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Slow Travel Google Map: United Kingdom, Scotland, Northern

Author: DavidX
Notes: Scotland north of Fort William. You will need to click on the west arrow to see some of the islands. I realise my huge gaps here and I hope somebody will do a map to compensate. I simply don't have the knowledge or experience of these areas.

Accommodations

Craig Youth Hostel

I've never stayed but I have been all round it several times. Fabulous sunsets and coastal views.

Supplies mainly delivered to the small beach by boat, otherwise only the footpath for access.

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Ancient Monuments

Callanish

Ancient stones in the shape of a Celtic cross, usually reckoned the UK's second stone monument to Stonehenge.

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Dun Charlabhaigh

With the possible exception of Orkney, this is the best example of a broch in the UK.

Often called Dun Carloway in English.

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Beaches

Achmelvich

Simply a wonderful beach with great scenery.

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Achnahaird

Beautiful clean beach.

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Balnakeil Bay

A long sandy beach with a craft village nearby using old army huts. See Faraid Head.

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Oldshoremore

An excellent beach.

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Redpoint

Large beach and start of fine coastal walk to Craig Youth Hostel and Diabaig [qv]

Sandwood Bay

If you find the walk from near the end of the unclassified road west of Kinlochbervie to Sandwood Bay in the least interesting, then I feel for you. You must have spent your life in some boring places.

The bay itself, however, is stunning, reckoned by many [if such a word is appropriate for this remote place] of its visitors to be the most beautiful beach on the mainland of the UK.

I hate this sort of judgement; there's too much competition to pick just one BUT one thing I can say beyond doubt. It far more than justifies that tiresome walk!

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Valtos

An area of fine beaches and excellent coastal scenery.

Near where the 12th century 'Uig chessmen,' a set carved in walrus tusks from Scandinavia were found after a storm.

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Historical Buildings

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

One of the last lighthouse stations in Scotland to have resident keepers, it switched to remote control in 1998.

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Port-an-eorna

In English, this is the site of 'The Barley Port.' It's beautiful but you wouldn't guess there had been a port with 25 houses!

Castles

Dunvegan Castle

This picturesque castle, said to be the longest inhabited in Scotland, is the ancestral seat of the Head of the Clan Macleod.

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Eilean Donan Castle

This is the ancient site of a castle and what looks from a distance like a medieval castle only dates, as far as the present building is concerned, back to the 20th century - but, standing proudly on its island, it still looks the part!

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Churches

Rodel

A 16th century church of this quality is rare throughout the Highlands and Islands.

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Large Towns

Inverness

A cathedral city sometimes called 'Capital of the Highlands' - although it's just out of any highland scenery!

Gardens

Inverewe

It's almost impossible to give a straight description of this garden, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, without being accused of hype so I just make the factual statement that the Gulf Stream allows for tropical plants to be found here.

Very highly recommended - requires no walking prowess but you may come out surprised by how far you have walked.

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Inverlael

At or near here are a forest garden and arboretum and the start of a path up to a group of mountains that are not much sung but which give a great walk. These lie on a line from Beinn Dearg to Eididh nan Clach Geala.

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Monuments

Glenfinnan monument

Long and narrow Loch Shiel begins its route south from here, where Bonnie Prince Charlie is commemorated by a huge monument. It's where he first raised his standard in 1745.

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Sights

An Teallach

Along with Aonach Eagach above Glencoe, this is one of my favourite mainland ridges.
Superb views and wildlife.

Do click on 'read more' for some wonderful pics.

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Balranald

A great nature reserve but look out for yourself. Terns aren't big but a mob of them came for me. They won! I backed off.

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Barra

The first time I went to the Western Isles, I missed Barra. That was a terrible error!

Please don't you make it even if it curtails your time on the Uists

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Beinn Alligin

Beinn Alligin, with its cleft visible from the south and its 'horns' [sharp pinnacles] presenting one route of ascent is a fine mountain.

However it's possible to ascend and get the splendid views by a simple if long and rather boring route if you should prefer.

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Beinn Damh

A lovely mountain somewhat eclipsed by the Torridon Giants on the other side of the glen.

