Guide to the remote Ardnamurchan and Morvern Peninsula
West of Fort William is one of the most remote parts of the Highland region, stretching south from Loch Ailort to the Morvern Peninsula, and west to the wild and beautiful Ardnamurchan Peninsula. This lonely, southwestern corner features a dramatic landscape of rugged mountains, desolate moorland and near-deserted glens, fringed by a coastline of sparkling white beaches and clear turquoise seas with wonderful views across to the isles of Mull and Skye. This is one of the least-populated areas in Britain, mainly due to the legacy of the Highland Clearances in the mid-19th century, when whole communities were evicted by landlords in favour of more profitable sheep.
With so few people around, this is an area noted for its wildlife, with a huge variety of birds and animals, such as deer, pine martens, wildcats and eagles. If you have both the time and the energy, it's worth exploring on foot. There's a series of footpaths throughout the area, particularly around Ardnamurchan.
The name Ardgour means 'height of the goats', and you can still see feral goats in this huge, sparsely populated wilderness bordered by Loch Shiel, Loch Eil, Loch Linnhe and Loch Sunart. Access is via the A861 south from Kinlocheil, or on the Corran Ferry to the tiny lochside villages of Corran and Clovulin. There's accommodation here at The Inn at Ardgour, Tel. 01855-841225.
The attractive little village of Strontian on the shores of Loch Sunart gave its name to the element strontium, which was first discovered in the nearby lead mines in 1790. These now-abandoned mines also produced most of the lead shot used in the Napoleonic wars. Strontian is the largest settlement in these parts and has a post office/petrol station, shops, hotels, cafe/restaurants, crafts and the high school with community library and internet access. It also has a VisitScotland Tourist Information Centre: Tel.402131, open April to October: Mon-Fri 0900-1700, sat 1000-1600, Sun 1000-1400.
About two miles north of the village is the Ariundle Nature Reserve, which offers a pleasant two-hour nature trail through the glen and a 40-minute forest walk.
Phone code: +44 (0)1967
Local Sights & Activities for Ardnamurchan & StrontianSightseeing
30 walks in the area are listed in a local guide book available at tourist offices. You should also have OS Map numbers 40, 47 and 49, which cover the area
Ardnamurchan & Strontian Hotels & Accommodation
Strontian has 3 hotels. The luxurious 'Kilcamb Lodge Hotel', (4 star and excellent reviews 4.7/5 Tel. +44 (0)1967 402257), standing in its own grounds on the lochside and serving superb food. The Ben View HotelTel +44 (0)1967 402333, slightly outside the village and the Strontian Hotel in the village' both of which serve food.
There are several Bed and Breakfasts and the Ariundle Bunkhouse where you can also get meals & breakfast, Tel +44 (0)1967 402279.
A variety of self catering properties are also available.
Travel Directions to Ardnamurchan & Strontian
It's an area of few roads. Once you leave the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road, buses are few and far between, so it's not easy to get around quickly without your own transport. Shiel Buses, Tel. 01967-431272, run most of the bus services. There's a bus once a day on Tue, Thu and Sat from Fort William to Lochaline (2 hrs), via the Corran Ferry. There's a bus once a day (Mon-Sat) from Fort William to Acharacle (1 hr 30 mins, £4.25), via Lochailort. There's also a bus (Mon-Fri) to Acharacle from Mallaig (1 hr 30 mins). There's a bus once a day (Mon-Sat) from Fort William to Kilchoan (2 hrs 25 mins, £5), via Strontian (1 hr, £2.70), Salen and Glenborrodale.
For details of the ferry from Lochaline to Fishnish on Mull and from Kilchoan to Tobermory. If you're travelling by car, access is via the A861, leaving the A830 before Glenfinnan or at Lochailort. You can also make the 5-min ferry crossing to Ardgour from the Corran Ferry about 8 miles south of Fort William on the A82.