Scotland - Virtual Tour
of Lochalsh, Plockton, Glenelg and Kintail
We begin our tour on the main road to Skye
which winds its way down Glen Shiel and carries us through an area
of mainland Scotland known as Lochalsh.
In days gone by we would have stopped in the village of Kyle of
Lochalsh and waited for the ferry to take us over the sea to
Kyleakin but we can now make the crossing high above the water on
the new Skye Bridge.
But before we go over the bridge we can take the time to explore the
rugged splendour of Lochalsh.
The village of Kyle of Lochalsh provides a
commercial focus for the area with a good selection of shops,
services, and a Tourist Information Centre. The busy harbour area is
a focus for the fishermen of the area and a good place to sample
some of their produce at The Seafood Restaurant which can be found
at the railway station on the pier.
The natural base for exploring the Lochalsh area, Kyle offers a
range of accommodation from bed & breakfasts to high quality hotels.
other main village in the area is Plockton which is famous for its harbour, its castle, and as being the
home of television's 'Hamish MacBeth'. Here we can hire a variety of
watercraft from Leisure Marine who also offer boat trips to see the
seals which bask on the rocks at the mouth of the bay, as do Sea
Trek who will also take you sea-angling, diving, or creel fishing by
places worth a visit in the Plockton area are the Craig Highland
Farm where we can see some rare breeds of farm animals at close
quarters, and the West Highland Dairy where we can buy delicious
cheeses, yoghurts and ice-creams made on the premises. Finding
somewhere to stay or to have a good meal is not difficult. There is
a good selection of pubs and restaurants and a wide range of
of the other villages around the Lochalsh coast are as famous as
Plockton but all have their own character and charm. Durinish;
Erbusaig, where you will find the Tingle Creek Hotel; Balmacara; Dornie: place-names which speak of the Norseman
and the Gael whose descendants live out their lives here between the
hills and the sea.
road between Glen Shiel and Kyle is well-provided with craft shops,
hotels, and other places worth a visit. The Lochalsh Woodland
Gardens at Balmacara give us the opportunity for a gentle walk
through a surprising variety of trees and shrubs while the imposing
castle at Eilean Donan invites us back into a time when life on the
shores of Loch Duich was not as peaceful as it is today.
Where the mountains of Kintail rise out of the
waters of Loch Duich, guarding the
to the central highlands of Scotland, we turn off the main road at
Shiel Bridge and, after some refreshment at the
Kintail Lodge Hotel or Grants Restaurant With Rooms, climb over the tortuous pass of Mam Ratagan before
descending into the village of Glenelg. Just a few miles from the
main route onto Skye, Glenelg is a very special corner of Scotland
which is overlooked by the majority of tourists. Here we can explore
the wooded glens and the spectacular shoreline free from the
pressures of the outside world.
of the best preserved brochs on the Scottish mainland are to be
found here and are well worth seeking out.
the west of the village of Glenelg we drive past the ruins of the
18th century Bernera Barracks and arrive at the ferry to Kylerhea.
This is the shortest crossing over to Skye and is easily the
most dramatic. The little boat,
its cargo of six cars, ploughs across the fast-flowing tide in the
shadow of the hills which plunge straight down into the narrow
channel. Since the advent of the Skye Bridge this ferry has become
very popular with visitors who are keen to cross over the sea to
Skye by traditional means.