any distillery in the country. It’s well worth taking a distillery tour and having a wee complementary dram afterwards. Make sure to visit their shop, where they sell limited edition whiskies you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Sometimes travel is about ticking things off the list. Wouldn’t you like to say you’ve been to the most westerly spot in mainland Great Britain? There are two places that are often claimed as the most westerly locations – Corrachadh Mòr and Ardnamurchan Point – and both are in Ardnamurchan. Of the two, Corrachadh Mòr is actually further west by a few metres.
However, although not technically the furthest west, Ardnamurchan Point is well worth visiting if you’re in the area. Getting there is an eight-mile cycle from Kilchoan pier through the moorland above Ardnamurchan caldera. There’s a visitor centre and café waiting for you when you arrive. It also has a lighthouse that is open to the public all through the year, except for in winter. It’s well worth climbing to the top and marvelling at its sea view. The lighthouse is also interesting in itself, having been built in 1849 by the family of the author Robert Louis Stevenson.
The ‘Ardnamurchan Nàdurra Centre’ is a great way to get accustomed with the wildlife of the area. Its main attraction is a ‘living building’ designed to attract wildlife such as voles, bats, swallows, and pine martens. Since these animals come and go freely, you shouldn’t go expecting to see anything in particular. The centre also has a pond and a variety of interactive exhibits.
There are also a number of outdoor pursuits available in Ardnamurchan. If you’re adventurous enough, Ardnamurchan is a fantastic place for canoeing and kayaking. The travel company ‘Otter Adventures’ organises guided tours on the waters of Loch Sunart, along with cycling and walking tours.
If you’re looking for a souvenir of your trip, the ‘Lochaber Craft and Food Producers Association’ is a great place to pick up some traditional craft and food items made by local producers.