Although remote, the West Coast of Scotland offers a range of opportunities, with a varied landscape and a great array of tourist attractions. The weather may be a bit damp from time to time; but don’t let that get in your way. You’ll be surprised at how many things you end up doing – here’s my top 10 recommendations.
- Take in the views – seems a bit of a simple suggestion I know; but you don’t have to wander far from wherever you’re staying to get near some of the best views in the UK. Whether it’s at the roadside or at the end of a long walk the sights are definitely a reward worth the effort.
- Visit the Small Isles and Kinloch Castle – the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck and Rum, as well as the Isles of
Mull and Lismore, are all within easy reach of the mainland. The Island of Eigg contains the beautiful Kinloch Castle; which is open for tours. It was built by the rich owner of the Island as a holiday home during the 1800s and is a step back in time, still containing all its original furnishings. Pedestrian and car ferries run from various different locations on the West Coast if you’re interested in making a day trip.
- Visit the most westerly point of the UK – The Point of Ardnamurchan is quite similar to Land’s End or John O’ Groats, but with the addition of a lighthouse and tea room. It’s quite remote and can take a bit of a drive to get to but the scenery is worth the effort.
- Hit the water – the many Lochs and Bays around the West Coast offer the perfect opportunity for watersport enthusiasts, with many inlets and islands within easy reach by boat or canoe/kayak. Canoe/kayak and boat hire is easily available from spots near the coast if you don’t own any equipment yourself.
- Climb a mountain (or a small hill, whatever takes your fancy) – if you’re into hill walking the west of Scotland is full of places to go. The UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is within driving distance if you’re up for the challenge, but there are many other hills of differing heights and degrees of difficulty just waiting to be explored.
- Visit the Glenfinnan Monument – the monument at Glenfinnan was erected to celebrate the crushing of the Jacobite Uprisings in 1815. Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, the nearby visitor centre offers the opportunity to discover the history behind the uprisings. The nearby Glenfinnan Viaduct will be instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans, as the Hogwarts express has been filmed crossing it in many of the films.
- Take the Scenic Route – ‘The Jacobite’ steam train runs most days along the line between Fort William and Mallaig, offering a great way to see the sites of the West Highlands.
The small fishing town of Mallaig at the end of the line offers a good range of small shops and ferries to a variety of destinations, including various islands and the Knoydart peninsula, the most remote section of mainland Britain.
- Explore the food culture – although remote, there are a number of small local food producers including farms, smokeries and fisheries. Many of these products are available in either local restaurants or local shops, so are easy to try.
- Grab some souvenirs – as well as food many other small local companies produce souvenirs and mementos that you won’t find anywhere else, from clothing to handbags to pottery. It might be a bit pricey but you’ll see a range of things you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
- Try something new – with such a large area to explore, there’s bound to be something that you haven’t tried yet. Whether it’s a particular walking route, a new sport or something else entirely there are plenty of opportunities just waiting to be discovered.