If you click on 'read more' scroll down to Walk 4.

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Beinn Dearg

The highest of a fairly unsung but eminently pleasing group of Munros [mountains over 3000 feet.]

If you 'read more,' you can find the others by clicking on Scotland's Munros - then on Loch Broom to Easter Ross.

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Beinn Eighe

A massive Torridonian sandstone range with some quarzite at the very top. The side overlooking Loch Maree has a well marked mountain trail but many consider the best to be a corrie [Coire Mhich Fhearchair] reached by starting up the path from the Torridon road between this mountain and Liathach.

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Beinn na-h-Eaglaise

A pleasant and not difficult ascent but its main virtue is the woderful view it gives of Liathach

Ben Macdui

The highest point in the Cairngorm Mountains. These mountains are individually less exciting than those of the west and northwest but their great height and views of the high plateau punctuated by tops give them an appeal all their own.

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Ben Stack

At a height below 2500 feet, this mountain is fairly free from the erosion caused by peak 'baggers.'

The satisfaction of going and being on this interesting top is far greater than its height would suggest and it's often clear when the higher stuff is in cloud.

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Benbecula

A smaller island between South and North Uist, connected to the former by causeway and the latter by a series of bridges connecting even smaller islands.
The highest point, Rueval, at less than 1000 feet is quite a trudge, oddly enough, but it gives a view out of all proportion to its height.

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Braeriach

One of the high mountains above the Lairig Ghru. [qv]

The view south is particularly dramatic.

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Cairn Gorm

The most accessible top in Scotland, although one of the highest. There is a mountain railway to very near the top.

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Cape Wrath

Most northwesterly point on the mainland. The road travelled by the minibus to get there connects with a passenger ferry only.

Other than the lighthouse it is just a lovely headland of wild scenery.

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Clo Mor

The cliffs at Clo Mor are the highest in Britain and support fabulous sea bird colonies, including puffins.

Ask the minibus driver to put you out in the right place.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

What you can see from near the entrance without any head for heights is impressive.

If vertigo doesn't trouble you get onto the suspension bridge from where it's quite magnificent.

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Coulin Ridge

I've not put individual markers for peaks in the ridge. They could only be approximate and close together, even on the higher zooms.

The ridge is difficult:
1. it requires climbing ability,
2. there's no water,
3. compasses are badly affected by metallic elements in the rock, and
4. mists can come in mighty fast.

BUT, if you can't do the ridge you may well be able to get to some points on it, including Ggurr nen gillean and Sgurr Alastair. The easiest peak is Bruach na Frithe.

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Cul Mor

A Torridonian sandstone peak near two roads - easy to ascend and descend by different routes.

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Eas a Chual Aluinn

Eas a Chual Aluinn is the highest waterfall in the UK but I have to admit that it is far too small a flow of water for it to be impressive [except possibly after heavy rain. I doubt it but I've not seen it except in a dry season.]

However a boat trip from the Kylescu Hotel and a walk via the fall and Loch ne Gainmhich and the road is a fine excursion.

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Faraid Head

Faraid Head is a terrific place. I've watched families of eider ducks swiming in after coming all the way from Scandinavia and watched seals from above, playing in the rock pools in fine weather and, sadly, taking a battering there in a storm.

I prefer the reverse of the route on the website - along the cliffs to the head and back via Balnakeil beach.

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Foinaven

A fine mountain range.

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Fort Augustus Locks

Why label this as a sight rather than a town when it's at Fort Augustus? Because one thing on its own more than justifies a stop here and that's the sight of boats going through the five flight locks of the Caledonian Canal.

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Gruinard Island

An experiment with anthrax was carried out on this island in 1942.

In spite of numerous post-war checks, it could not be declared decontaminated until !990!!

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Handa Island

An almost unbelievable gem for bird life; wear something on your head - seriously! - those skuas can be quite fierce.

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Ladhar Bheinn

A mountain with glorious views - quite a major walk.

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Liathach

There's no way up that doesn't mean a hard slog but it's worth it every time.

