Lochailort and Loch nan Uamh
On the Road to the Isles you should never feel far from water. Having travelled along the shores of the beautiful Loch Eil, and been awed by the mountains towering down the reaches of Loch Shiel, you will come to Loch Ailort which cuts its way in from the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
The loch is one of the many sea-lochs that stretch in from the Hebrides - clean and sheltered waters where Scottish fish farming was pioneered. From here, the side road leads west and south to the tiny but lively village of Glenuig.
The road north offers tantalising glimpses of distant scenery and at Polnish it passes the old white church which was used in the film 'Local Hero'. This is the halfway point on the Road to the Isles.
The church was built with a donation from the Cameron-Heads on the condition that the church could been seen from their home, Inverailort Castle, an imposing building at Lochailort.
Parts of the Road to the Isles became 'no-go' areas during the Second World War and became associated with the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Inverailort Castle was the first training base for what became the famous Commando Units. Many local buildings such as Arisaig House, Morar Lodge, Garramore House, Traigh House and Camusdarach Lodge housed the men and women who trained to serve in the Special Operations Executive.
As you approach the viaduct at Loch nan Uamh, you will be rewarded with your first exciting views of the Hebrides. On 25 July 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart landed on these shores from the French sailing ship the Du Teillay. This was the Prince's first time on the Scottish mainland, and on 19 August he was rowed up Loch Shiel to join Lochiel and his Jacobite clansmen when he unfurled his standard at Glenfinnan. After his defeat at Culloden, he returned to this place and left for France - a cairn now marks the spot.
The scenery changes dramatically. The western coast of Scotland is touched by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and in the sheltered gardens of Beasdale and Arisaig House exotic plants grow. There are some lovely local walks you can take in this area.