Things to See & Do
The Ben Nevis Distillery
The Ben Nevis Distillery Visitor Centre in Fort William marks the beginning of the ‘Road to the Isles’. Discover the secrets of the whisky making process and enjoy the unique sensation of the Dew of Ben Nevis. Visit the Ben Nevis Distillery web site.
The Caledonian Canal, Fort William
The Caledonian Canal is an outstanding feature in the landscape of the Fort William area, and the Great Glen. It is a natural geological fault line stretching from Fort William to the South West and the North East. It was constructed by the famous Thomas Telford.
The Canal is open to many vessels that enter both from Loch Linnhe and the Atlantic Ocean. It makes passage through the Great Glen Canal lock systems and natural water lochs including the legendry Loch Ness, Inverness and North Sea.
So, for an interesting day out, why not take the opportunity to enjoy the canal by marvelling at the views of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain and the Grey Corries. Or perhaps, you might fancy watching ships as they navigate the loch gates at Corpach Basin, Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie and Gairlochy near Spean Bridge for a great day out in Lochaber with a difference.
Treasures of the Earth
Treasures of the Earth is in the village of Corpach, 4 miles from Fort William on the A830 “Road to the Isles” in the west Highlands of Scotland.
Treasures of the Earth, boasts Europe’s finest private collection of Crystals, Gemstones and Fossils in atmospheric caves.
The Glenfinnan Monument
The Glenfinnan Monument is situated at the head of Loch Shiel. It was erected to show where ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ raised his standard at the beginning of the Jacobite Rising in 1745. When the political climate in the Highlands was more “amicable” it was erected in 1815, you can actually walk up the Monument, and awe at the beautiful scenery in an atmospheric location - just make sure to have your rain coat and perhaps, a midge net.
Across the road from the monument is a Visitor Centre with exhibitions, gift shop, snack bar and car park - all run by the National Trust for Scotland.
This 21-arch single track viaduct was one of the largest engineering undertakings using concrete (without reinforcing it) built by Sir Robert McAlpine. Glenfinnan Viaduct was formed as part of the Mallaig Extension of the West Highland Railway which was constructed between 1897 and 1901.
According to an old local tale, a cart horse and driver fell into one of the piers while dumping his material during construction. However, recent research has shown that the accident happened at Loch Nan Uamh Viduct, further North on the Road To The Isles road (around 3 miles North of Lochailort).
It has been the location of several films and TV series including Monarch of the Glen and Charlotte Gray. Harry Potter fans will recognise the viaduct from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, subsequently Prisoner of Azkaban and The Order of The Phoenix.
Glenfinnan Station Museum is situated in the beautiful village of Glenfinnan on the Road to the Isles between Fort William and Mallaig. The Museum provides the visitor with a journey into the past of rail travel in the West Highlands whilst remaining an operational Railway Station with 4 trains each way, as well as the Jacobite Steam Train during the summer months to remind you of a previous age of romantic travel. The Gift Shop has a wide range of railway memorabilia and souvenirs. You can also enjoy a meal in the restored dining car or stay overnight in the Sleeping Car. Open May - October. Enjoy signposted woodland walks and the Viaduct Trail. Guided walks are available during the summer season.
West Highland Line
Mallaig station is the terminus for the Jacobite Steam Train which operates during the summer to/from Fort William. Recognised as one of the great railway journeys of the world, the West Highland Line passes through beautiful scenery.
The Church of St Mary and St Finnan in Glenfinnan is situated at the head of Loch Shiel. Designed by Edward Welby Pugin in the 'late Early English' style, it was formally dedicated on 19 August 1873.
Its beauty is enhanced by the use of a variety of stone - blue native granite marbled with quartz for the ashlar work, cream granite for the buttresses, and light pink Elgin freestone for the edging of the doors and windows.
Still in use today by its Catholic congregation, the church is undergoing a process of restoration for which donations are welcome in person or online.
The Land Sea and Island Centre
The Land, Sea and Islands Visitor Centre opened in 1999 on the site of a derelict smiddy in a stunning situation in the heart of Arisaig village. It is situated in the heart of Arisaig, next to the swing park. A community project, it houses an exhibition that celebrates the social and natural history of the area old and new with photographic displays and artifacts. Crofting, fishing, church history and marine life, the SOE and the films made here - 'Local Hero' being one of the most famous - are amongst the contents. The old forge has been renovated and forms a focal part of the display. WiFi access is available, along with tourist information. This centre is run on a voluntary basis. Free admission (donations welcome). Opening times Summer 1st April - 30th October 2017: Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 12 noon - 4pm. Winter 1st November - 31st March: Monday 10am - 1pm, Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday 12 noon - 4pm. Telephone 01687 450771.