This is a range rather than a single mountain and is the most striking of all from the road.

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Lin of Dee

The southern end of the spectacular Lairig Ghru walk. [qv]

Loch Coruisk

This is somewhere to exhaust your supply of superlatives quite quickly. It is simply amazingly beautiful, a loch surrounded by Coulin Peaks.
The only easy way to get there is by boat from Elgol. Failing that you either have a long and lovely walk without too much technical difficulty from Sligachan or a short, beautiful and perilous walk from Camasunary.

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Loch Garten RSPB

Although primarily known for the Osprey Centre [they migrate in winter!] this is a great spot for a variety of wildlife.

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Loch Glencoul

A beautiful sealoch with a heronry. There are boat trips in the summer from the slipway of the Kylesku Hotel

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Loch Hourn

This loch is often compared to a fjord and is possibly the most scenic sea loch in the UK.

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Loch Maree

A guidebook once drew a sort of analogy between lochs and composers. He reckoned this to be Beethoven, a mighty accolade and from my viewpoint a well deserved one.

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Quinag

The most northerly of the mountains composed [largely in this case] of Torridonian sandstone.

It is shaped like a Y and it's possible to ascend relatively easily to the junction of its fork from the highest point of the road.

A delightful walk with great views.

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Quiraing

Not a high mountain but with a number of interesting features: 'The Needle,' 'The Prison' and 'The Table' are all aptly named.

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Rhue

An impressive headland with huge boulders of Torridonian sandstone.

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Slioch

A splendid sight across Loch Maree.

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Stac Pollaidh

This is about the lowest of the Torridonian sandstone peaks and one of the most spectacular, on account of its very sharp ridge.

Sadly its proximity to the road has caused considerable erosion but it's still well worth the ascent. The traverse of the ridge is possible for most reasonably fit people who don't suffer from vertigo.

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Suilven

This mountain achieves magnificence not by its height [it's under 2,500 feet] but by its shape and remoteness. It's an expedition and WELL worth it!

'Read more' would read more accurately as 'See more.'

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The Old Man of Storr

Very rough marker for a spectacular volcanic formation.

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The Saddle

The Saddle presents some good ridge walking possibilities from Shiel Bridge and gives great views, particularly to the south over the 'Rough Bounds of Knoydart.'

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Towns

Fort William

A significant sized town and transport junction and the start of the Caledonian Canal that links the east and west coasts.

It's in a great position but if, like me, you value Scotland partly for its tranquility, you may not want to actually stay here.

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Mallaig

I love this little town [it feels like that in spite of only having about 1000 inhabitants.]

It's the terminus from a marvellously scenic rail line from Glasgow/Edinburgh and as soon as you leave the train, there are the quays.

Sadly the map is dated. There's no longer a ferry from here to the western isles. For the Small Isles, see my Southern Scotland map.

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Stornoway

Capital of the Isle of Lewis.
[Note that Harris, in the same land mass, is a separate Island!!]

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Ullapool

It's a long way from Durness, the most northwesterly village on the mainland, but it's the northernmost town on the west coast.

It's bustle doesn't prevent it from being beautiful in its own right as well as an ideal centre for a highland holiday.

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Transportation

Barra -Eriskay Ferry

I've never used it but it looks really handy.

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Barra Airport

Contrary to what the map shows on high zoom levels, the airport is on the eastern side of Barra near the top. When I was there it was possible to be dropped by the bus and walk from the west, opposite the airport to the northern tip and back down to the airport beach in time to be picked up - easy and delightful.

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Bealach na Ba

In English the Pass of the Cattle. The top point on a long, narrow, fantastically winding road that used to be the only vehicular access to Applecross until the road to Shieldaig was built in the 1960s.

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Castlebay - Lochboisdale

Ferry from Castlebay on Barra to Lochboisdale [South Uist]

Less used now the Barra to Eriskay Ferry is operating.

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Glenelg car ferry

Summer only and there can be long queues. i have often caught the first ferry of the day - great fun and it really does feel you are going to a rather magical island.

