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DINING OUT

Poolewe

Osgood’s Restaurant and Bothy Café at Inverewe Garden

Just a five minute walk around the bay to the NTS Garden of Inverewe. Daytime meals available at the main restaurant and light snack inside the garden at the bothy.

Bridge Cottage Coffee Shop

Two minute walk across the bridge this delightful café is open daily for light snacks and homemade cakes with a Spanish twist until 4pm.

Poolewe Hotel

A five minute walk away, this traditional hotel has a bistro and bar area. Lunch and evening meals available.


Aultbea & Mellon Charles

Aroma Cafe

This café has spectacular views across Loch Ewe towards the Torridon mountains. They serve delicious lunches, home baked cakes. You can also take a stroll around the headland from here. Open daily apart from Monday.

Oran Na Mara Café

Café with outstanding views high on the hill above Aultbea. Open for light snacks during the day.


Gairloch and surrounding area

The Sheiling Restaurant

Donald welcomes you to his bar and restaurant in the centre of the village. There is a very comfortable lounge area with leather sofas and a small, well-stocked bar. The restaurant serves good home-cooked food including local produce. Both the lounge and restaurant have panoramic views across Loch Gairloch out to the Isle of Skye. Picnic tables are available for the summer months. He is open six days a week (closed Sundays) serving morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and of course you can always drop in for a drink. There is also free Wi-Fi Very popular restaurant so advisable to pre-book. Tel: 01445 712888

Myrtle Bank Hotel

Situated on the sea shore, this modern hotel has panoramic views over the bay. A lovely conservatory is the ideal spot to enjoy a drink. The restaurant serves locally sourced food and make sure to leave some room for one of their lovely homemade puddings! Very popular restaurant so advisable to pre-book. Tel 01445 712004

The Old Inn

By the harbour a great place to stop for a pint of real ale, nice views and live music most weekends in the summer. Separate restaurant and bar area for food. Very popular Inn so advisable to pre book. Tel 01445 712006

The Barn Café

Big Sand Camp Site

Located in the grounds of the camp site and overlooking Big Sand beach,(a ten minute drive from Gairloch village). The Barn Café is open daily throughout the season (late March to late October). Bookings are recommended for evening meals. The Barn Café • 01445 712688

Links Café & Bar at the Gairloch Golf Club

Overlooking the beach and golf course this lovely café serves lunches and evening meals as well as take always. Varied menu of hot dishes and cakes. Tel 01445 712407 to book.

Coast Coffee Company

Located at the harbour this is a lovely place to stop for a light snack or coffee and cake. Normally open midweek 10am until 5pm during the season.

The Gale Centre

Community run Café and Tourist Information Centre open daily all year round until 5pm serving light bites and cakes. Wood burning stove for the cooler months and local arts, crafts and gifts for sale.

Crumbs

Takeaway in the village (opposite Kenny Morison Butcher’s shop) with lovely cakes, bakes, breakfast rolls and soup not forgetting cream cake Friday! Now with the option to eat in in the adjacent Cornerstone. Highly recommended and open until late afternoon.

The Gairloch Hotel

Located in the middle of the village this hotel serves lunches and dinners. During the height of the season meals are served all day. Tel 01445 71001

The Steading Bistro

Located at the foot of the hill by the community centre this lovely café is open for breakfast & lunch and serves fabulous cakes!

Beachcomber Fish and Chip Shop

Fab fish and chip shop in the village square normally open evenings in the summer and Friday and Saturday nights out of season. Seating area inside the shop and varied menu which is cooked to order.

Shieldaig Lodge

Victorian shooting lodge on the road to Badachro, overlooking Loch Gairloch. Restaurant open daily 6.30- 8.30pm Reservations essential. Tel 01445 741333

The Badachro Inn

You can find Badachro Inn on the south side of Loch Gairloch, in the shelter of Badachro Bay, one of the finest anchorages in the West of Scotland. A stone’s throw from the jetty, Badachro Inn looks over to Isle Horrisdale. Great spot to stop for a drink, chat or a bite to eat. Small conservatory and beer garden to take in the fabulous view. Tel 01445 741255.


LOCAL SHOPS

Local shops and businesses very much appreciate your support. You can buy everything you need locally. Please be aware that outside the summer season some places reduce their opening hours and most shops are closed on a Sunday. There are no supermarkets in the area!

