The beautiful village of Lochcarron (Lochcarrann in the native Gaelic) takes its name from the sea loch itself which is long and fjord like. Whitewashed houses stretch along its shores for approx. 2 miles with a scattering of smaller outlying settlements.
The village is the largest in the locality and boasts a number of amenities including two award winning grocery stores, both with petrol pumps; PO; friendly hotel; popular café and bistro; medical centre; library: information & heritage centre and a village hall. On the sporting front the village has its own shinty club, 9 hole golf course and sailing club as well as children’s adventure playgrounds.
Situated on part of the North 500 tourist route, Lochcarron is an ideal base for hillwalking, sailing, fishing, cycling, wildlife, culture & heritage. The smaller townships of Strome & Ardaneaskan are a few miles towards the mouth the loch and make for a lovely cycle or short drive. Stop off at Lochcarron Weavers in Mid Strome, walk up to the deserted village of Stromemeannach on the hillside above, admire the views further along from the ruins of Strome Castle or take in a spectacular sunset from the bench at the end of the road at Ardaneaskan with Plockton and the Skye’s Cuillin mountains in the distance.
Five miles away at the head of the loch you’ll find Strathcarron with its hotel and train station, one of the stops on the famously scenic Kyle Line and a short distance further on brings you to Carron Pottery and Restaurant and Attadale Gardens.
The road north of Lochcarron passes through the small village of Kishorn (6 miles) with views of the Cuillin mountain range on Skye and the imposing Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), the highest road ascent in Britain. Continue directly on to Shieldaig (8 miles) or follow the Wester Ross coastal trail over the famous Pass and round the Applecross peninsula with its stunning beach at Sand and scattering of crofting townships (37 miles). Beyond picturesque Shieldaig the landscape gives way to the majestic Munro mountains of Torridon, a haven for hillwalkers and climbers (8 miles). The direct route back to Lochcarron is 22 miles.
Further north of Torridon, but still accessible as a day trip, are Inverewe Botanical Garden, Gairloch with its sandy beach and Ullapool, a bustling village and ferry port for the Western Isles.
There is the choice of travelling south of Lochcarron by road or rail. Strathcarron station (5 miles away) is one of the stops on the world famous Kyle Train Line. The pretty little village of Plockton with its distinctive palm trees is situated at the mouth of Loch Carron (14 miles). Take the back road to Kyle (6miles )through the quaint crofting township of Duirinish or via Balmacara Square with its woodland walk, café and home interiors shop then across the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Its attractions include Talisker Distillery and Dungevan Castle. The Kylerhea/Glenelg ferry is an alternative and memorable short crossing back onto the mainland where you can stop off at the ancient Glenelg brochs, see the Kintail mountains and the renowned Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie. The 22 mile journey back to Lochcarron offers stunning views from the south side of the loch.
The area is a hillwalker’s paradise with routes to suit all levels of ability from woodland and coastal walks to serious climbing. Lochcarron is central to the Achnashellach, Torridon and Kintail mountains offering a wealth of Munros and Corbetts.
Lochcarron has its own established sailing club which welcomes visitors and families. There is a slipway in front of Lochcarron Hotel and Slumbay Island beside Runrig cottage is also a safe harbour for a number of local boats. For more information visit www.lochcarronsailing.com
Loch Carron and neighbouring lochs are also suitable for kayaking.
Boat trips run from Plockton and Shieldaig.
Lochcarron’s nine hole golf course with clubhouse and tea room are in a spectacular setting beside the loch at the entrance to the village. Further afield there are courses at Gairloch and Strathpeffer.
There are lovely roads to cycle safely in the area. For serious cyclists there are the annual Bealach Beag (44 miles) and Bealach Mor (90 miles) challenges, which incorporate Britain’s highest road climb. Mountain biking is also very popular.
There are numerous hill lochs in the area and Loch Carron has a number of great spots for sea fishing.
There are a number of great places to eat out in Lochcarron and surrounding area including award winning establishments. The area is a haven for artists and craft makers whose work can be seen in a number of arts, crafts & heritage outlets. Check out www.artsandeatstrail.com for further info. There are also regular produce/market days in the area.
Groceries can be pre-ordered from the well stocked award winning SPAR Lochcarron Food Centre.
Runrig features the owner’s artwork which can also be seen in several local galleries and online at www.sheilamaclean.co.uk.
Runrig is a great place for kids to have fun – playing in the extensive rear garden, cycling along the road, pottering about on the shore and exploring the mysterious Slumbay Island at the end of the road. (It’s only a real island at very high tide.) There’s also a good selection of games, books and dvds in the house. The shinty pitch and adventure playground in the middle of the village are popular attractions and the local sailing club is family friendly and welcomes visitors.
Runrig Cottage, Dail a’ chladaich, Lochcarron, Ross-shire, IV54 8YQ
Lochcarron is on the A896 on the North West Highland coast and approx. 63 miles west of Inverness, Capital of the Highlands.
There are two options travelling up from the south:
North of Glasgow follow the M8 – A82 – A87 – A890 – A896
This route passes Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Fort William, Glengarry, Kintail and approaches Lochcarron from the south side of the loch.
North of Edinburgh follow the M90 – A9 – A835 – A832 – A890 – A896
The A9 from Perth to Inverness forms the main section of this route and is dual carriageway in several sections. It passes by Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Aviemore. From Inverness the journey strikes out west on relatively quiet double track to Garve then Achnasheen and on to Lochcarron.
Lochcarron is served by Strathcarron station, 5 miles away at the head of the loch. It is one of the stops on the famous Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh line, widely regarded as one of the most scenic in the world.
Trains run 4 times daily (Mon-Sat), twice on Sunday during the summer, once only on Sunday in winter. See www.scotrail.co.uk for further details. A number of trains from across the UK connect with Inverness including the overnight Caledonian Sleeper from London. It arrives early morning in Inverness in time to connect to Strathcarron. See www.sleeper.scot for more details. A local minibus service runs between Strathcarron Station and Lochcarron for 3 of the daily trains (not the evening one). For further information on this service and others in the locality contact the service operator DMK Motors (tel: 01520 722 682). Booking may be required on some journeys.
The nearest airport to Lochcarron is 70 miles away at Inverness Dalcross (7 miles east of Inverness). It handles UK and International flights and has car hire provision. It is approx. a 1.5 hrs drive to Lochcarron.