Scotland | Wester Ross Region

I am currently working near Gairloch, in the Western Highlands, at a campsite called “Sands”, located 3 miles from Gairloch. As Gairloch is on the North Coast 500, it can get very busy with tourists through the summer months at the campsite, with standard figures being between 150-200 units on site every day which could be anything from 200-800 people.

 

Jenny and I have been working in the Cafe at Sands since the first week of June and absolutely love it. All staff are given static caravans on site for which we pay gas and electric (about £8 a month). I've had worse views out of my living room window than the Isle of Skye. The campsite itself is large enough to be a village. It has a cafe, a shop, static caravans, sand dunes, beach, wigwams, football pitch, mountain biking track and three shower blocks. There are also ceilidhs in the barn on Saturday nights.

 

We work hard but on our day off we always make a point of doing something outdoors, weather permitting. Heres a list of what’s in the area:

  • Gairloch: Gairloch is a small town with a buzzing sense of community. There are 2 supermarkets, a couple coffee shops and some takeaways. The harbour is very picturesque on a still day. The view back to Gairloch from the road to Sands is magical with the famous Beinn Eighe in the background and Gairloch beach in the foreground.

 

  • Rua Reidh Lighthouse: 10 miles along the road past Sands Caravan site is the lighthouse as seen in the centre photo. The coastal drive isn't the best as the road gets quite bumpy after about 5 miles. Its a really nice spot for sunset. You can also walk around the cliffsThere is a walk along the coast starting from the lighthouse.

 

  • Red Point beaches: Spectacular long beaches only located about 30-40mins from Gairloch. When we went we walked along the cliffs from the car park which loops back round after 2 or 3 beaches.

  • Walks: There are many walks in the Wester Ross area. Two that we have done are the Pinewood circuit and the Flowerdale waterfall walk. Both within 10 minutes of Gairloch and both 100% worth it. The start of the Flowerdale waterfall walk is located behind the Old Inn in Gairloch. The Pinewood circuit is a more strenuous walk with 3 available routes. The route we did was about 7 miles long and looped right round passed 3 waterfalls and finished by walking along Loch Bad an Sgalaig.

 

  • Torridon: A village but also an area. The Torridon hills feel like a really small version of Glen Coe when you drive through them. Torridon the village lies on Loch Torridon and, just like a lot of these places, is a peaceful little fishing village perfect for a wee stroll.

 

  • Applecross: The road to Applecross is beautiful... if you can see. When we went over the Bealach na Ba (third highest road in Scotland) we couldn't see a thing out the window but I am led to believe the view is awesome. Applecross itself is a very small place with a hotel, takeaway van and large beach - perfect for a lunch stop.

 

  • Ullapool: Another small place with a big atmosphere. Ferry's and cruises leave Ullapool for the Isles of Harris and Lewis, meaning it is always buzzing with people. There are lots of shops selling gifts and Scotland-related things, cafes and museums to see too. Again, the drive to Ullapool is beautiful.

 

  • Aultbea: On the shores on Loch Ewe is Aultbea, about 45 minutes from Gairloch. We went for lunch one day to the Aultbea Hotel. The other hotel in the village won Best Whisky Hotel in the World in 2006.

© James Lilley 2018