Food and General Supplies

The nearest shop (Poolewe Village Store- open Monday – Saturday 9am – 6pm) is a two minute walk over the bridge. This shop & post office stocks a wide variety of goods including basic pharmacy items, bakery, frozen and fresh foods, small gifts, post cards, OS maps, local books, newspapers/magazines, and is also licensed.

Gairloch Pharmacy

Open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday 9am – 1pm

Kenneth Morrison Butcher and Grocer - Gairloch

Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm

Cornerstone Newsagents - Gairloch

Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm

The Shop at the Pier General store - Gairloch

Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm

Strath Stores Gairloch

Open Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm

RS McColl Gairloch

Open Monday – Saturday 7am – 9pm -4pm

Aultbea Stores

Open Monday – Friday 8.30am – 6pm; Saturday 9am - 5.30pm

Laide Post Office Stores

Open Mon – Sat 9am – 5.30pm


ACTIVITIES

Gairloch Golf Course - IV21 2BE6. 9 miles

Gairloch Golf Club occupies a fabulous location above a beautiful long sandy beach with the Minch and the islands of Skye, Harris and Lewis to the west, the mountains of Torridon to the south, and the wilderness of Letterewe to the east. To the north lies Ullapool, the gateway to the Western Isles. The 9-hole course set amongst rolling dunes provides an excellent challenge to golfers of all abilities – with a testing par for low handicappers but a forgiving nature for the more casual player. The club which was established in 1898 has been steadily developed and every year sees further investment in the course and its facilities. Members enjoy a full program of competitive events throughout the year and their Open Competitions provide the perfect opportunity for visitors to join them to compete for silverware and cash prizes. 01445 712407

Lochcarron Golf Course - East End, Lochcarron, Strathcarron, Wester Ross, IV54 8YS 53.8 miles

A small club situated in one of the most beautiful spots in the Highlands. The golf course is a short but demanding one, which is suited to all levels of golfers and provides both a good test of golf and a spectacular walk. The course is open throughout the year with catering available at the clubhouse during the season. 01520 722744

Ullapool Golf Course - The Club House, N Rd, Ullapool, IV26 2TH5. 1.1 miles

Ullapool Golf Club was opened in April 1998 by H.R.H Prince Andrew. Whilst the course has been designed and developed to the highest standards, they have maintained a balance with the surrounding landscape and visitors can enjoy their game whilst appreciating the beauty of the Highlands of Scotland. 01854 613323

Hebridean Whale Cruise Pier Road, Gairloch, IV21 2BQ. 7.3 miles

The glittering Hebridean waters are favoured with an abundance of marine wildlife. Here you will find whales, dolphins, porpoises, and sharks – the great creatures of the sea. On the shoreline there are colonies of seals and families of otters. We have birds as rare and spectacular as the White-tailed Eagle, as lovable as the Puffin. Offshore and Inshore. -They have two boats in Gairloch and operate daily whale and wildlife cruises – Offshore, to whale and dolphin feeding grounds in the open waters of the North Minch; and Inshore, around Loch Gairloch, a natural wildlife haven. 01445 712458

North West Cruises and Sea Angling - Gairloch Harbour, Pier Road, IV21 2BQ. 7.3 miles

Offer daily wildlife cruises around Gairloch and the beautiful Hebridean waters. With your skipper’s excellent knowledge of the local area, you will have the opportunity to see the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits our enchanting Scottish coastline. Their boat, the Portia of Poole, sets sail on a daily basis seeking out Minke whale and other cetaceans that are frequently seen in the area.

Fishing trips are also available, offering the chance to catch a wide range of fish. Previous hauls have produced plentiful numbers of mackerel, pollock, coalie (Saithe) and the odd ling (a very tasty fish related to the cod). No previous experience is necessary as guidance will be given by the skipper and his crew. All gear supplied free. 07521 380 961

Ewe Canoe - Peace Cottage, 2 Mellon Charles, Aultbea,

Canoeing and kayaking adventures on the shores of LochEwe or beyond. Connor offers fun and exciting paddling experiences amongst sheltered sea lochs, wide sandy bays and exploring the beautiful inland lochs. You can learn to paddle, improve skills, and explore wild Wester Ross. All trips are individually tailored to suit you. All safety equipment is provided and they are fully insured through the Scottish Canoe Association, providing you with peace of mind. They offer full day, half day or evenings. A variety of locations are used to suit experience levels, conditions and ambitions. 07980 588 467 website.

