|Visit Gairloch in North West Scotland | sitemap | log in|
Well, every area worth its salt has a visitor centre these days - so what can you expect here? Note: All the items on this page can be found on the detailed area map, which is on site: Alternatively, just click here .
Well, coming into the area from the South, there's the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre. This is on the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, and is operated by Scottish Natural Heritage. The centre provides a range of information not only on the reserve, but also on the area in general. There are interactive exhibits, it's child friendly, and there are a variety of walking trails around the centre and out into the reserve itself. A number of these are "all abilities" and will happily accomodate pushchair and wheelchair access. The centre is open every day between Easter and the end of October, 10am until 5pm. 01445 760258 for further information during opening hours.
Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre
Coming into Gairloch, you arrive at the Pier area first of all. At the end of the road on the left (the imaginatively named "Pier Road") you will come to several boat operators offering a variety of information and photographic displays covering all aspects of Marine Life - Seabirds, Whales, Seals, and sealife both above and under the water. Going along Pier Road, in order, there is the Glass Bottom Boat - Marine Wildlife Center - Hebridean Whale Cruises. This whole area is full of sea related industry. Not only are there a selection of boat trips available, but this is also where you will find the Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, the Harbour Master, working fishing boats, cafe, gift shops and so on.
Into Gairloch itself, and the award winning Museum is located just behind the Police Station, and across from the Community Centre / High School areas. Although not perhaps described as an actual Visitor centre, it nevertheless meets all the specifications - it's hugely interesting, has all sorts of information about the history and culture of the area, and will keep you (and any youngsters) fully occupied for most of the morning or afternoon. Old local artifacts, reproduction shop stocked with original fittings, the interior of a croft house, and a large amount of photographs and information on the way the area has developed over the years - they are all here.
Gairloch Museum - Typical Crofthouse
Museum (Outside) Butter making
Two choices in front of you now - carry on through the village past Strath Square and its shop / cafe / hotel / restaurant area, and go out along the coast road to Rua Reidh Lighthouse OR go over to Poolewe, to Inverewe Gardens.
Either of them can form the basis of a day's outing. Gairloch to Rua Reidh is a 12 mile drive along single track road with utterly amazing views across the Minch to Skye, Harris, Lewis, and many smaller islands like the Shiants. The Lighthouse appears at the absolute end of the road, and has a newly built Visitor Centre which operates as an unmanned facility. It's open all year , has interpretative panels dealing with the sea and birdlife of the area, binoculars / telescopes for spotting them as they cruise by, and teas / coffees / toilets all available.
** Awaiting Photo **
Finally, Inverewe Gardens. One of Scotland's top attractions, these sub tropical (Yes! Sub Tropical! - because of the Gulf Stream effect!) gardens have a wide variety of walks in and around trees, shrubs, flowers and bushes from all over the world. There is also a restuarant and a large visitor centre packed with information and gifts / books on nature, the local area, and the Gardens themselves. If you are keen on your plants, this can easily be a whole day's outing - even a non gardener like myself can lose half a day wandering around here.