Ceol na Mara, tucked away on the west coast of Scotland just above Gairloch, is the ideal place to stay if you’re wanting to get out and about—whether actively or not—there’s plenty to do.
Here are a few things to get you started:
Walking in Beinn Eighe
Britain’s first National Nature Reserve.
A sub-tropical garden further north than Moscow! Garden open all year; visitor centre and cafés open April to October plus weekends. www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Inverewe/
Go out on the rib from Gairloch to spot minke whales, dolphins and basking sharks—or take the glass-bottomed boat and look downwards instead.
Bealach na Bà
The Pass of the Cattle—the old road to Applecross. The third highest road in Scotland, with the greatest ascent of any road climb in Scotland. Not for the faint-hearted, and generally not to be undertaken in winter. Featured in Channel 5’s Winter Road Rescue…
Take the train
Drive to Achnasheen (about 40 miles, free parking) and take the train to Kyle of Lochalsh. The journey takes about an hour and 15 minutes and is ridiculously scenic. On the way you pass Plockton—which played the role of the harbour-front in The Wicker Man—and you could even drop in to Attadale Gardens if you get the right combination of trains. Once in Kyle, walk across the bridge to Skye and have lunch in Kyleakin—or, if you’re in a hurry, just go for fish and chips round the corner from the station and get the next train back. There are four trains each way daily (fewer on Sundays); check train times at www.scotrail.co.uk.