Go Further Scotland - 9 Melvaig, Gairloch, Ross-shire

Local experienced guides organise guided mountain walking, scrambling, rock climbing and running in the area from the very basic to the mighty challenging! All of the guides are experienced climbers, qualified mountain leaders and instructors. Paul Tattersall and Andy Cunningham are two of Scotland’s best climbers and have international reputations. They know the area, its crags and its hills and they have the expert local knowledge to make sure you have a memorable visit. Because the guides are local, they have the flexibility to tailor days to suit you whether you are on your own or with friends. 01445 771 260

Poolewe Pool - Clifton, Poolewe

Make a splash at the local pool! This facility is the only indoor pool in the area and is 25m long. On most mornings between 10am-11am lane swimming only is permitted. At other times of day general public sessions and ladies only sessions are available. 01445 781345

Gairloch Leisure Centre - Achtercairn, Gairloch

Gairloch Leisure is a unique centre as it is part of Gairloch High School. After school hours it is open until 10pm most evenings. It offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities for the local community and visitors to the area. The facilities include a 4 court games hall, climbing wall, fitness room, all weather pitch and outdoor tennis courts.

Screen Machine

Britain’s only mobile cinema! Screen Machine is an 80-seat, air conditioned and 3D-ready mobile cinema which brings the latest films to remote and rural areas of Scotland. Screen Machine tours 25-30 communities in the Highlands and Western Islands and each tour lasts 8-10 weeks. On the road, two driver/operators who work two weeks on–two weeks off. When the Cinema visits she parks outside the High School in Gairloch. When she is in the area we will leave a note of what films are being shown and at what time so you may book tickets if you wish at this unique cinema experience! website


WALKS

Loch Ewe and the surrounding area offer excellent walking opportunities, whether you’re looking for a coastal ramble, a Munro or a woodland trail. Easier walks from our Highland Hideaways include the Kernsary circular walk which has spectacular views of the Fisherfields, Loch Kernsary, Loch Maree and the River Ewe with Viking and Pictish remains. Approximately 2 ½ hours. Other local walks include the Fairy Lochs trail, which takes you to the site of a memorial to a crashed WW2 bomber, Flowerdale Estate, where you can walk to a waterfall through land belonging to the MacKenzie’s of Gairloch, around the stunning headland at Rua Reidh Lighthouse where you can see sea-stacks and nesting sea birds or explore the Sands Archaeological Trail which includes many examples of turf dykes, bronze age hut circles and old runrig systems.

Munro Bagging

With the world famous Fisherfield mountains on the door step and the Torridon mountains less than an hour’s drive away our Highland Hideaways are ideally situated for those who are interested in more exhilarating and strenuous walks, including the celebrated peaks of Slioch (981 m), Liathach (1055m), Beinn Alligan (986 m) and An Teallach (1062m).

Please remember to leave a route plan at the main house if you’re planning bagging a Munro! Even experienced climbers can get in to difficulties at times.


Beinn Eighe on the shores of Loch Maree

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest National Nature Reserve. Set up in 1951 it embraces a vast area of 48 square kilometres stretching from loch-side to mountain top. For visitors who would like to find out more about Beinn Eighe, there’s a visitor centre open from Easter to October just outside Kinlochewe. The three trails which start here are open all year and a further path links the visitor centre with the village of Kinlochewe.

For those looking for a longer walk the woodland (1.5 km) and mountain (6.5 km) trails leave from the Coire na Glas Leitr car park on the shores of Loch Maree. The woodland trail explores the ancient pine forest which clings to the lower slopes while the mountain trail offers a more strenuous opportunity to venture into the mountain environment

At the heart of the reserve is the Beinn Eighe ridge, a huge cluster of of rugged peaks, ridges and scree-covered slopes between Loch Maree and Glen Torridon. For the more experienced, and prepared hiker, this area offers plenty of opportunities for a challenging and strenuous day out.

