We had seen the photographs of the beautiful white sandy beaches, the Caribbean-like blue waters and heard about the friendly hospitality of the small rural village - Arisaig. It was time to take a road trip! We haven't travelled out of the central belt in Scotland for several months and we're eager to see the outstanding beauty of the Scottish highlands again. Here's what you need to know about Arisaig, surrounding areas and more.
Visiting Arisaig, Scotland
We drove up from just outside Edinburgh and stayed the night at Glencoe. It was nice to have the flexibility of having the car and also breaking up the long journey. There are also lovely walks including those at Signal Rock. Glencoe is a place of outstanding beauty but also tales of heroism, violence and deceit. You might also like to visit Glencoe Village, the traditional thatched MacDonald cottage and waterfalls. It's also famous for being one of the filming locations in James Bond's 'Skyfall' movie.
Stopping At Glenfinnan View Point
Early the next day we set off for Glenfinnan. Famous for Scotland's longest viaduct and crossing on the West Highland Line, as well as part of the journey for the Jacobite Steam Train, also known as Hogwarts Express (popular with all and especially Harry Potter fans). The Jacobite Steam Train travels from Fort William to Mallaig and then returns to Fort William. Look out for special events such as afternoon teas. Yum! There is a daily car parking fee or free for National Trust of Scotland members at the Glenfinnan Visitors Site. It's a short uphill climb to the viewing point. Sturdy trainers/walking boots are essential, as some of the stairs are a little slippery when wet. We were lucky the torrential rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds, just before the Jacobite was due. It can get a little busy with tour groups but only a small group on this day. Then it was back to the car for the journey up to Mallaig.
We have travelled onboard the Jacobite Steam Train and visited Mallaig, but never explored much of the area. I'm still surprised that I have missed visiting this beautiful part of the country until now.
If you haven't travelled on the Jacobite Steam Train as yet, I would highly recommend it! Please do book in advance to avoid disappointment. You can find out more at Must See Sights For Harry Potter Fans.
We had time to kill before checking in so went straight past Arisaig to Mallaig.
You can't get lost going in or leaving Mallaig. It's one road in and the same out. The town has a few must-see and do's including the Old Bakehouse. Wow, the freshly baked goods are delicious. If you can, plan to stay over a weekend when the Crannog is open for freshly stone-baked pizzas.
Things To See and Do
Right by the railway station is the Mallaig Heritage Centre with an in-depth display of photographs and exhibits detailing local history. There is also a small gift shop with local souvenirs, maps and produce. It costs £2.50 per person (annual ticket).
While in Mallaig you might also like to take one or more of the boat trips. These include a ferry trip to Knoydart - home to the remotest pub in Britain, wildlife cruise, Rib adventure or boat trips to the smaller isles of Eigg, Rum, Muck or Canna. Check out Western Isles Cruises and Arisaig Marine for trips to the small isles, as well as Caledonian McBrayne (Calmac).
The area famous for its white sandy beaches was a must to be explored! We took a day in between showers exploring the best beaches the area had to offer. Here are a few you might like to visit too.
There are various accommodation options available in Arisaig, Mallaig and smaller village locations nearby including historical buildings, hotels with live Scottish music and more. We opted to stay in a glamping hut right on the beach at Silversands Campsite. Wow, is it beautiful! The reviews and photographs were everything that it was said to be. Though I must admit, it was a lot chiller than I had anticipated but that is good old Scottish weather for you (wink). Ideal for two, with a little storage space, hooks for jackets, a boot tray, water flask, cups and a cool box. There were also private toilets, £1 operated shower facilities and a small utility area with a tumble dryer, washing machine, microwave and kettle. It really is a hidden gem and I can't wait to return.
If you're looking for a wee getaway from everything, this is the ideal place. We visited at the end of the summer season (end of September). No crowds, peaceful and the roads empty. Paradise!
Have you visited Arisaig, Mallaig or stayed in Morar? I would love to know what your highlights were. You can get in touch in the normal ways, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or drop me an email at enquiries@MDHardingTravelPhotography.com
Until next time. Take care, Michelle x