Arisaig Golf Course
Traigh Golf Course is set in one of the most beautiful parts of the West Highlands of Scotland, just north of Arisaig.
The word Traigh (pronounced 'try') means 'beach' in Gaelic, and a series of sandy beaches run alongside the course, with stunning views to the Hebridean islands of Eigg and Rum, and the Cuillins of Skye.
The course is based on a line of grassy hills, with the springy turf of a true links course. It is a nine hole course, par 68, SSS 65.
Maintained to the highest standard, Traigh presents the golfer with all the traditional challenges of a classic seaside links.
The Scotsman Newspaper, “Probably the most beautifully sited nine-hole golf course in the world..."
This hidden gem offers lovely walks through the gardens of Làrach Mòr on the Arisaig Estate, just 1 km outside Arisaig village. Set in the grounds of Glen House, this 28-acre woodland garden was planted by John Augustus Holms to display a fine collection of rhododendrons, as well as exotic trees and shrubs. Free admission. Open daily during daylight hours. Click here for route details and parking.
“The West Coast’s Best Kept Secret”
Here are some facts that you might not know…have you heard of Morag the Monster or maybe you have seen her too?
- Geology - The deepest body of freshwater in the UK.
- Fishing – Great for angler fishing.
- Walks – Offers a large selection of fine walks.
- Wildlife - Red Deer, Sea Eagles, Otters…and much more!
To find out more about Scotland’s answer to paradise, visit www.lochmorar.org.uk
Mallaig and District Swimming Pool
Mallaig Pool is an excellent facility; offering a pool, luxury sauna, spa, a fully equipped gym, social room, pool table and a spacious classroom for fitness sessions. The pool also has good wheelchair access and baby changing facilities.
This Swimming Pool is open seven days a week, 361 days of the year.
Mallaig Heritage Centre
From Norse and Pictish ancient history to the Jacobite Rebellion, and from the herring boom to the Victorian railway line, visitors can explore the heritage of Mallaig and West Lochaber. Once Europe's busiest herring port, Mallaig is still a major fishing centre and transport hub with regular ferry and rail services. The Mallaig Heritage Centre features exhibitions and archives covering the whole area, as well as a shop.
Enjoy a day out on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Mallaig to Armadale (Skye) or the Small Isles (Canna, Eigg, Muck and Rum). There is a free car park near the ferry terminal, next to the community centre.
Grasp the chance to cruise with Ronnie on the MV Sheerwater from Arisaig Marine and see a mixture of wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Ronnie is a well respected boatman who demonstrates a wealth of experience in the local waters. He is the best man to tell and show you the bird and sea life in the Sound of Arisaig.
Ronnie can show you sightings of Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises, Otters, Puffins, and Shearwaters. You never know what you might see: Killer Whales and Golden Eagles have also been known to make their presence.
MV Western Isles (pictured above) offers wildlife cruises from Mallaig, as well as a regular ferry service to Inverie and Loch Nevis (Knoydart). These boat trips offer you the chance to see spectacular scenery only accessible by foot and by sea. This 64-feet traditional wooden vessel with an 81 passenger capacity has been fully refurbished to include a fully licensed bar, toilets and a fully leather seated top cabin. The Western Isles is skippered by Tony Macrae who has over 20 years' experience sailing these waters. Tel: 01687 462233 / 07939386330.
Dolphin watching from Reel One
Based in Mallaig, Minch Adventures offer half day or full day boat charters for up to 8 people onboard Reel One. Bespoke cruises (Knoydart, Small Isles, Skye), fishing trips, mountain biking, diving charters can all be arranged. These mini-adventures are designed for you to experience the magic of the West Highlands bordering the Minch. Enjoy island life, wildlife, flora & fauna, photography, dolphin and whale watching and more. Contact skipper Billy Simmonds. Mobile: 07437 670212.
AquaXplore - offers wildlife and sightseeing tours by Rigid Inflatable Boat from Skye to the islands of Soay, Eigg, Rum and Canna. Contact: 0800 731 3089 or 01471 866244.
BellaJane - Bella Jane Boat Trips offers tours from Elgol, Skye to beautiful Loch Coruisk, the seal colony and the Cuillin Mountains. Contact: 0800 731 3089 or 01471 866244.