Laide Wood

Laide Wood covers an area of hill moorland which was once part of the local Common Grazings. The wood is open all year round. It is used by many people in the local community, as well as by visitors to the area, who come to enjoy the vast array of wildlife and spectacular views. The natural features which make the wood such a pleasurable experience are the deep water courses, two lochans and a cascading waterfall which feeds Loch na Creige, the lochan by the Eastern Boundary.

BEACHES

Whilst most of the shore line in the area is pebbly there are also some incredible sandy beaches nearby. One of the best in the area is on Loch Ewe a short drive away at Firemore. Other sandy beaches in the area include Gruinard Bay, Mellon Udrigle, Slaggan, Big Sand, Gairloch & Redpoint.

FISHING

Poolewe is the ideal base to discover the fishing of Wester Ross. Whether you’re looking for freshwater or sea fishing there’s plenty of choice. Wester Ross has some of the most exciting and prolific wild game fishing in Scotland, coupled with spectacular scenery. There are over 20 rivers in the area with populations of Atlantic salmon, and our largest loch, Loch Maree, was once world renowned for its sea trout fishing. There are hundreds of remote lochs in the hills with wild brown trout, and both salmon and trout are “keystone” species within the river systems of Wester Ross. Fisheries for salmon and trout are also a vital part of the local economy. Essential equipment includes a map and outdoor gear. Most of the area is covered by Ordnance Survey map Sheet 19 which includes both Gairloch and Ullapool, taking in the area from south of the Grudie river to Dundonnell in the north.

There is a vast amount of water available to be fished for brown trout within the region – but bear in mind that much of this water is under some form of administration so enquiries should be made about permission to fish. Gairloch Angling Club, as an example, has around 20 or so hill lochs available for fishing – some of these with boats. Permits can be obtained from Gairloch Harbour or the Gairloch petrol station.

WILDLIFE

The jagged coastline of Wester Ross offers some exhilarating wildlife opportunities. The keen and adventurous can spend time searching the bays and peninsulas of sea lochs for marine wildlife. In the protected mountain areas of National Trust for Scotland and Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, you will find a wide variety of fauna ranging from Britain’s largest wild land mammal, the red deer, to the smallest, the pygmy shrew.

Where the land meets the sea, the diversity increases with the highest concentration of otters in Europe. The sheltered bays, deep tidal Lochs, and open sea hold mirror images of the land, with huge under water mountains that combine with the Gulf Stream to create the most diverse Marine environment in Europe. The flora in the area is stunning with wild orchids and water lilies, and insectivorous plants such as sundew. The smaller wildlife such as insects, butterflies, dragonflies and amphibians must not be forgotten either.

BIRDLIFE

Not surprisingly, this diversity of habitat is directly linked to the nature and numbers of birds to be found here. More than 130 species of birds are routinely recorded in the area in an “average” year, and what you see depends both on where and when you look. For convenience the habitats can be considered fewer than four major headings, although it must be emphasised that nature is rather less keen on hard boundaries than we are! These habitats are:

As elsewhere in Europe, the birds of Wester Ross can (more or less) be classified as residents, summer visitors and winter visitors. Hopefully below should give you a basic idea of what can be seen here. However, almost anywhere, anytime, can produce “good” birds and other animals, and this is one of the real joys of a holiday here. It is assumed that most visitors will be in the Gairloch area between March and September, and the seasonal descriptions and identification guide sections below do not include the winter months.

What Can You See In The Area?

Well, here goes! During March, we still have an amount of winter birdlife in the area such as Whooper Swans, and with numbers of Divers increasing steadily; it is not unusual to see groups of up to 20 or 30 Black Throated Divers in some sea lochs and on some smaller inland lochans Red Throated Divers. The great northern diver is the third and largest member of the family and can occasionally be seen around the coasts in the summer months.

By April, most of the summer visitors have appeared, the winter birdlife having moved on elsewhere. ChiffChaffs, Willow Warblers, Wheaters, and Cuckoo join the throng. On the sea lochs, Common Terns are harassed by Skuas, and Shags perch on the rocks.

Throughout the next few months, a ready assortment of Siskins, Tits of all shapes and sizes from Long Tails to Coal, via Great, and the beautiful little Goldfinches can all be seen in the area. Throughout all of this, sightings of Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles can be mixed with Peregrine Falcons and Sparrowhawks. Particularly with Sea and Golden eagles however, these are not quite as common as the tourism authorities would have you believe - so a sighting is a rare and special treat. They do all live here, however, and numbers are holding up well!