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Harris - N. Uist Ferry

From Lochmaddy in North Uist to Tarbert in Harris.

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Inverness/Kyle line

One of Scotland's most scenic rail lines, which is saying something. It's worth travelling this part if only to discover how the Tower of Babel must have sounded - with exclamations of wonder ringing out in countless languages.

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Island Hopscotch

A far cheaper alternative to booking separate ferries if you are touring more than one of the islands off the west coast. Operated by Calmac. You should have no trouble finding it on their website.

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Keodale ferry.

There is a rare mistake on the map here. The road shown across the water DOES NOT EXIST!

You can reach Cape Wrath by taking the passenger ferry and then a minibus.

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Leverburgh - N. Uist Fer

This ferry runs from Leverburgh, Harris to Otternish, North Uist. So said the Leverburgh website, no longer available at the time of writing - but the Calmac timetable has it to Berneray, which is a small island just north of North Uist. They run it so they should know!

If you intend to use it, I suggest you phone Calmac to resolve the problem.

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Mallaig/Armadale Ferry

A pleasant way over the sea to Skye but not cheap!

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Mallaig/Knoydart Ferry

This ferry runs regularly to Inverie. Some boats go further up Loch Nevis. for once it's not Calmac but Bruce Watt Cruisers that you need.

PASSENGERS ONLY

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Oban - S. Uist Car Ferry

Thin timetable in winter - more plentiful [not very] in summer

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Oban to Castlebay Ferry

This is the only ferry from the mainland to Barra. The one shown on the map from Mallaig no longer runs - worse luck!

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Skye - Harris Ferry

From Tarbert [Harris] to Uig [Skye]

Avoid confusion. There is another Uig on the west coast of Lewis, which is where the chess men were found [see Valtos]

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Skye Bridge

It's quick and now it's free. Here endeth the list of its virtues.

Skye to N. Uist Ferry

Uig [Skye] to Lochmaddy [North Uist]

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Stornoway Car Ferry

Fabulous views, particularly looking back to the mainland over the Summer Islands.

Do look at Calmac's island Hopscotch web page and consider going up through the Uists and back by this ferry.

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The very best?

I hate superlatives but I used some about Inverkirkaig and here's another!

I really do believe that scenically this is the best road in all the UK and as good as I've seen anywhere. From Inverkirkaig [qv] to Achiltibuie [qv.]

I did say 'scenically.' It certainly does NOT excel in straightness, width or safety! Take your time and enjoy every metre.

Villages

Achiltibuie

Its position between Ben More Coigach, a mountain of Torridonian sandstone and the coast, justifies a visit but it's the proximity to and view of the Summer Islands that make it outstanding.

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Achnashellach station

Some fine redwood trees just near the station; the start of some splendid mountain walks, including one real beauty to Torridon. Long but not technically difficult.

Applecross

A surprisingly peaceful place, though if you've followed the old road from Tornapress, you'll feel you've earned your drink at the inn.

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Arisaig

Arisaig is noted for its silver sand. In the summer there are boats to Eigg.

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Aviemore

Scotland's 'winter sports capital.'

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Badachro

A particularly lovely cove with a small inn at the top.

Broadford

Skye's second largest village. It's a bit of a straggle but it makes an important transport junction.

Roads from the bridge at Kyleakin, the summer ferry at Kylerhea, Elgol, Dunvegan, the Coolin and Portree all meet at or near Broadford.

Carrbridge

This is a good place to stop on your way north. It's hard to avoid advertising a particular place here so I'll only suggest you do your own search!

Castlebay

Capital of Barra Island, one of the most beautiful, where the film 'Whisky Galore' was made.

It's well named - there is indeed a castle on an island in the bay.

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Drumnadrochit

Capital of 'Nessie Country.' Not one Monster Centre but two!!

Dundonell

Road point for a walk round the wonderful ridge of An Teallach - and a drink at the end in the Dundonell Hotel.

Durness

The most northwesterly village on the Scottish mainland, from which the Orkneys can be seen when it's going to rain - unless it's already raining!

Attractions are Smoo Cave a bit to the east, Faraidh Head, a lovely easy walk and Cape Wrath [qv].

