Some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland is close to Plockton. We’ve put together some suggestions, all within a day’s drive.
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is within easy reach, only fifteen minutes by car, and a circular tour can be made in a day. Scenic highlights include the Red and Black Cuillin ranges, the cliffs of the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr in the north-east, and the sea-lochs of the south-west, reaching into the mountains. Visit historic Dunvegan Castle, ancestral home of the MacLeods, the Talisker whisky distillery, the Sleat peninsula, known as the ‘garden of Skye’ which includes the Clan Donald Centre, and the capital of Skye, Portree. “The Fairy Pools” (Glumagan nan Sìthichean) have become very popular in recent years, though there are many other pools on Skye and Wester Roos which are equally attractive.
Recently Skye has become a very popular film location with many films such The Land That Time Forgot, Flash Gordon, Snow White and the Huntsman, Stardust, BFG, 46 Ronin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Transformers: The Last Knight all using the island as a filming location or inspiring animation.
Skye is at the heart of Gaelic Scotland (the Scottish Gàidhealtachd) with the native language of the island still spoken by over half of the population in some parts of the island. Scotland’s Gaelic college – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is located on the Sleat (Slèite) peninsula in the south of the Island – around 45 minutes from Plockton. Students not only come from other Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland – but come from around the world to learn Scotland indigenous language and culture. Notably, there are many students from Germany! Traditional music is a major aspect of Gaelic culture and various pubs around the area hosting sessions. With some of the best in Scotland are to be found in Plockton itself!
The Applecross peninsula, familiar from your dining room window, is reached by driving along the east shore of Loch Carron, and turning back at the head of the loch to Lochcarron village on the west shore. Head on past Kishorn, and ascend the formidable “Bealach na Bà” road, all hairpin bends and steep drops. The view from the summit is worth the effort. Then descend to the village of Applecross, from where you can carry on north to Loch Torridon, with perhaps the most spectacular peaks in the Highlands, and the picturesque village of Shieldaig. From here you can return to Plockton by Kishorn and Lochcarron, or push on to Torridon itself.
Eilean Donan Castle
Heading out of the village and driving straight on at the bridge at Duirinish takes you over the hill and on to the A87. Turn left and drive past Reraig, to Dornie. Stop off at Eilean Donan Castle, an ancient clan stronghold, fully restored since its fall in the Jacobite wars. You can explore most of the castle by yourself, or with a guide. There is an introductory exhibition in the Visitors Centre – highly recommended. Eilean Donan Castle has become well known as a favourite destination for weddings and Plockton is the ideal spot as an accommodation provider.
Heading down the road from Eilean Donan by the side of Loch Duich brings you to Shiel Bridge. Turn right here and you will head up the famous Pass of Rattagan, with fabulous views at the top, including the nearby Five Sisters of Kintail. Carry on down to remote Glenelg and its ruined military barracks, built by General Wade after the 1745 Rebellion. A ferry operates in the summer for Skye, over the short distance of the Kyle Rhea. Three miles outside Glenelg are a set of brochs, the best preserved on the west coast. These prehistoric forts were built by an unknown people, to protect their communities from sea invaders.