The Ardnamurchan Peninsula
South of the Road to the Isles and west of Fort William is one of the most untamed areas left in Northern Europe, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. More of an island thrusting out into the Atlantic, it has largely resisted the onslaught of modern man and remains a refuge for creatures and plant-life less suited to our presence.
The easiest approach is from Fort William, crossing Loch Linne at the Corran Ferry and winding ever further into this fertile landscape. Alternatively, follow the A861 through Moidart from the Road to the Isles. Taking a turn to the sparse community of Cul Doirlinn near Acharacle, the grim silhouette of Castle Tioram comes into view. Situated on a small island it is accessible unless the tide is high, but water-proof boots are advised. Otters can sometimes be seen playing in the channel of water adjacent to the castle.
Salen on the banks of Loch Sunart belies the ruggedness of the peninsula beyond with its ice-cream signs and yachty setting. Once on the twisting, rolling B8007 that leads out to the far Point of Ardnamurchan, you notice a certain gleam in other driver's eyes, probably ornithologists returning from an enthralling field trip. With a little diligence, seals, red deer, sea otters and Golden Eagles can be spotted. Inland are largely inaccessible rolling hills and secluded lochans.
At Glenborrodale is the Ardnamurchan Natural History and Visitor Centre which gives detailed information on the peninsula's geological past and its present range of wildlife and flora. There is a dramatic 13 minute audio-visual presentation with photography by Michael MacGregor, the local game stalker and postcard publisher. There is also a shop selling locally produced craftware as well as a good cafe.
The ruins of Mingarry Castle are set near the village of Kilchoan. In 1588, the crew of a Spanish galleon of the Armada along with MacLean of Duart and his men, an unusual alliance, unsuccessfully attacked Mingarry. When the Spanish returned to it, their ship had been blown up and its wreck still lies in Tobermory Bay along with its treasure trove.
Kilchoan is the terminus for the small ferry to Tobermory on Mull. There is a guest house here, 'Meall mo Chridhe' or 'Little Hill of my Heart' that is furnished to a high standard and offers excellent fresh local produce in its farm shop. Evening meals can be booked even if you are not staying.
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is the most westerly point
on the British mainland. The lighthouse is closed to the public but it is possible
to explore the rocks and watch the occasional ship thrust through the Sea of the
Hebrides towards Stornoway on Lewis. Sanna Bay, with its wide sands, is nearby for
a walk from Portuairk or you can drive back towards Kilchoan and drive to the village
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