Things to Do
Quinag (808m) boasts three summits with Corbett status and is easily reached from the road a couple of miles south of Kylesku.
If all three peaks are too much, just choose one. The ascent of the first peak (with a return the same way) is a short and fairly straightforward hill walk for seasoned walkers and rewarding for the not so seasoned, with fantastic views once you reach the top.
Glas Bhienn (776m) is on the opposite side of the A894 to Quinag. The route to the top is a steep climb up peaty steps. You are rewarded at the top with great views of Quinag and Loch Assynt. If you’re lucky you’ll meet the gentleman who’s on a mission to climb this mountain 100 times before he retires!
Stac Pollaidh (612m) has a distinctive spiky-topped ridge. Reaching the true summit of Stac Pollaidh involves a tricky scramble but you don’t have to get there to get panoramic views over Assynt to the north and the Summer Isles and Achiltibuie to the south and west.
This remote bay can only be reached on foot along a 4 mile, well-trodden path, accessed from the car park at Blairmore. The path is well maintained and fairly flat until it drops down into the bay itself. The bay is backed by huge sand dunes and Sandwood Loch - a freshwater loch full of brown trout.
It is well worth the walk to what is often referred to as the most beautiful, unspoilt beach in Britain, and despite its popularity, Sandwood Bay never seems busy as the beach is big enough to absorb the visitors.
The beach has nearly 1.5 miles of wide pink sand flanked by cliffs and looks out to the North Atlantic.
To the south stands the impressive sea stack of Am Buachaille.
Oldshoremore is also part of the Sandwood Estate, a nature reserve owned by the John Muir Trust.
Unlike Sandwood bay, the beach is just a short walk from the car park at Oldshoremore where there are toilet facilities, a post box, and a cemetery.
Oldshoremore Beach is a stunning, narrow beach with clean white sand. A rocky peninsula of land separates this beach from its neighbour, Polin Beach. Exploring the rocks on this beach is one of our favourite things to do (with one eye on the tide).
Old Man of Stoer and Lighthouse
Visit the Old Man of Stoer, a spectacular sea-stack. The stack is just under a 2 mile walk from the lighthouse car park. We’ve recently read that this is the best walk in Assynt for whale and dolphin spotting so keep your eye out from the coastal path.
Traligill Caves, Inchnadamph
This walk up the Traligill Glen visits the impressive entrances of the largest cave system in Scotland. The caves are dangerous to enter but you can get a good view of the water rushing through from the safety of the outside. The views here of the surrounding mountains are excellent.
Bone Caves, Inchnadamph
This is a popular walk in a limestone valley to the bone caves. These cave openings are part way up a steep side of the valley are where the remains have been found of species such as lynx, reindeer and polar bear which once roamed here. The lynx and polar skulls are now on permanent display at the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
There are three main cave entrances, named badger, reindeer and bone cave as you travel from west to east. Although they do not go in very far it is worth taking a torch with you to get maximum value from your visit.
With its cliffs, rocks and sand dunes, Sango Bay Sango Bay is another of our favourites for exploring and on windy days is a great place to watch the sea crashing into the rocks. It is easily accessible (and viewed) from several car parks, one of which is next to a visitor centre with good local information. For the more adventurous we are told this beach offers good surfing.
A short distance to the east of Sango bay is the famous Smoo Cave. It’s the largest cave in Scotland, and was formed by both the sea and a river.
Handa Island can be reached by the ferry service by Tarbet Beach, three miles northwest off the A894, about three miles north of Scourie. It is home to one of the largest seabird colonies in N.W. Europe and is maintained as a nature reserve and bird sanctuary by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Ferries sail Monday to Saturday, between 9am and 2pm, depending on demand, from April through September. The last return is 5pm. The short crossing costs £12.50 for adults, £5 for children, and under 5's for free.
Tel 07780 967800.
Probably the most geographically remote chocolate producer in Europe is at Balnakiel, Durness. Treat yourself to a tea or coffee with fresh, handmade chocolates and truffles, which are made using the highest quality chocolate, premium ingredients, and natural flavourings. They avoid the use of artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives, so they must be good for you.
This series of waterfalls lies just off the A835 where it meets the A832 south of Ullapool and is well worth a visit on your way up or down. You can view the Falls of Measach from the 25m-long suspension bridge, which sways slightly in a breeze! A cantilevered viewing platform which is reached by a short walk is equally breathtaking.
If you don't mind travelling farther afield you will find these NTS gardens on the shores of Loch Ewe. The gardens are widely regarded as one of the most beautiful gardens in Scotland. Exotic plants from around the world flourish thanks to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream and the foresights of its creator, Osgood MacKenzie, who planted over 100 acres of woodland to shelter the garden. Great to visit any time of year. The visitor centre is open April to October, after that you can still access the garden for a donation.