West Lochaber: Uninhabited wilderness at the end of the world

West Lochaber

Uninhabited wilderness: In the west of Lochaber

Uninhabited wilderness: In the west of Lochaber

Uninhabited wilderness at the end of the world

The peninsula south of the road from Fort William to Mallaig is separated from the rest of Scotland by Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull. Two more miles of holes divide the land mass into more peninsulas, making the area difficult to access. The population is correspondingly thin. On the Morvern peninsula, which covers 650 square kilometres, live less than 320 people! There are hardly any sights here, but endless grasslands, sometimes dry, sometimes humid, occasionally a few afforested woods, wide views, deep clouds; but above all silence and loneliness, as they can only be found at the edges of Europe. Water is never far away. There are also only a few hiking trails. But you can walk cross-country to your heart's content.

Attractions West Lochaber


Picturesque village on Scotland's west coast

Today – because of its picturesque location – Arisaig lives mainly off tourism. The village is easy to reach for tourists travelling through Scotland: by car via the panoramic ‘Road to the Isles’ and by West Highland Line trains from Fort William. Arisaig station is the westernmost station in Great Britain. From the small harbor of the village there are ferries to the offshore islands of Eigg, Muck and Rùm. However, ferry traffic plays only a minor role, as all larger ferries call at the port of nearby Mallaig.


Hike through an ancient forest

The dense oak forest belongs to the Sunart Oakwood and is one of the last remains of the temperate rainforest that once covered the Atlantic coast from Norway to Portugal. In addition to sessile oaks there are holly, hazel, birch, rowan, ash and elm. A four kilometre long path leads into the wilderness along the rushing Strontian River.

Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide

View of Loch Sunart and its wildlife

The hide is just a stone's throw from the car park and has magnificent views across Loch Sunart and its wildlife. On the shores of Garbh Eilean (the “Rough Island”) common seals can be seen often, and on the smaller island next to it there is a heronry. Binoculars and telescope are permanently installed. On Mondays from Easter to October, you will meet rangers in the hide who draw visitors' attention to details that are otherwise easily overlooked.

Glenfinnan Monument

Memorial to the Scottish uprising against England

At Glenfinnan in 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart entered the Scottish mainland to take action against the English Crown. When he thought he had enough support from the clans, he hoisted the Scottish flag – exactly where the monument stands today. Nine months later, the rebellion ended in defeat. Scotland lost its independence and was incorporated into an English dominated Britain. The clans were disarmed and large parts of Gaelic culture were lost. The monument dates from the early 19th century. On the tower stands the larger-than-life statue of a highlander in a kilt.

Included in:
Scottish Heritage Pass

Land, Sea and Islands Centre

Of the expulsion of Highland residents

Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland has only a few inhabitants today, but an important history. In 1746 Arisaig was even in the focus of national history when Bonnie Prince Charlie fled from here to France after the failed uprising of the Jacobites against English domination. In the 19th century, however, depopulation began. During the Highland Clearances, residents were ruthlessly forced to emigrate to make way for sheep farming. Most of them emigrated to Nova Scotia in Canada, where a place of the same name still exists today. This story is documented in the Land, Sea and Islands Centre.

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