Welcome to Gairloch Scotland
Wester Ross community of Gairloch is made up of all the villages and hamlets
around Loch Gairloch (Geàrrloch means ‘short loch’
in Gaelic), from Red Point in the southwest to Rua Reidh Lighthouse in
The area provides a wealth of activities for visitors as well as spectacular
scenery, with unforgettable sunsets across the Minch to the Western Isles
and the dramatic backdrop of the Torridon mountains to the south.
Gairloch offers visitors clean sandy beaches, with history at every turn,
dolphins, porpoises and seals in the loch, fishing boats in the harbour,
a superb golf course, opportunities for fishing and pony trekking, and
some of the best and most varied walking in Scotland. The area has been
a popular holiday resort since Victorian times, when visitors came in
on the regular steamers from the south. In those days most visitors put
up at the 150-bed Gairloch Hotel (built in 1872), but today’s visitors
have a wide choice of accommodation, and lots of different places to wine,
dine and shop all around the loch. In the summer the local inns and hotels
frequently hold ceilidhs and musical evenings.
Gairloch’s colourful history has been dominated by its easy access
from the sea and relative inaccessibility from the land. The full story
of the Gairloch area is fascinatingly depicted in the award-winning Heritage
Accommodation around Gairloch
Price Guide - per person based on sharing room:
under $40 - $41
- 70 - more than
Freyja is situated about
300 yards from the shore, the cottage overlooks the sea, offering
stunning sunsets and views of
Skye, Harris, Lewis and
The North West Coast
of Scotland is known for
it's unforgettable sunsets and sandy beaches,
many of which are within easy reach of Apron Hill House.
Creag Mhor Chalets are
set in elevated peaceful position on southern edge
of village. Local hotels
and restaurants, sandy beaches and golf course
Reidh Lighthouse Hostel Gairloch
Rua Reidh Lighthouse is a unique
and exciting place to 'get away from it all'. From here, you can
explore a variety of wildlife habitats, coastal and mountain, and
see birds, whales, dolphins.
History is all around you, from the Bronze Age hut circles by the Sand
River and the remains of the vitrified fort of An Dùn by Gairloch
beach to the Destitution roads and the magnificent family seat of the
Clan Mackenzie in the wooded Flowerdale glen. Place names speak both of
Viking invaders and of the traditional Gaelic culture (Gaelic is still
spoken by many local people).
The harbour, once the centre of a thriving cod fishery, is today home
to a small handful of fishing boats, landing a range of fish and shellfish.
Things to do and see in Gairloch
On the sea
Sea fishing trips go out daily in the season from Gairloch Pier, and sea
life tours venture out on the loch to look for porpoises, seals, dolphins,
whales and sea birds. Or go out with a working creel fisherman to see
what turns up. All these sea activities are bookable in the Harbour area
or by phone.
By the sea
All around Gairloch from Red Point to Rua Reidh you can watch sea birds
and marine mammals, and enjoy the fine sandy beaches. These include Red
Point, the Golf Course beach and Sands (car access to Sands beach is via
Sands Holiday Centre). Golf Gairloch’s beautifully situated and
well-maintained 9-hole golf course is open seven days a week. Visitors
are very welcome, and clubs may be hired. River and loch fishing There’s
good fishing to be had in the many hill lochs in the area, and some river
fishing. Permits are available from Gunns newsagents, the chandlery and
various hotels. Visitors can also buy tackle or hire rods in Strath and
near the Pier.
From an amble to a ramble to a scramble, there’s good walking to
be had for all ages, abilities and levels of fitness around Gairloch.
Walking guide books are available from the Tourist Information Centre
and from several local shops. Follow signs for the path from Strath to
the Harbour, or for the Flowerdale walks collect a leaflet from the information
box there. Ask at the Tourist Information Centre for details of Guided
walking with qualified mountain guides. Stalking takes place on the hills
around Gairloch from late September onwards. Details from the Estate Office
(near Flowerdale House).
Outdoor pursuits around Gairloch include rock climbing, abseiling and
orienteering with instruction and equipment, and Pony treks in the beautiful
Gairloch estate. The Leisure Centre next to the High School offers sporting
activities all year round. The friendly swimming pool at Poolewe, 6 miles
(10km) north of Gairloch, also welcomes visitors.
Gairloch Heritage Museum This award-winning museum housed in
a restored farm steading has many fascinating displays – well worth
a visit. Gairloch Harbour A relaxed harbour for fishing boats and pleasure
craft, with a small marine life centre.
Gift/Craft shops There are several in and around Gairloch, including
art galleries and a pottery.
Rua Reidh lighthouse Dramatic views over the Minch to the Outer Hebrides,
with good bird and marine life watching en route (the lighthouse tower
is not open to the public).
Red Point A spectacular sandy beach and dunes reached via the scenic
route around the south side of Loch Gairloch past the picturesque sheltered
anchorage of Badachro.
Waterfalls In Gairloch at Flowerdale, and also the Victoria Falls at
Slattadale just a few miles to the south on the A832.
Local radio Gairloch’s community radio station, Two Lochs Radio,
went on the air in 2003, and is proving a great hit locally. Two Lochs
Radio is the place to find out where to be and what to see and do in the
Gairloch and Loch Ewe areas. Tune in on 106 FM (Gairloch) or 106.6 FM
(Loch Ewe and Loch Maree).
Gairloch offers clean, safe beaches, friendly accommodation and
eateries and a wealth of wildlife – look out for the sheep! At the
harbour you can see fishing boats and may even spot Sammy the seal. There
is a Pitch and Putt by the play area at Strath, and the Toybox play centre
(behind the Community Centre) welcomes young visitors. Further afield
Gairloch is a good base for visiting Inverewe Garden NTS, the world-famous
subtropical woodland gardens on the shore of Loch Ewe 6 miles (10km) north
of Gairloch on the A832, with colourful displays throughout the year.
Beinn Eighe, Britain’s first National Nature Reserve, is 16 miles
(25km) south, alongside beautiful Loch Maree. The Wester Ross Coastal
Trail road route passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in
If you need somewhere safe and stimulating for the kids, the Toybox Children's
Centre provides daycare for children from 3 months to 12 years and visiting
children are very welcome.
Where to stay
From budget to 5-star, Gairloch offers visitors a wide range
of accommodation. Choose from self-catering houses, bed and breakfast,
independent and SYHA hostels, camping and caravan sites, guest houses
and hotels. Details of many places to stay are available from the Tourist
Information Centre, or you can call in at any of the many establishments
with ‘B&B’ signs outside.
Gairloch has everything to offer the hungry visitor, ranging
from fish suppers and take-away snacks, to candle-lit dinners and fine
menus featuring fish specialities, vegetarian dishes (even haggis!), venison,
afternoon teas and traditional Scottish breakfasts. Local fresh produce,
especially local seafood, is prominent on many menus. The many comfortable
inns, hotels and cafés around the bay stock a good selection of
wines, spirits and beers, with one boasting the widest selection of real
ales in Scotland! See the Guide to local services, eating out section.
Shopping for provisions
All provisions, including British and foreign newspapers, petrol
and camping supplies, milk, fresh bread and meat, fish and vegetables
are available locally – as are books, maps, guides, wet weather
clothing, local crafts, woollens and souvenirs. See the Guide to local
services, shopping section. Public Internet access at broadband speeds
is available in several locations, and digital camera cards can be downloaded
or transferred to CD at Wordworks near the harbour.