Things to see around Lochalsh & Isle of Skye
Starting in the busy fishing village of Kyle of Lochalsh, it would be easy to think that there is little to see except the hustle and bustle of the areas service centre, not so In fact the views from the Plock of Kyle , looking out to towards the sound of Raasay and the Isle of Skye are some of the most breathtaking in South West Ross. The main viewpoint at sunset is a good place to take a photograph.
Also not to be missed is a walk over the bridge, this means you will not miss some of our most secretive native mammals, the otters. If you stop on the approach to the bridge, and spend a little time with binoculars scanning the shores of Eilean ban, you will see herons , cormorants, oyster catchers and with a little luck otters.
Also in Kyle is the Railway, and a trip not to be missed is the train to Strathcarron and back, along the coast, it is one of the most scenic and relaxing ways to see the area and you might even spot a deer or two.
Further up the coast is the beautiful little village of Plockton famed in such films as The Wicker Man and the TV series Hamish Macbeth. The views of the sound of Rasaay and the Crowlin Isles are quite breathtaking. When you pass through Duirnish be sure to stop and see Morags Coos. These savage beasties are surprisingly docile, but only feed them if there is a fence between you.
Returning to Kyle and heading towards Dornie you will pass Murchinsons monument. There is a large lay-by here. The monument was raised in 1861 to commemorate Colonel Donald Murchison, who was factor to the Earl of Seaforth between 1715 and 1719. From here if you look toward the base of Beinn na Cailich at low tide you can see the wreck of the WWII minelayer, Port Napier. This hulk of a ship went on fire during the war when Kyle was used to stock the minelayers. For safety sake, she was pulled to the middle of Loch Alsh and left to sink in deep water. (Loch Alsh is 250 feet deep). Instead she lasted longer than anticipated and floated toward the shore, blew up and sunk in 80 feet of water. You can take a trip from Kyle in the glass bottomed boat to view her.
Carrying on to Balmacara, the next thing to see would be the Lochalsh Woodland garden.
Well worth a visit.
This brings us to Loch Long and Conchra further down the Sallachy road along the side of the Loch, you will come to the Killilan Estate where you can park and take a stroll through another of these hidden gems.
Returning back to the main road you pass over the bridge to Dornie and Eilean Donan Castle probably the most photographed castle in Britain. The castle itself is not the original but was built on a ruin in the 1920’s. But regardless of when it was built you have to admit, it looks the part. It has been used in many films, Highlander being the most famous but also recently Loch Ness, and the famous James Bond movie.
Dornie itself is based on the join of the three sea-lochs. Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long.
If you go down the side of Loch Duich to the area known as Glen Shiel, (we are no longer on the Lochalsh peninsula) you will see the Five sisters of Kintail. Bachelors shouldn’t get there hopes up these are an amazing mountain range. The best place to see these is on the road to Glenelg.
The road over to Glenelg is the Mam Ratagan pass and the viewpoint on the way up is a good place to stop and get you’re breath or take a picture or two On driving down into Glenelg (a place most visitors miss) you will see the Bernera Barracks. Built in the 18th century to house government garrison which moved into the area to police the locals and ensure there were no more repeats of the uprisings of 1715 and 1745. you can turn off here and follow the road round the bay to the ferry across to Skye. If you don’t go on the ferry it is a good place to watch the seals play in the currents, which are very strong.
Just after you pass through Glenelg there is a signpost for the Brochs. Here are the best preserved Iron Age forts to be found anywhere on mainland Scotland.
Back on the road to Arnisdale there is a footpath that cuts of the shore at Sandaig, where the ruins of a small cottage called Camusfearn, once the home of Gavin Maxwell, while he wrote his book ‘Ring of Bright Water’ before he went to live on Eilean Ban, (where the bridge is now.)