On our doorstep, the Ardnamurchan distillery provides tours and tasting sessions from Easter through to October. http://www.adelphidistillery.com
Also within a short walk, the Natural History Visitor Centre features live and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Ardnamurchan and provide a good introduction to the area. It also has a nice tearoom and gift shop https://ardnamurchannaturalhistorycentre.com
A ferry from just along the road at Kilchoan runs day trips to the Isle of Mull. Passengers are dropped at Tobermory, a beautiful port with colourful houses along the main street to the pier, recognised by many as the filming location for Balamory. The town has a variety of shops, restaurants, a distillery and museum, art gallery and a small but charming aquarium.
Further around the peninsula, the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is worth a trip. It lies on the most westerly part of mainland Britain and overlooks the Hebridean islands of Skye, Muck, Eigg and Rhum. The energetic can climb the lighthouse (152 steps and 2 ladders) and enjoy the spectacular views, or instead take the lower view point from the viewing platform. There is a visitor centre and coffee shop.
Visit Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart, built in the 16th century and now beautiful ruins.
It is perfect for a visit in the summer months, with a sandy beach for picnics, sandcastles and swimming.
There are so many beautiful beaches that are worth a visit, here are just a few:
Sanna Bay Beach – this is a big, beautifully photogenic beach, with white sand and turquoise waters. It is great for wildlife watching and rock pooling.
Camas Nan Geall – just around the corner from Aspen Lodge, you may recognise it as one of the most photographed views of the area!
Bay MacNeil Beach – this sheltered bay is close to the Ardnamurchan lighthouse, with stunning views to the Small Isles and Ardnamurchan Point. It is white sand and volcanic rock. This is one of our favourites!
The Singing Sands – a beach renowned for the sound the sand makes as the wind blows across it. It requires some walking or cycling to get there, but that is all part of the fun.
Portuairk – based in a lovely hamlet, this beach is good for paddling, swimming and clambering on the rocks. A good one for smaller children as it is quite sheltered.
Also take a look at Kilmory, Cul na Croise, Ardtoe and Smirisary (www.wildlochaber.com has good descriptions of all of these beaches and how to access them).
Slightly further afield, Ben Nevis lies north of Fort William. The Nevis Range Mountain Resort features gondolas up to the walks and ski runs.
From Fort William you can board the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This is famous for featuring in the Harry Potter films and has been described as the “greatest railway journey in the world” https://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm.
There are many opportunities for nature spotting in and around Ardnamurchan. On land, there are various wildlife hotspots – for example, Sanna Bay is recommended for butterflies and coastal birds; the Garbh Eilean wildlife hide is good for spotting otters and seals in the Loch; RSPB Glenborrodale is a haven for birds and butterflies; and basking sharks, minke whale and common dolphins may be seen from Ardnamurchan Point. Throughout the winter season the deer can be seen all over the hillsides.
There are numerous local wildlife boat trips on offer. Take a look at Ardnamurchan Charters Wildlife Trips https://www.west-scotland-marine.com/en_GB and Staffa Tours http://www.staffatours.com. During the summer months one of our favourite trips is a boat tour to Staffa Island to see the puffins.
For more information about wildlife hotspots and details of tour guides in the area we recommend looking at www.wildlochaber.com.
Walking and Hiking
There are too many wonderful walks and hikes to mention individually but we would recommend looking at the Walk Highlands, Ardnamurchan.com and Wild Lochaber websites for some inspiration www.walkhighlands.co.uk; www.ardnamurchan.com; www.wildlochaber.com. If hillwalking is your thing then Ben Hiant, Ben Laga and Ben Resipole are all easily accessible. For the more adventurous, there are mountains at Glenfinnan & Ardgour, and Ben Nevis is slightly further afield. For more gentle walks, the ancient Sunart Woods are a picturesque place to start, and there is an RSPB walk just 5 minutes drive from the lodge.
Kayaking and canoeing tours may be arranged through Otter Adventures in Strontian https://otter-adventures.co.uk. Seeing the peninsula by land is one thing, seeing it by water gives a totally different perspective and a new opportunity to get close to the wildlife.
It is free to fish along the shoreline rocks around Loch Sunart and from Kilchoan Pier. Alternatively take a boat with an experienced skipper from Ardnamurchan Charters www.west-scotland-marine.com.