On the sea, although the local boat trips are very successful at Whale spotting, they also afford an opportunity to look at Skuas (in extreme detail on many occasions, some of the birds coming within a few metres of the boat!) and you can regularly see Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, and Terns. The Ptarmigan is unique among Highland birds, changing colour in summer from pale brown to autumn grey and winter white to camouflage from its many predators. With the approach of the Autumn months, the Cuckoos leave - thank goodness for that, if you happen to live beside a favourite nesting place! The occasional Greylag goose is seen, and eventually some of the beautiful Whooper Swans re-appear. By mid-Autumn, Fieldfares and Redwings are in the garden, bolstered by the brightly coloured Waxwing. And what’s the crow-like bird that you can see? It’s a “Hoodie” - a Hooded Crow, a Northern derivative of the better known Carrion Crow (except you also get these in Sicily)!

Sealife

Here is just a sample of the marine life that you may be lucky enough to see if you take a boat trip from Gairloch. From your window you may also have the chance of seeing seals and otters. Sitings include, common dolphin, basking shark (June - Oct), harbour porpoise, minke whale (May - Nov), humpback whale, Orca (Yes....killer whale!). It is as well pointing out that NONE of these are absolutely guaranteed! Other unusual West Coast sightings have included walrus, bearded seal, leatherback turtle, green turtle, Cuvier’s beaked whale and sperm whale.

Spotted Orchid

Where to see the flowers, again depends on season and on what you are looking for. In the Poolewe area, for example, the walk beside the River Ewe and on to Loch Kernsary is also very productive as is the track through Tollie woods. So, what can you see - and when? If you are braving the early season, you will be rewarded with the freshness of the New Year, when the wild flower season really begins. By mid-march the Celandines and Primroses have appeared and by the end of the month they are in full swing. The Flowerdale area, Tollie woods, and the path beside the River Ewe all offer good opportunities. When spring arrives, the woodland areas erupt into life adding bluebells, wood sorrel and wood anemones. The weather can be absolutely superb, or simply average. Irrespective, the green resurgence is taking off and a range of species including marsh marigolds, creeping buttercups, and lady’s smock (cuckoo flower), join the woodland flowers.

By May a wide variety of species can be found, including some of the more spectacular flowers like the foxglove, heath spotted orchid, red campion and yellow flag. Looking a little harder reveals many equally attractive, if much smaller, flowers such as eyebright, various speedwells, tormentil and yellow pimpernel. Above all, in warm weather, the dense yellow banks of gorse dispense a wonderful aroma redolent of more tropical climes. June and July are probably the best overall months for floral diversity. The beautiful orchid appears, along with the pink/purple of heather and cross-leaved heath. Yellow flowers dominate, with many dandelion family representatives (composites) as well as the characteristic moorland “Bog Asphodel”. This is a marvellous time for the keen flower spotter, or for the rambler with an eye for beauty. The lesser butterfly orchid and fragrant orchid are possible rewards for the sharp eye.From mid-July onwards, the thistles and the heather are the dominant purples with a pinker contribution from the cross-leaved heath. By the beginning of August the ling or “real” heather is coming into full glory. When the days are warm and the light bright, the hills are overtaken with the colour and scent. The tormentil and birdsfoot trefoil that came on to the scene in May can still be found here and there. Even the April milkwort can be spotted with a careful eye. August is a month of solid banks of colour – the pinks of the finishing willowherbs, the blues of the scabious and swathes of yellow composites lining the roads – catsears, nipplewort, sow-thistle, smooth hawksbeard, and doubtless many others. As Autumn comes in, the scabious hangs in, and the heathers start to tail off, but otherwise September is much as late August, with the odd few of many species hanging on here and there. The yellow of composites and buttercups still dot the fields and roadsides. By mid-September, just the odd sprays of purple remain, notably bell heather, cross-leaved heath, and black knapweed. The big story in September - October time is the fungi. Huge varieties of fungi are common everywhere and the trees are rapidly losing their leaves. The truth is, that there is always something in flower somewhere, but you may not always be very impressed with the species!

