Lochalsh, Scotland - Virtual Tour

Kyle 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.

Skye BridgeIn 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. sunset over Skye
The natural base for exploring the Lochalsh area, Kyle offers a range of accommodation from bed & breakfasts to high quality hotels.

The 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 arrangement.

Plockton, Loch CarronOther 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 accommodation available.

Eilean Donan CastleNone 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.

The 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 Broch, Glenelggateway 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.

Two of the best preserved brochs on the Scottish mainland are to be found here and are well worth seeking out.

To 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, Glenelg hills loaded with 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.

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