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Elgol

You get here from Broadford past the one isolated Black Coolin peak of Blaven and the village of Torrin.

Elgol is the port for regular [season and weather permitting] boat trips to Loch Coruisk, a trip you will be hard put to beat anywhere.

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Foyers

The 'wrong' side of Loch Ness? That's a matter of opinion. I far prefer the southeast side.

Gairloch

Rather straggly but quite interesting village with a fine beach.

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Glenbrittle

The campsite at Glenbrittle usually contains masses of walkers and climbers. It is the only gateway other than Loch Coruisk [qv] to the southern mountains of the Coolin Ridge and, in spite of wildly eroded paths, it's worth going up, even if you only get to see Coire Lagan.

The Coolin Ridge should be treated with great respect. Forget doing the ridge if you can't climb [like me.] BUT many of the individual peaks can be reached and that is in itself a wonderful experience.

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Glenelg

Near this delightful little village are some of the best brochs on the mainland.

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Inver Alligin

Small and delightful village by Loch Torridon with an easy scenic walk through Torridon House grounds to Torridon village.

If you are in luck both otters and pine martins might be seen.

Above you towers Beinn Alligin.

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Inverie

Connected by boat to Mallaig, the only alternative without a very specialised vehicle is a long walk. Its roads are local only and only residents have cars.

There's a first rate pub with some accommodation alternatives and it's the perfect spot for walking up the beautiful mountain of Ladhar Bheinn [pronounced Larven]

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Inverkirkaig

'Can that be a bookshop that I see before my eyes?' It may be a slight misquote but this surely must be the most bizarre situation for any bookshop in the UK - as well as the most picturesque. It's really good as well!
Scot Books

The website on 'read more' is more general.

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Kinlochbervie

A fascinating village, far more lively still than a lot of places whose existence was based on fishing.

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Kinlochewe

Kinlochewe is the biggest village in the Loch Maree/Torridon area - although nobody would think it large.

Leverburgh

Once called Obbe - 1920 enter Lord Leverhume - name changed and many buildings for handling herring erected: more intended - 1925 Lord Leverhume died and the firm sold Leverburgh for a trivial sum.

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Lochboisdale

Island capital of South Uist. Click on 'read more' for information about the whole island.

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Lochinver

Lochinver is the largest village north of Ullapool, with several shops and a range of services.

It's more conveniently placed than anywhere else for a visit to the small but most impressive mountain of Suilven [but still it's a long walk!]

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Lochmaddy

Island capital. Click on 'read more' for information about North Uist.

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Lower Diabaig

I have stayed here often and for me it's a foretaste [the only taste I expect to get!] of Paradise.

On the other hand my eldest son says, 'There's naff all there' and that has quite a hint of truth - nearest shop 7 miles, pub 8 miles along a winding and hilly road.

But the cliff and local walks - that's another story!

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Plockton

A lovely bay and a delightful village; a favourite of many, including me!

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Portree

The capital of Skye.

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Tarbert, Harris

Capital of Harris and main ferry port other than Stornoway for the two islands of Harris and Lewis, combined in a single land mass.

Interestingly, ferries go not to the mainland but to other islands, North Uist and Skye.

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Tarbet

It's scarcely big enough to be a village but it's where the ferry runs to Handa so it gets a good few visitors.

Warning: if you click on 'Read more,' you'll almost certainly find yourself wanting to go!

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Torridon

Previously known as Fasaig, this village with a splendid youth hostel lies [apparently precariously!] under the sea end of Liathack [qv]

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Uig

Pleasant village with incredible sunsets.

This is the port for ferries to North Uist and Harris.

Walking Route 1

Lairig Ghru

Probably the finest hill pass in Britain, joining the Spey and Dee rivers. It runs from Coylumbridge to Lin of Dee with forest at each end and a glorious stretch through a huge V leading up to 4000 foot peaks to the sides.

The path shown here should only be taken as an approximation and anybody doing the walk should have a proper large scale walking map and a compass.

The northern starting point shown here is Coylumbridge.

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