Set on a sheltered bay of Loch Carron, with sweeping vistas of sea and mountain, Plockton is a perfect destination for the more relaxed holiday. Once a thriving fishing community, it is now a National Trust for Scotland conservation village, its heritage carefully preserved, yet with the facilities to welcome visitors from all over the world.
Arriving in the village, you will be struck by the sweeping view—the bay, with its scattering of islands, is framed by forested hillside, merging into the Crags, beneath which sits Duncraig Castle. At the foot of the bay, the narrow entrance to Loch Carron is just visible. The eye moves on to ranges which merge in the distance to the Torridon hills. Finally, the peninsula of Applecross and open sea to the Hebrides dominates the northern view.
The village itself is centred on Harbour Street, whose seawall protects the village from the high tides of the bay. Here the gardens look directly onto the water, separated from the houses by the street. The warming Gulf Stream allows the palm trees to flourish.
The self-catering visitor will find all they need at small, but well-stocked Plockton Stores. Look out also for the Plockton Craft Shop (Edmund’s) a gift shop with confectionary, ice-creams and drinks (aka Rory Campbell’s shop in the BBC series, Hamish Macbeth, filmed in Plockton), the Studio for local and international crafts, more gifts and maritime curios at Leisure Marine, and local knitwear at Lochalsh Knitters.
There is a local post office, with limited opening hours. Kyle of Lochalsh, ten minutes drive away, has a main post office, two banks (RBS and BoS), a supermarket, a tourist office and other shops and facilities.
As well as Hamish Macbeth, Plockton was also the location for The Wicker Man, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, and more.
Eating Out (or in)
Eating out in Plockton is characterised by fresh local or Scottish produce — beef, game, fish and seafood — and friendly service. The Plockton Hotel and the Plockton Inn offer a lunchtime and a full evening menu, both with very good reviews. Children are welcome and the vegetarian will not go hungry. The Shores on Habour Street is gaining an excellent reputation under head chef Ian James, who formerly ran Off the Rails. Plockton also has a fish & chip shop – The Harbour Fish Bar (open April to October) – which serves a variety of takeaway food. Other takeaway shops can be found only 10-15 minutes drive away in Kyle of Lochalsh.
If you’re eating in, you’ll find a remarkable range of quality foodstuff at the Plockton Stores, and a good selection of wines, beers and spirits. Fresh prawns can be bought at the pier from the local fishermen when they come ashore in the mid-afternoon. A fish van also delivers produce to the village on a weekly basis. Traditionally produced cheese and dairy products are available at the West Highland Dairy, in Achmore, six miles from Plockton.
Other local produce such as eggs (chicken, duck and quail) can be purchased from Rowan Barn Farm near the village’s aerodrome. Plockton also boasts it’s own miniature/micro brewery with the ale available at the Plockton Inn on draught or in bottles from the local stores or from Andy Will the brewer himself.
In July and August, the village hosts the annual Plockton Regatta. Races are held on most evenings for visiting centreboards and the traditional (but highly competitive) Plockton clinker boats. Walk down to the starting line at Rhu and watch the jockeying for pole position before the gun.
There are plenty of good walking routes around the village and nearby, and the Plockton viewpoint on Frithard Hill (Cnoc na Frith Airde) could barely be closer to the cottages (around ten minutes walk from all of the cottages). The peninsula of Rudha Mòr has some fantastic short walks, with a number of routes taking the walker down to the shore, and when the tide is low enough even out to some tidal islands and the Plockton lighthouse. The Plockton Crags (Creag a’ Bhealaich Mhòir) which dominate the skyline above the village is a local favourite and is walkable in less than an hour from a nearby road or less than two hours from the village itself. You will find a useful guide to local walks in the Plockton shops, which will also give details of local swimming beaches. There is a swimming pool and fitness centre in Kyle of Lochalsh.
Calum’s Seal Trips are world famous (free if no seals!) and have featured in the BBC Holiday Programme. Get details from their booking office and shop in Harbour Street. Leisure Marine also provide a variety of small craft for hire, and will tell you about sea and loch fishing.
There are nine hole golf courses at Kyle and Lochcarron, and riding is available at Avernish Riding Stables, near Dornie.
Visitors are welcome to use Plockton Bowling Club’s green, the only outdoor bowling green in Skye & Lochalsh.
Visit Craig Highland Farm, a rare breeds conservation centre, for unusual varieties of sheep, goats, ponies, pigs, llamas, etc.
For ideas for a longer excursion, take a look at The Area.