Landlife

Wester Ross is blessed with some of the most diverse wildlife in Europe. We have a multitude of habitats from the snow covered peaks of the Torridon & Fisherfields, right down to the coast and out into the North Minch - this is where you can still find some of the most elusive and fascinating native wildlife in the UK.

Starting in the high peaks where Ptarmigan roam, grazes the largest of our native British land mammals, the Red Deer - above, patrols the enigmatic Golden Eagle. As we lose altitude towards the tree line, hidden valleys and native Caledonian forest harbour Scotland’s pine martin, wild cat, red squirrel…..and where this meets enchanting lochs like Loch Maree, an abundance of rare wildlife is on offer with the highest concentration of Black-throated Divers in Scotland.

The extensive lowland heath and moor land are home to hen harriers and red grouse, with red deer moving down through these areas to rut and overwinter. Towards Dundonell herds of wild goats roam free.

If you find you are walking beside a small lochan up in the hills - have a look in the shallow water. There may well be newts swimming around, or perhaps the fierce “water beetle”. If you are an insect, newt, or even a small fish, then you really want to avoid these - they are among the top predators of many a pool.

The main point to make is that we DO have a really fantastic mix of wildlife here, some of it amongst the rarest in the UK, if not Europe. But you must look for it - there is rarely a correct response to a question such as “Where can we see the deer today”. And herds of Wildcat do NOT roam the forests hunting down prey! It’s all about getting out of the car, going for a walk and appreciating the relative solitude and scenery of one of Europe’s last remote areas....enjoy. And if you see some Pine Martens as well, enjoy it all the more…

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Wester Ross has many rare insect species that live here - dragonflies such as Azure & Northern Hawkers, Darters (like the “white-faced darter”), and a range of butterflies that are gradually changing as the climate alters. We are not so well known for butterflies, but these things are changing as the climate slowly changes - several species are beginning to move Northwards as the surroundings warm up a little.

What’s the difference between “dragonflies” and “damselflies”? Dragonflies Robust and fast; large eyes meet on top of head; front and back wing pairs are different shapes, spread when at rest. Damselflies Slender and sedate; small eyes do not meet on top of head; wing pairs are same shape, folded alongside body when at rest (except Emerald Damselfly: spreads 45°).

Plant Life

At the risk of stating the obvious, what you see depends, to a major extent, on when you visit. What is perhaps less obvious, is that although our northern latitude means spring and summer arrive a little later than in the lowlands, this is partly compensated by a coastal position influenced by the Gulf Stream (or North Atlantic Drift). Once it starts, the flowering season is quite extended, and some of the many species that have appeared by mid-May, soldier on into September, and even October. There are, of course, exceptions (e.g. orchids) with a more limited flowering period, but on the whole, between late April and September you should see a very good variety of attractive and interesting flowers. The peaks, troughs and general characteristics of each month are given, summarising the appearance of common species by month and colour. The timings indicated are very much dependent on weather (with much variation year on year) and on location - they are not absolutes, but a general guide.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Towns and Villages

Poolewe is a small crofting township located at the head of Loch Ewe overlooking the National Trust for Scotland Inverewe Garden and Estate which is called the Jewel in the Crown of Scotland’s National Trust gardens. On a latitude further north than Moscow, sub-tropical plants thrive due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream. The gardens are open all year and have a wildlife hide and a lovely pinewood trail walk for visitors to enjoy as well. From late March to October the visitor centre & restaurant is open stocking a large range of gifts as well as books. The restaurant facility is also open during the day until 4pm. Poolewe is well served with a village store/post office, an indoor swimming pool, a pub and a coffee shop with a gallery upstairs. The village hall is home to many events during the season including the Poolewe Tuesday Market where local people sell homemade baking, gifts and crafts. There is also a café area where baking and soups are served during market hours.

On a Thursday during the summer there is another local produce market and small café at the local church hall in Poolewe.

The Poolewe Ceilidhs Partnership features weekly evening ceilidhs during the summer. Local and visiting musicians take part. There is sometimes a traditional Scottish band, local pipers, singers and instrumentalists. There will be a chance to join in with the dances, and a caller and volunteer partners will be ready to help if you don’t know the dances. If you prefer, you can just sit and watch the dancers and listen to the musicians. During the interval, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some home-baking, all included in the admission price. The ceilidhs are not licensed, but you are welcome to bring your own wine or beer. Soft drinks are available to purchase. There will also be a raffle in aid of a local good cause.

