Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ardnamurchan - Portuairk

We spent a week on the Ardnamurchan peninsula this Summer, staying in the wee hamlet of Portuairk. Ardnamurchan, the most Westerly tip of the British mailnland, is also one of the last unspoilt places on the British mainland; a place of white sandy beaches, rolling hills and even a volcano or two.

Sunset From PortuairkArdnamurchan Sunset

Getting There

Getting to Ardnamurchan is fairly easy, if a bit onerous as far as the driving goes. We drove up the A82 to Nether Lochaber, which lies about nine miles south of Fort William, and took the Corran Ferry across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour. This avoids the much longer route that you can take by heading up to Fort William and heading along the A830 and cutting off onto the A861 at Kinlocheil or continuing on to Lochailort and then taking the A861 down to Salen; either way, it's a long drive.

From the ferry, there's 13 miles of decent road until you get to Strontian and then a horrible 35 miles of single-track road to Achosnich passing through Kilchoan, the largest village in the area. I don't mind driving on single-track roads, in fact I quite like it as it means you have to concentrate on driving, but 35 miles of this really windy and rolly road at an average speed of about 25 m.p.h. is very, very wearing. From Achosnich, it's only a few more miles to Portuairk and we were very glad to see it.


Portuairk (Port of the Wild Boar)

Portuairk, which claims the honour of being the most Westerly settlement on the Scottish mainland, consists of only a handful or two of small cottages at one end of Sanna Bay. There's not a lot else to say about it other than it's a very pleasant little place with a natural harbour, protected from the worst of the weather and where the locals keep a few boats tied up, and it's surrounded by hills. Oh, and it's ruled by the flock of sheep that roam all over the grassy areas surrounding that end of the bay.

The nearest shop is in Kilchoan but it's fairly well stocked and the prices aren't that bad at all. for eating out, there's the Sonachan Hotel just past Achosnich and the Kilchoan House Hotel in Kilchoan. There's also a week tea-room in the Kilchoan Tourist Office and another out at Ardnamurchan Point but that's about unless you want to venture a fair way back along that single-track road.


We rented a cottage right down on the beach front, called simply The Bungalow, from a company based in Kilchoan and which I found online. They have a fair number of properties for rent on Ardnamurchan and, sad though it is, there seem to be more holiday homes there than those occupied by locals. The cottage was plainly furnished but reasonably well kitted out and it even had Sky TV, although that may have been because the chances of getting terrestrial TV out there was probably remote.

Portuairk BeachPortuairk Beach

As with most of these holiday cottages, it was really too big for just the two of us and could take six easily but that's the price of a quiet week in the countryside. With a decent sea view, the sunset shot above was taken from the front door, the beach only a few yards away, hills close by and absolutely no hustle or bustle, it suited us just fine and proved an ideal base from which to explore Ardnamurchan.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog and pictures. Looking forward to our own return to "the bungalow" with one more kid than last year and hopes of another week of glorious sunshine with the sheep for company. Can't wait.

thebrodr1cks said...

Great little blog, we've stayed at Glenuig a few times. What letting company did you use in Kilchoan ?


thebrodr1cks said...


Allan Ogg said...

Rented through Steading Holidays