In my previous Ultimate Ardnamurchan Guide post, I described and introduced to you a great place called Ardnamurchan. I included information about how to get there, where to stay and what to see.
This time I would like to show you my journey to this amazing place.
This itinerary is based on my recent travel there so, get ready for a lot of useful information and my personal thoughts. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
First of all, I must mention that our family stayed in private caravan in Dalnabreac near Acharacle (it was absolutely wonderful). I found it through the Airbnb website. However, I would recommend staying in the central part of Ardnamurchan because of the time it takes to travel through Ardnamurchan
There are many options, you can choose from staying in a different location every day, traveling with a camper or finding the place closest to the location you are interested in.
Everything depends on your personal feelings and preferences.
Edinburgh -> Callander -> Glencoe -> Fort William -> Glenfinnan –> Dalnabreac
The journey to the peninsula takes all day, at least it took all day for us. Depending on the conditions and travel type, the time of arrival may vary. However, it is quite a long distance from the centre of Scotland and you should prepare yourself for it.
Callander is a very good place to stop after an hour’s journey from Edinburgh. You can stretch your legs or eat something. If in the meantime you have forgotten something, there are a few shops where you can easily buy all the necessary products.
Afterward, we headed further north toward famous Glencoe. There are also some charming places in Glencoe where you can stay, depending on what you feel like. Remember that when the two main car parks are full you can go a little further opposite the Signal Rock exit and there should be some less busy, free space to park.
Fort William, a beautiful city on the bank of Loch Linnhe at the base of Ben Nevis is definitely worth a visit. It’s a great place to take a break for lunch and enjoy the views.
Over the past few years, cafes and restaurants have flourished there and will undoubtedly enchant you with delicious local food and drinks.
It is important to mention that the Jacobite steam train leaves Fort William Station around 2.45 pm, there you can see it up close for free. The same Jacobite steam train passes by the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct 30 minutes later, which appeared in the second part of the adventures of Harry Potter.
While in Glenfinnan, it’s worth to visit the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre to see an exhibition about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Uprising. After visiting the centre I suggest a walk to the Glenfinnan Monument on the shore of Loch Shiel and even to the top of it if you fancy a better view.
If you’re looking for a spectacular view then head behind the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre where is a footpath to the viewpoint or go to the Glenfinnan Viaduct car park and take the Viaduct path with amazing views of the Glen Shiel and famous Viaduct itself.
It is also a great place to watch and photograph the passing Jacobite steam train.
Later the road continues through rugged, kind of lunar landscapes. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of Road To The Isles. In Lochailort you should turn left and from there you enter the land of Scotland called Moidart, where Ardnamurchan is located.
Dalnabreac -> Ardnamurchan Natural History Visitor Centre -> Kilmory –> Dalnabreac
If you feel tired after the day one all-day tour as I did, Ardnamurchan will be a relief to you.
Although you may be under an impression that there’ s nothing there, there is everything you need to relax there at the same time.
From beautiful landscapes to plenty of greenery just a total wildness. Ardnamurchan looks as if time has stopped there. Or at least it passed very slowly.
The Ardnamurchan Natural History Visitor Centre in Glenbeg is certainly a place worth a visit on the first day. They have delicious food and an excellent selection of books, artworks, household items, clothing and accessories.
There is also an exhibition which is well worth the £2 charge. Oh, and there is also plenty of opportunities to take a selfie with highland cows!
After that, it’s worth moving west, where behind many twists and turns you will see Ben Hiant peak and right beneath it, The Bay of the Pledges. On the left, there is a parking lot with information boards. It is an important place in terms of genealogy as well as history. You should stop and observe the ruins of the farms on the hill. The view is truly delightful!
Down there is a road that leads you to the beach and along the shore. It is also a good place for wild camping.
From this point on, the single track road leads into Ardnamurchan, bypassing Ben Hiant. As you ascend, the Mudle Dungeon will appear, and when the weather and visibility are good, you will have a beautiful view of the Isle of Rum and Isle of Eigg.
Continue ahead until you reach the Kilchoan and Kilmory junction. Turn left and then head straight ahead past the houses in Kilmory.
At almost the very end there is an inscription on the gate “Path to the Bay”. There is not much parking space there, but it is not a very busy place either.
The walk to the beach takes only about 10 minutes and when you reach your destination you will notice a beautiful sandy beach. The sand here is not exactly white, it is rather mixed with kind of black which makes it look like silver colour sand.
Around the beach, there are many rocky outcrops and mini islands as well as pools. The beach is completely empty for most of the time so it’s easy to get an impression that you’ re on a completely different planet, and if you want to go on walking you can get a spectacular perspective of the whole beach.