The village hall is also home to the Button Bothy. If you are looking for that unique piece of button jewellery that is a little bit different then look no further. All pieces of button jewellery are handmade. From the very old to the new, the collection of buttons includes glass, mother of pearl, abalone, Bakelite, casein, wood and many others. Vintage, art deco, 40s, 50s, 60s through to the modern day button. Above the shop is Ron’s Second Hand Book Shop. Further supplies of books can also be found at his cabin at Garden Cottage Nursery just north of the main village.

At Inverasdale, a ten minute drive away, is the wonderful shepherd’s huts. Situated on a working croft, the huts are home to Fairtrade goods; Esther Ward home produced textiles, croft produce and homemade goodies. A picnic bench outside by the pond area is a beautiful spot in which to gaze over Loch Ewe. Just further along the road is the wonderful Firemore Beach, and at the end of the single track road is the village of Cove with the Russian Artic Convoy Memorial and the abandoned wartime buildings and lookouts. Loch Ewe was a major Naval Base during the Second World War and is still used for military exercise twice a year. The community remember this time by hosting a World War II week of events in the first week of May.


Gairloch (6 miles away) The main village of the area where you will find shops, a petrol station, bank with ATM, cafes, pubs, boat trips, a golf course, leisure centre and library (at the high school) as well as village hall and Gale Community building. This is home to the Tourist Information Centre where a weekly local market is held on a Monday, as well as other events throughout the year. “Gairloch Gathering” takes place in the summer (a Highland Games) as well as the Sheep Dog Trials. Gairloch is also home to two beautiful sandy beaches. Gairloch has its own radio station (one of the smallest commercial radio stations in the UK), ‘Two Lochs Radio’. They broadcast locally on 106 and 106.6 FM. The morning show Monday to Friday has several sections of “What’s On” in the local area that day.


Aultbea (6 miles) is a village also located on the shores of Loch Ewe. Here you can find the doctors surgery, pubs, butcher, and general grocer. This is also home to Aultbea Woodcraft, a talented wood carver who produces handmade carved bowls, furniture and gifts. Isle of Ewe Smokehouse is also located here, and smoked fish products may be purchased from their shop. At the end of the road at Mellon Charles, become enchanted by Scotland’s only working perfume studio. Here they design and make an original range of perfumes, fragrances, skin creams, toiletries and soaps which are sold in the gift shop. They have a bright and airy “Aroma Café” which has spectacular views across the loch towards the Torridon Mountains. They serve delicious lunches, home baked cakes and a distinctive range of aromatic coffee and teas. They also have a state-of-the-art image studio offering mentoring to landscape photographers of all levels.


Ullapool (52 miles) is a picturesque fishing village nestled on the shores of Loch Broom approximately a 1 hour drive north. It is from here that that the ferry leaves for Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Ullapool has restaurants, shops, cafes, bars and live entertainment. The multi-award winning Ullapool Museum and Visitor Centre is housed within a Grade-A listed former Telford Parliamentary Church in West Argyle Street. There are a variety of activities available in Ullapool, e.g. sea fishing, loch fishing, and boat cruises. It is also becoming well known for its music festivals. Ullapool is also home to some of the best fish & chips!


The Applecross Peninsula (50 miles) is located on the west coast of Wester Ross, directly opposite Raasay, Rona and Skye. Access is by the Bealach nam Bo, or by the coast road from Shieldaig. The Bealach nam Bo (the pass of the cattle) is an old drove road used in past times to take cattle to the market. The coast road was completed in 1975 and, prior to this, the coastal townships were only accessible by footpath or by sea. The Bealach nam Bo is the highest pass in Scotland at 626m (2053 feet) above sea level. The road incorporates a number of hairpin bends and is unsuitable for learner drivers, caravans or those of a nervous disposition! However, the views of the Applecross hills, the Cuillins of Skye and the bay are spectacular. The coast road offers an alternative route for those uncertain of the Bealach, and provides panoramic views over the Torridon Mountains and Loch Torridon. Irrespective of which route is taken, the visitor never fails to be impressed by the beauty and grandeur of this rugged coastline.


