Local Area

About Gairloch

Gairloch is the largest of a number of small settlements overlooking Loch Gairloch.

It has been a popular tourist resort since Victorian times, attractive for its scenic location and fine sandy beaches. Sunsets here can be magical and the views west to Skye and inland to the Torridon mountains are spectacular. There are some wonderful beaches to explore in and around Gairloch.

A short distance to the west is Big Sand from where a single track road goes out to Melvaig. From this tiny crofting hamlet a narrow track leads to Rubha Reidh Point where there is a converted lighthouse. Beyond the headland lies Camas Mor beach, a beautiful and secluded place. The 9 hole golf course lies along the stretch of Gairloch Beach and recently celebrated its centenary. Visitors are welcome.

The Gairloch Heritage Museum offers plenty of interest for a rainy day. Displays include two fishing boats, a reconstruction of a croft and information on the geology and archeology of the area. The museum is open daily during the summer season. Three miles south of Gairloch is Badachro, a former fishing village in a picturesque setting. The road from here winds south a further five miles to Redpoint, a tiny hamlet with stunning beaches and great views to the Western Isles.

Poolewe sits in the shelter of Loch Ewe, at the mouth of the River Ewe where it tumbles down from Loch Maree. It is a pretty place in an area of spectacular scenery. Magnificent vistas appear around every turn in the road. It is also close to the site of the war memorial In memory of those who died on the wartime convoys which left from Loch Ewe during World War II.

Inverewe Garden is half a mile across the bay from Poolewe on the A832 . Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the site was developed by the botanist Osgood Mackenzie from 1862 until his death in 1922. He collected plants from all over the world for the garden he built there. He imported Irish soil and worked to create themed gardens linked by a maze of paths. The NTS Visitor Centre on site has a display charting the development of the garden and also has an excellent book shop. There is good walking in the area.

Above Dundonnell, between Braemore and Poolewe, rises An Teallach, a magnificent mountain. One route to the 3484ft summit starts half a mile south east of the Dundonnell Hotel. Inland from Poolewe lies Loch Maree and, to its north, one of the last great wild places in Scotland, the Letterewe Forest (though as with many Scottish "forests" don't expect to find many trees). This is not an area for the inexperienced or ill equipped.

If you travel north east along the coast from Loch Ewe you find yourself confronted with fabulous views over Gruinard Bay to Gruinard Island and far beyond. A series of attractive beaches skirt the bay and a number are easily reached from the main road.

Adapted from Undiscovered Scotland