Places to visit
Places to visit around Lochcarron
Lochcarron is an excellent centre for exploring the west coast. It's surrounded by highly varied and beautiful countryside, and various local facilities make it a good base, yet it's peaceful enough for complete relaxation.
A trip to Kyle of Lochalsh or to Inverness takes you through some beautiful scenery. If you don't feel like driving, you can make either journey by train from Strathcarron station, which is 3½ miles from Lochcarron village. This is renowned as one of the most scenic rail journeys you can take. Alternatively, there is a bus to Inverness on some days from the village hall.
The local bus services also offer other scenic trips in the local area, for example to Shieldaig, but you need to phone in advance to book a seat. Timetables and other details of the local services are given on Hans Zell's website.
Near Lochcarron are the attractive villages of Shieldaig and Plockton, and a little further afield is the beautiful valley of Glenelg. When driving there from Lochcarron you might like stop at the impressive Eilean Donan castle at Dornie, which incorporates a vistor centre, gift shop and coffee shop.
Glenelg isn't really a glen (normally a narrow steep-sided river valley), but rather a wide peninsula reaching out into the beautiful Sound of Sleat. There are superb views of the area as you travel from Shiel Bridge down into the valley. In the summer season a tiny ferry runs from just north of Glenelg village to Kylerhea on the Isle of Skye.
The sheltered valley at Attadale lies on the south side of Loch Carron. The gardens at Attadale House are open to the public from April through October. A huge range of plants and trees, collected starting in the nineteenth century from around the world, are presented here in carefully landscaped, attractive surroundings.
Torridon is a centre for walking and climbing. The hills around Torridon and the Beinn Eighe national nature reserve are possibly the most spectacular in Scotland. There are many walks through the area, some to be taken with great care; one of the less demanding is the coastal path from Diabaig to Red Point.
If the challenge of climbing is not for you, we would recommend driving through this area. The road from Torridon to Diabaig offers some particularly impressive views.
The direct route onto the Applecross peninsula is over the Bealach na Ba, the Pass of the Cattle. At over 2000 feet this is one of the highest roads in the UK; its hairpin bends, steep drops and spectacular views make it a memorable drive.
At times, such as in wintry conditions, the Bealach na Ba may be closed, but fortunately the coast road out of Applecross allows a route for you to visit the other settlements over this charming stretch of coastline.
Applecross itself is worth a visit for the delightful sheltered sandy bay and the excellent meals at the Applecross Inn. Also recommended is the Potting Shed restaurant in the walled garden.
Isle of Skye
Skye offers many activities and attractions for visitors, ranging from concerts to castles, and it's easy to reach the island from Lochcarron. The Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh is about 40 minutes' drive away. If you just want to see what kind of countryside Skye offers, it takes about a day's driving to see the entire island; but Skye repays a far closer look, and you're likely to want a more leisurely tour of the places that interest you.