Russian Arctic Convoy Museum & Gift Shop - Aultbea

Fascinating exhibition regarding the WWII history of Loch Ewe and its role in supplying Russia with supplies. The only dedicated convoy museum in the world. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 4.00pm

Gairloch Heritage Museum

Open Easter – October (closed Sundays). A fascinating little museum full of local history. The museum takes you on a journey through time showing how local people lived and worked in Gairloch through the ages. It also has the original Rua Reidh lighthouse lamp room and fog horn.

Ullapool Museum - 7 & 8 W Argyle St Ullapool

Open Easter to end October (closed Sunday).The Ullapool Museum & Visitor Centre is housed within a restored Thomas Telford Parliamentary Church, originally built in 1829, the Museum tells the story of Lochbroom - the land and its people, through a blend of traditional and multimedia displays. The commentary is available in six European languages, as are the permanent displays.


ATTRACTIONS & GARDENS

NTS Inverewe Garden a short walk around the bay. The garden is open all year, visitor centre and restaurant open late March to late October. A lush, tropical oasis perched on a peninsula at the edge of Loch Ewe amid the rugged landscape of Wester Ross, this world-famous 21 hectare (54 acre) historic garden is one of Scotland’s most popular botanical attractions. Created out of bare rock and a few scrub willows in 1862 by Osgood Mackenzie, it’s full of colourful, exotic plants from around the world. Highlights include the most northerly planting of rare Wollemi pines, Himalayan blue poppies, olearia from New Zealand, Tasmanian eucalypts, and rhododendrons from China, Nepal and the Indian subcontinent.

Garden Cottage Nursery - Poolewe

Open March-October (closed Sunday). Lesley and Ron own Garden Cottage Nursery which they started over 30 years ago and have a wonderful selection of plants that specialises in plants which thrive in coastal gardens and can give you tips for any tricky area of your garden. Lesley also sells plants at the local summer markets.

Attadele Gardens on the shores of Lochcarron

Open April – October (closed Sunday)

Started by Baron Schroder in the late 19th century, hill paths meander through 20 acres of conifers and rhododendrons. Totally transformed after the 1980 storms by owner Nicky Macpherson, it is an artist’s garden designed to frame the magnificent views of Skye and the surrounding hills. Waterfalls, Monet bridges, meconopsis, bamboo and candelabra primula are reflected in dark pools. Sculpture lurks in unexpected places.

Leckhelm Shrubbery & Arboretum on the shores of Loch Broom

Open daily April – October. A woodland garden planted in 1870 and restored in 1984. The climate is surprisingly mild and the rainfall high so a number of exotic plants thrive here.

GETTING HERE

Driving

Poolewe is located in the centre of Wester Ross on a circular road, the A832. To the north lies Ullapool, a small town with the ferry terminal serving Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and to the south Kyle of Lochalsh, and the Isle of Skye. We are less than 5 hours drive from Edinburgh or Glasgow and only 90 minutes from Inverness.

The most direct route from The South is to travel up the A9 to Inverness and follow the signs for Ullapool and the A835. Travel on this road until you reach the village of Garve, as you leave Garve there is a junction, turn left and take the A832 heading West. Follow the signs for Gairloch, then Poolewe is another 6 miles north of Gairloch. Pool House is situated in the centre of the village by the bridge where the river meets the sea.

It is also possible to take the more scenic route from Glasgow via Fort William to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the road to Lochcarron and Torridon. This is the longer route, but has wonderful scenery and is classed by the AA as one of the top 10 drives in the world!


Flying

Inverness City is the capital of the Highlands and has daily flights from many airports including: Luton, Gatwick, Manchester, and Bristol offered by:

Easyjet

flybe

Highlands & Islands Airways Limited (HIAL)

For a complete overview of the flights into Inverness click here.

Car hire is available at the airport and the city centre.


By Train

Inverness is on the scenic Highland line and has services via Edinburgh on the East Coast main line and Glasgow on the West Coast main line.

Virgin Trains operate the Highland Chieftain which runs from London Kings Cross to Inverness daily.

ScotRail operate the Caledonian Sleeper from Euston to Inverness overnight.

For more services follow this link.

Car Hire

Car hire companies based in Inverness include Avis and Hertz, or Rhino Car Hire.

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