Dalnabreac -> Kilchoan -> Tobermory -> Calgary -> Tobermory -> Dalnabreac
Visiting Ardnamurchan and never being on the Isle of Mull is worth the opportunity to take a ferry from Kilchoan to Tobermory.
Ferry cruises are scheduled to operate several times a day and the ferry crossing takes only 35 minutes.
The Isle of Mull is definitely the island on which you will want to spend several days. It is beautiful and charming but unfortunately, let’s not forget this is a different trip.
We decided to go to the western part of the island, specifically to Calgary Bay – a beautiful sandy beach hidden among high coast, overlooking the Isle of Coll and Isle of Tiree over the turquoise water.
At the beach, there are plenty of parking spaces, picnic benches and a toilet. The beach is quite popular with the island and tourist visitors but there is no sense of crowdedness.
However, the beach itself is not everything, just in front of the beach is the Calgary Hotel and next to it is the Calgary Art In Nature with a great Calgary Cafe.
A place is definitely worth stopping by and visiting when going to or coming back from Calgary beach.
You can find interesting, original local art when going through the “walking Sculpture in the woods” trail and an excellent cafe accompanied by lovely food and drinks. The entrance cost is only 2 pounds, so I think it’s a bargain!
On your way back to Tobermory, stop at the Kilmore Standing Stones parking lot, where you can see not only standing stones but also breathtaking panorama over Dervaig.
The rest of the day can be spent in Tobermory, wandering around colourful houses near the harbour. It’s one of the most picturesque towns in the whole of Scotland!
There’s plenty option of places where you can eat and things that you see, there’s a small Museum of Mull – which is free and very informative or Aquarium – if you have kids on board or Tobermory Distillery Visitor Centre – a great place to find out more about this area. The last ferry back to Ardnamurchan leaves at 4 or 6.10 pm so if you have spent more time in Calgary then in Tobermory you may run out of time, so organise it well.
Dalnabreac -> Ardnamurchan Lighthouse -> Sanna Bay –> Dalnabreac
This day should be called “The finest of Ardnamurchan” because on that day the road led us to the most westerly point of Scotland.
One road leads from Kilchoan to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Sanna Bay but halfway there is a junction and the road is splitting.
The landscape in this part of Ardnamurchan is more mountainous with grasses and ferns. The road to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is sometimes steep and full of rough twists and turns.
There is enough space for a couple of cars on-site and there are picnic tables around the lighthouse. Each with breathtaking views towards the Atlantic Ocean or the west coast of Scotland as well as the nearby islands.
Recently, The Hebridean Whale Trail was created and Ardnamurchan Lighthouse was added to the list of top spots to watch dolphins, orca and whales.
Unfortunately, we were not lucky to see them, but you may be more fortunate. Maybe the whales were somewhere else that day, but it didn’t bother us because the views were just splendid.
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Visitor Centre are open up to 5 pm so we slowly packed our souvenirs and drove towards Sanna Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland.
There are two options to get there returning from the Lighthouse you can turn to a small village called Portairk and from there go to the beach. This is a shorter way because the second option is to return almost to Kilchoan and from there go towards the beach.
This is definitely a longer alternative and, as in our case, the only right one because we traveled with children.
The second advantage of this road is that maybe not everyone is aware of it, but the road leads through the middle of a long-extinct ancient volcano.
The scenery here strongly resembles the one which can be found on the moon, there are no trees and there are black jagged hills around. I won’t go into genealogical details, but you can imagine how powerful this volcano was when you looked at the satellite images, which presents a visible rim of the alleged volcano.
Finally, the Atlantic Ocean appeared to our eyes again, it was an unusual walk. Near the beach, behind the dunes, there is a parking lot, where you can leave your car or camper and walk 5 minutes to the beach.
We saw a beautiful beach with the clearest, turquoise water I’ve ever seen!
And even though the parking lot has a lot of cars and campers the beach was almost empty, so again we felt as if we had the whole beach to ourselves, which soon turned out to be true. To my surprise, the beach wasn’t sandy, but shell sand, which, compared to typical sand, lasts much longer on the skin.
It was a perfect, fun ending of our stay on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, by the bonfire, soaking our feet in the water and jumping through the waves, among our loved ones. I couldn’t have dreamt of better spending my free time.
Our journey took just four days, well, five if we’re counting a comeback trip the next day, but you can customize yours according to your preferences.
I hope that the description of what we have seen and visited will awaken in you the desire to discover this extraordinary place in Scotland. It’s really worth it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate Airbnb link. This means I will receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This will help with my future travel cost.