Who has heard of Ardnamurchan? People that live there and its tourism trade believe you probably haven’t. They make a virtue of its quiet almost secret qualities and a best kept secret at that.
Ardnamurchan Point, with its lighthouse, is the most westerly point on the British mainland and it is the tip of the peninsula. Ardnamurchan as a district stretches from there to Loch Linnhe in the south where you can cross to Lochaber (Fort William and Glencoe) using the Corran Ferry, to the tip of Loch Shiel going inland where the Glenfinnan monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie stands and to the sound of Arisaig further north where you are on the road to Mallaig. Its flanked on either side by the famous peninsula estates of Moidart and Morvern. There is no Munro (mountain over 3,000ft) to bag but its highest peak Resipole (a corbert for hillwalkers) cuts a fine figure above Loch Shiel.
If you think you can see it by simply driving around the A861 road you can’t as you will spend a lot of time in forest and miss its main beauty, which is its coastline. You need to get down to the bays and coves that hug the coast of sea lochs – Loch Sunart, Loch Moidart and Loch Aiort. Sanna Bay near Ardamurchan point is an obvious destination where you can see Eigg and Rum and the small isles. Our favourites were Ardtoe and the shores of Loch Moidart where castle Tiorum (cheerum) sits on an island that is accessible at low tide.
A favourite spot for photography was the west shore of the inland Loch Shiel. It seems to gently emerge from the land and offers a tranquil idyl with just a few small boats, a jetty and boathouse. You can access it from Acharacle by the road passed the Loch Shiel Hotel. I have to say at this point we stayed at the Loch Shiel Hotel and despite some negative comments about it on websites such as trip advisor and its two stars it is perfectly fine and as good a small hotel as you will find in the north of Scotland. We also had some nice food in the Salen Hotel and would recommend a stop there.
We liked Ardtoe so much that we have chosen here as a place to go back to in October and hopefully get some wonderful west coast sunsets at that time of year looking out to the islands. Lets put it this way, we learned enough about its secrets to make us want to go back. We have opened up an Ardnamurchan gallery and you can watch this space for our growing collection of Ardnamurchan images.