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Walks around Gairloch

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Walks around Gairloch

Gairloch on the north-west coast of Scotland is an ideal holiday and walking centre. It has camping and caravan sites together with the usual bed and breakfast establishments. It is a very spread out village with numerous hamlets to its west and south.

The easiest walking is along the sandy coves like the one at Big Sand to the west of Gairloch.

Further north on the road that runs through Big Sand is the hamlet of Melvaig. Here you can walk north on a coastal track to the lighthouse at Rubha Reidh. The distance of five kilometres is well worth the effort as en-route, and from the lighthouse area, fantastic views are had over the sea to the Island of Skye and to the Islands that make up the Outer Hebrides. If the weather is fine make this a day walk by taking your time and enjoying the scenery and walk.

South of Gairloch a secondary road leads through various hamlets and ends at a viewpoint called Redpoint. From Redpoint it is possible to walk on a coastal path to Lower Diabeg passing the remote Youth Hostel at Craig. This hostel is only open during the summer months and you need to be self sufficient to reside there. I would suggest that if you intend staying overnight at the Hostel you book in advance to ensure your bed space.

Lower Diabeg is connected by a public road from the village of Torridon so you could arrange to be collected from here. However I am advised that in the storms of January 2005 a bridge was washed away and at the time of writing (two months later) this road from Torridon village to Lower Diabeg is still closed. However you could walk from Redpoint to Craig, stay overnight and return to Redpoint.

For those interested in a remote walk the track from the hotel near the hamlet of Shieldaig leads for about eleven kilometres to Loch a’Bhealach. The walk can be curtailed at any point but there is no habitation in this remote area and I would suggest that you should have some basic knowledge of map and compass work before you venture into this wild part of the country.

If you are looking for some mountains to climb why not try Beinn an Eoin and Baosbheinn in the Flowerdale Forest. A track leaves the main road near Loch Bad an Sgalaig and goes for about six kilometres to Loch na h-Oidhche. These mountains are on either side of this loch but there are no paths to the summit so you need to use your navigation skills to reach the tops.

There is a bothy on the south side of Loch Bad an Sgalaig which you can hire from the Estate either for walking, or fishing in the numerous lochans.

The areas surrounding the hamlets of Gairloch are sheep country and care should be exercised if taking your dog on any of these walks. My advice would be to keep your dog on a lead as sheep are easily startled and if in lamb can abort them.

Away from the coastal stretches the area is very wild and remote. If you cannot read a map and use a compass don’t venture into this area without a guide. Caledonia Hilltreks offer their business services in this respect.

Deer stalking takes place in Scotland between 1 July and 21 February. However the main stalking times are August through to October when the stag shooting season is normally in full swing. There is no stalking on a Sunday. Check with the local Estates where they are shooting before venturing into the hills. They normally appreciate the contact and will sometimes be able to offer an alternative route.

New access legislation came into force in February 2005. Estates are required to allow reasonable access and walkers, hikers etc should behave reasonably. To obtain details of this new legislation check out the web site

Lindsay Boyd operates a Scottish hill walking and small group tour guide business. You can find out more about this service on his website "Caledonia Hilltrecks" along with more information on the mountains and walks in Scotland and in the Wester Ross area including Fisherfield and An Teallach, the Fannaichs and Ullapool Hills. You can also keep up-to-date with his hill walking and trekking in Scotland on his "blog".  

We have included a few more of Lindsay's photos below, there are a lot more on his website.

If you are passionate about Scotland and feel you would like to tell the world about it, then please contact us and see if we are able to publish it for free - you are welcome to promote your Scottish tourism business in the article as long as people will enjoy and learn from it.



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