The quickest way north from Lochinver is the A837 east to the junction with the A894 which heads to Kylesku. But by far the most scenic route is the B869 coast road that passes moorland, lochs and beautiful sandy bays. It's best travelled from north to south, giving you the most fantastic views of Suilven. Untypically, most of the land in this part of Assynt is owned by local crofters who, under the aegis of the Assynt Crofters' Trust, bought 21,000 acres of the North Assynt Estate, thus setting a precedent for change in the history of land ownership in the Highlands.
The trust now owns the fishing rights to the area and sells permits through local post offices and the tourist office in Lochinver. It has also undertaken a number of conservation projects, including one at Achmelvich, a few miles north of Lochinver, at the end of a side road which branches off the coast road. It's worth a detour to see one of the loveliest beaches on the west coast, with sparkling white sand and clear turquoise sea straight out of a Caribbean tourist brochure. You can stay here, at the SYHA Hostel, Tel. 844480, open mid-May to early October; or camp at the Shore Caravan Site, Tel. 844393, open April-September.
From the beach car park below the hostel a path leads northwest along the coast. Bear left off the sandy path shortly after the white cottage on the hill ahead comes into view, and follow the footpath until the road is reached at Alltan na Bradhan, where there are the remains of an old meal mill. Continue north from here along the coast for about a mile till you reach a small bay just before Clachtoll, the Split Rock. Close by are the remains of an Iron-Age Broch, but don't cause further damage by clambering over the ruins. Return to the beach by the same path. The walk there and back should take about 1 1/2 hours.
Phone code: +44 (0)1971
The road runs east from Drumbeg, under the shadow of towering Quinag (2,654 ft), to meet the A894 heading north to Kylesku, site of the sweeping modern road bridge over Loch a'Cháirn Bháin. From Kylesku you can visit Britain's highest waterfall, the 650-ft high Eas a'Chùal Aluinn, near the head of Loch Glencoul. Cruises leave from the old ferry jetty below the Kylesku Hotel to the falls on board the MV Statesman, Tel. 01571-844446. You can also see porpoises, seals and minke whales en route. You may be able to get closer to the falls by getting off the boat and walking to the bottom, then getting on the next boat. Info - The 2-hr round trip runs Apr-Sep daily at 1100 and 1400 (Jul and Aug also at 1600), and costs £9, children £3.
There's also a trail to the top of the falls. It starts at the south end of Loch na Gainmhich, about three miles north of Skiag Bridge. Skirting the loch, follow the track in a southeasterly direction up to the head of the Bealach a Bhuirich (the Roaring Pass). Continue until you meet a stream, with several small lochans on your right. Follow this stream until it plunges over the Cliffs of Dubh (the Dark Cliffs). You can get a better view of the falls by walking to the right about 100 yards and descending a heather slope for a short distance. Allow about three to four hours for the round trip.
Kylesku Hotels & Accommodation
The Kylesku Hotel, an old coaching inn dating from 1680, is situated by the former ferry slipway on the shores of Loch Glendhu. With an excellent restaurant, friendly family bar and cosy residents' lounge, the hotel is the perfect place for a peaceful and relaxing break and an ideal base for exploring the area. It is a gret place for delicious and great-value pub seafood, or for B&B, open Mar-Oct. There's also a more formal and expensive restaurant next door. Tel: Tel. 502231 more details about Kylesku Hotel