Sea.Fari Adventures operate boat trips and whale watching cruises onboard a 36-seater catamaran. Daily trips from Easter to October departing from Mallaig pontoons. There is a cruise to suit everyone from regular short trips around the nearest seal and seabird colonies to longer, custom-made adventures. Contact Peter Fowler. Tel: 01471 833316 / Mobile: 0797 3509387.
Sea Knoydart provides fast, comfortable and safe transport to and from Knoydart, the surrounding islands and almost anywhere you might want to go on the west coast of Scotland. Expeditions (with accommodation on Knoydart) can include visits to Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna, Soay, Skye, Loch Coruisk, Eilean Donan Castle, Castle Tioram, etc. See birds, seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales, basking sharks and even sunfish. Lophelia is a 12-passenger luxury RIB. Contact Mark Woombs - tel: 01687 460046. Boat charter also available.
Sea Knoydart also incorporates Knoydart Sea School which is a Royal Yachting Association recognized powerboat school.
The Knoydart Seabridge daily ferry service also allows for day trips from Mallaig to Inverie.
Ewan MacDonald organises fishing, charters and boat trips on Loch Morar. He can pick you up and drop you off at many otherwise inaccessible points - ideal for walkers. Phone 01687 462520.
For fishing on Loch Morar, phone 01687 462388 for permits and boat hire.
Loch Shiel Cruises on the classic 1940 ex-admiralty harbour launch offers you the opportunity to penetrate one of Britain's few remaining wilderness areas. There are regular sightings of Golden and White-Tailed Eagles, Black-Throated Divers, Red Deer and a variety of Rare Wildlife.
Accessible only by boat, the eighteen-mile length of Loch Shiel, once a sea-loch but reshaped by the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age, contains a wide variety of wildlife amidst stunning mountain scenery.
Loch Shiel Cruises are operated by friendly, knowledgeable local people who provide live commentary on the trip. The Sileas has a bar and also offers tea, coffee and light refreshments. Meals and snacks are available at each end of the loch at Glenfinnan and Acharacle.
The great outdoors are all yours to explore throughout the gorgeous scenery of the west coast of Scotland. Whether you are interested in hiking, cycling, fishing or wildlife spotting, there's plenty to see and do.
There are many local walks which you can take by yourself.
From Glenfinnan station and museum you can enjoy signposted woodland walks and the Viaduct Trail.
Guided walks are available with the Sound of Arisaig local Ranger Angus MacIntyre (tel: 01687 462983) from May - September. Click here for online calendar.
Based at Glenrowan Farm on the edge of Morar, Silversands Trekking Centre offers a variety of daily activities, suitable for all ages and abilities. Explore the area on horseback and ride on beaches such as Camusdarach or the Silver sands of Morar. Tel: 07789 175 136.
Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre offers sea kayaks, sit on top kayaks and Canadian canoes for hire by the day or week. Tuition, coaching and guiding available. Telephone 07858 214 985.
Arisaig Archery operates in the grounds of Arisaig Hotel. Sessions every day throughout the summer and by arrangement at other times. Suitable for children aged 8+. Telephone 07479 793 978.
Rockhopper Sea Kayaking offers trips and instruction around the Fort William and Lochaber area. Sea kayaking is available for half-day, full day and multi-day trips with fully qualified guides and instructors. Contact Stewart Hood (Tel: 07739 837 344)
Plenty of activities are on offer at the Snowgoose Mountain Centre (at Corpach, near Fort William) including canoeing, kayaking, dingy sailing, mountain biking, hill walking and snowsports, plus mountain skills courses.
Based in Moidart (Ardnamurchan), Wildwood Bushcraft offer a wide variety of bushcraft, navigation and survival skills courses, some of which can involve canoeing or sea kayaking, in various parts of Scotland including including Loch Shiel, Glen Nevis and Moidart. Established in 2005, Wildwood Bushcraft provides inspiring courses that combine survival skills, ecology, wildlife study and adventure. Their aim is to teach responsible, sustainable use of the natural environment, based on a firm ecological understanding.
The Wild Lochaber festival is held annually in May with a full programe of events including boat trips, wildlife safaris, forest walks and much more.
Cycle hire is available from West Coast Cycles (Mobile 07769901823). The bikes can be collected at the Arisaig Hotel or the Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre.
SkyeWalk.co.uk is a useful web site outlining walks you can take throughout the Isle of Skye.
WestWheels is a car club for the Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Knoydart and Small Isles area. The aim is to give people the convenience and flexibility of having access to a car whenever they need one without the expense of owning a car.