Direct from Kilchoan pier head up Loch Sunart with Ardnamurchan Charters to visit a seal colony. Or cruise west to the Treshnish Isles with Staffa Tours. Sail straight into the gloom of the famous fingal’s cave, marvel at the impressive, towering, stone walls of staffa isle, and get ready to see puffins, guillemots, and gannets galore – no zoom lense required! (Puffin is season April – August)
For some wildlife watching on land take a trip with Wild Highland Tours. Their experienced guides will take you by jeep and on foot to some hidden spots, sharing the history of the land and helping you encounter some rare, Scottish wildlife, including golden eagles, pine martens and wildcats, all to the majestic backdrop of western Ardnamurchan.
Western Ardnamurchan has a wealth of spectacular walks, with have a ‘Rambler’s Guide’ coming soon, but until then feel free to enquire at the Steading Holidays offices. There’s also opportunity for fishing, kayaking and some good and relatively unexplored climbing routes to scale.
In the village of Kilchoan
If you’re staying in the village almost everything is within walking distance.
The Kilchoan Pub has a cosy bar with open fire, dining room, honest pub grub, a good selection of whiskies, and a beer garden.
For a rainy day head to the Kilchoan Community Centre, where you can play badminton, basketball, table tennis or table football, with a football pitch outside. There’s also a small tearoom. We’re very proud of our family, wood, turf and willow play park, which you’ll find outside as well, which has lots activities and a bbq area.
Kilchoan crafts and gallery shares it’s home with the Steading Holidays offices. It is a snug little gallery filled with the labours of local artists and craftsfolk and serves teas, coffees, home baking and snacks. Next to the gallery is the workshop of leather-worker John Chapple who has been making belts for fifty years and will gladly fit you for a hand-stitched, custom belt. Although an amicable, gregarious man, I would recommend refraining from using the phrases ‘wifi password’ and ‘belt repairs’ in his presence.
Feast on a fourteen course meal in the banqueting hall of Mingarry Castle, a recently restored 13th century castle proudly perched on the water’s edge. A unique and memorable experience for which booking is essential.
On the north west coast there is an incredible stretch of sandy beaches, starting with the famous white sands and rippling dunes of Sanna bay. Make sure you follow the signs for ‘Sanna’ and take a pack lunch for a day of walking, swimming and glorious views.
On your way to Ardnamurchan point is the Sonachan Hotel, the most westerly pub on the British Isles; it has a good selection of pub meals, seafood, and whiskies, and is a great spot for a sunset drink. Across the road is the Kilchoan Community Garden, open to visitors and selling produce straight from the garden, in their little blue shop (the only 24 hour shop in Ardnamurchan).
Visit Portuairk village, a charming, tiny village with a lovely, sandy beach. There is a small space for parking on the right hand side at the bottom of the hill in.
A must-visit is Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, which crowns the most westerly point. On a sunny day take a tour up the lighthouse and enjoy 360 degree uninterrupted views as far as the Outer Hebrides. Enjoy an ice cream and ramble around the outcrop, looking out for whales, dolphins and basking sharks, frequent visitors to the lighthouse. On a stormy day marvel at the majesty of the crashing waves and rolling seas, have a look around the exhibition inside the old light-keepers house and be amazed at how the thick granite walls buffet the thundering gales. Then head into the café for a coffee, some baking and a look around the gift shop.
An afternoon in Glenmore
Head over to Glenmore for the afternoon, only a 20 minute drive from Kilchoan village. If you’re a whiskey lover then you can take a tour around the Ardnamurchan Distillery, watch the whiskey making process in action, and treat your taste buds to some whiskey sampling. Just across the road is the Ardnamurchan Natural history centre, which offers a fun afternoon for all the family. The living building is an amazing turf and wood construction filled with interactive games and nature displays, and an atmospheric film about the natural history of Ardnamurchan. The building itself is home to some local animals that have fortuitously decided to move in, including long eared bats, field voles, and swallows, there have also been families of pine martens intermittently over the years. Grab a torch to search for deer in the woodland, crawl into the depths of the wild cat’s den, and spot fish in the glass sided lochan. There is also a well-stocked gift shop and a great tearoom serving lunches, coffees and home baking.
For the archaeologist
On the north coast at Ockle, there has been a recently discovered Viking boat burial site, the first of its kind to be found on the British mainland. It has been described as ‘one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain’ and included remains of a Viking chieftain, lying in his longboat surrounded by his sword, knife, spear and drinking horn, with his cloak held with a pin from Ireland and his shield lying across his chest.