It still impresses me that one of the most exciting trips and places ever visited was organised in two weeks and took two days! If you are based in Edinburgh or are planning to visit Edinburgh and add some adventure to your Scottish trip, I would advise to explore this fantastic still untouched area of the West.
Pick up your hired car from the airport or Waverley Train Station (check credit cards T&C) and head to Fort William. You will be lucky to stop at one of the most scenic spots in the Highlands, Glencoe, a paradise for walkers and photographers.
Keep going and stop for lunch in the sport capital of the Highlands, Fort William. This little town is packed with fish restaurants, and sport shops, plus some lovely charity, whisky and craft shops for fantastic souvenirs.
If you are a seafood lover I would suggest to book a table at Crannog. It has been on my radar for a while now but the last time I was there I did not manage to get a table, and it was a foggy Tuesday in late October! It is indeed very popular.
After lunch, head to the white sanded beaches in the West which start in Arisaig and end in Mallaig, by passing through Glenfinnan, where you will be able to stop and admire the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, familiar to any Harry Potter fan.
The roads from Arisaig to Mallaig are lovely to drive and the views, some of the most scenic in Scotland, with the Silver Sands of Morar and Camusdarach Beach (you will know it if you’ve watched the movie Local Hero) being some of the most beautiful beaches. You can spend the whole afternoon hopping from one beach to the other and I would advise ending your day with a lovely dinner and stay at the Arisaig Hotel in Arisaig, of which I loved every bit.
The hotel lies just in front of the water, where you can sit on lovely benches and look out to the horizon. Our room was very spacious and had a private little table and two chairs just outside. But most importantly the food was delicious! Bastien and I had the lamb and mash and also tried a couple of good Islay Whisky which were on the menu. The restaurant’s windows look out on the water and the atmosphere was very cozy. Breakfast was great, and consisted of a full cooked breakfast plus a generous buffet with yoghurts, fruits, cereals, milk and juices; all you expect from a Scottish hotel after all!
Be ready to explore one of the most remote places in Scotland. From Arisaig head to Glenuig, a small village in the middle of nowhere with its own smokehouse. It was lovely wandering around and enjoying the peace of this place.
From Glenuig we kept going on to Ardnamurchan, where the road gets narrow and steep, not for faint hearted! The Ardnamurchan’s lighthouse is the western-most mainland spot in the UK and the lighthouse itself is breathtaking! The surrounding cliffs are very dramatic and so its the path to it. I guess the foggy day we had added to the enchantment of this place.
On our way back we stopped in Kilchoan, most specifically at the Kilchoan Crafts and Café, where the lovely owner opened the closed-doors for us (it was a foggy February Sunday) and offered biscuits, café and a lovely chat! As a result, we also bough a lovely oil-painted rounded stone of Arisaig, which is now hanging in our flat 🙂 These are the kind of souvenirs that make the happier, as I know I am also helping locals and the art community.
The day would have not been complete without a 15 minutes ferry crossing – Corran Ferry – on to the main land, a fantastic experience and a brilliant service to avoid the long roads back.
The nature! In only one day, we saw lots of frogs, a herd of deer who stopped to stare at us, a majestic stag on top of a mountain looking down at us, and finally, a lot of limpets attached to amazingly-shaped rocks!
Have you ever been?