Take a drive up to the head of the valley and then head down through Glen Etive. The road follows the course od the River Etive as it meanders down the valley. En-route there are some spectacular pools and waterfalls, a photographer and wild swimmers dream!
It’s unsurprising that James Bond – Skyfall was filmed here, with the impressive mountains, waterfalls, lochs, glens and wildlife it’s a spectacular and memorable spot.
Mallaig coastal route
The road up to Mallaig via Fort William is a fantastic day out. It includes historic monuments, beautiful landscapes and great beach walks all along the route, including Arisaig (Camasdarach Beach). Finish off in Mallaig where you can grab a bite to eat and a coffee in this quaint fishing port and ferry route out to the islands.
Jacobite steam train
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Western Highlands aboard this World-famous steam train complete with vintage carriages. The train stops enroute to Mallaig at Glenfinnan, from there you will pass through the beautiful villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. This is the Hogwarts Express if you’re a big fan you can follow in Harry’s footsteps and travel to Mallaig, the railway line used in the film. Booking in advance is highly recommended and you can find out more here.
Glenfinnan is another great day trip to take from Strath Lodge where you can see the following:
- The Glenfinnan monument to the clansman who followed Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1745 Jacobite Rising. For a few pounds you can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, which rewards you with a stunning view across Loch Shiel.
- Glenfinnan Viaduct is not to be missed (famously seen in the Harry Potter movies) and if you time it right you can see the Jacobite steam train cross over the viaduct.
- Just up the hill in Glenfinnan village there is a small but stunning Gothic style church which is well worth the visit.
- Boat trips onto Loch Shiel are also available from here, which we recommend booking in advance.
- To refuel during your visit, there are two cafes, one at the visitors centre and another at the station in the village.
Take the road towards Fort William, 4 miles after the Ballachulish bridge, take the Corran ferry over to Loch Linhe (about £8 per car). From the other side of the water you can explore the Ardnamurchan peninsula – one of Scotlnds national treasures. Head to Sanna Bay and with the right weather, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the Carribbean. Stop at Glenmore on the way and visit the Nadurra Visitor Centre which provides an introduction to the breath-taking variety of flora and fauna to be found in this beautiful corner of Scotland.
Fancy your chances of spotting the monster? Take the A82 north up past Fort William and head towards Inverness. Stop off at Fort Augustus at the Southerly end of the loch and see the lock system on the Caledonian Canal. Head up the Lochside towards Drumnadrochit to check out the magical Urquhart castle. And remember to have the video camera at the ready, you never know when Nessie will pop up and say hi!
Mull and Iona
From Oban or Lochaline you can catch the early morning ferry over to Mull. Visit the iconic Tobermory awash with colourful painted harbour-side houses, before driving around the circular road to some fantastic beaches. Here you can spot wildlife like Golden and Sea eagles, Otters and more. You can climb Ben More, the only Munro that can only be accessed by ferry. If you fancy hopping on another ferry, then a quick hop over to Iona will reward you to more fantastic beaches and the historic Iona Abbey.
Around Loch Sunart lie some of the finest temperate oakwoods in the British Isles, remnants of a formerly much more extensive band of coastal woodland which once stretched from Scotland down the Atlantic coast of Europe as far as Spain and Portugal. These ancient semi-natural woodlands are home to some of the best collections of lower plants (plants which do not flower) in the whole of Europe. The clean air, moist climate and long continuity of woodland cover have combined to produce ideal conditions for lichens, mosses and liverworts. Loch Sunart is also home to a particularly high density of otters, and together with its marine reefs, and the surrounding woodland and heathland habitats, the entire area has been recognised as of European importance for conservation through designation as a candidate Special Area of Conservation.