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Ten great walks in the North West Highlands Geopark

Friday May 20th 2016

 

The North West Highlands Geopark covers a 2000 square kilometer area stretching from Achiltibuie in the South to Cape Wrath in the North.  We have hundreds of miles of walking routes ranging from the Cape Wrath Trail to shorter walks around each of our communities.  Some of these have been built with wheel chair users in mind.  Durness, Scourie and Assynt have produced some great walking leaflets (pick them up in Tourist Information Centers or at the Rock Stop). We’ve picked some of our favourite walks but it was too hard to choose!

1. Balnakeil Beach and Faraid Head (Durness)

Faraid head is a quiet haven on the far North Coast of the mainland UK.  Puffins, seals and even minke whales all make their homes around the headland.  Walk across the white sands of Balnakeil beach and onto the track through the dunes.  In the summer you can do this walk in the company of a ranger.  Walk Highlands link.

walking among dunes, faraid head

2. Achmelvich Beach and Alltanabradhan Mill (Assynt)

Start at the stunning white sandy beach of Achmelvich and head north across a rough track and explore some of the hidden secrets of the North West Highlands. The track will take you to an old ruined mill which may have it’s origins in the Norse period.  This walk can also be done in the company of a ranger. Walk Highlands Link

walker, achmelvich 3

3. Little Assynt Field (Assynt)

There are two options at Little Assynt (just outside of Lochinver).  Walk round the loch on the all abilities path, or explore the remains of a cleared village further out into the Cnoc an Lochan Landscape. Superb views of the mountains. Walk highlands Link.

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4. Knockan Crag (Assynt)

The ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the North West Highlands Geopark – Knockan Crag is both a satisfying family walk and a chance to learn about the evolution of the landscape and the ‘Highland Controversy’.  Walk Highlands link.

Landscape model 4

5. Bone Caves, Inchnadamph (Assynt)

One of the most enigmatic sites in the North West Highlands, the Bone Caves were carved out by ancient glaciers and protected bones of the Arctic Fox, Brown Bear, Reindeer, Otter and more from the effects of the last ice age. Preserving a record of animal life prior to the last glaciation.  The bones are thought to have been washed there by ancient underground rivers.  The landscape on the way to the bone caves is also fascinating – watch rivers suddenly appear and disappear and tick of how many different types of rock you can find. Walk Highlands link.

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6. Glendhu Bothy (Scourie)

Once a small family croft, the bothy at the end of Loch Dhu can now be reached by a good track which also takes you past the Maldie burn, an impressive powerful waterfall.  The Loch itself was carved by glaciers and is incredibly deep, much like a Norwegian Fjord.  The Loch joins with Loch Glencoul at Kylesku before flowing to the sea. Here is a long variation of the route which takes in both lochs.

Glen Dubh Helen O'Keefe

7. Culag Woods (Assynt)

Culag is an incredibly family friendly wood. Explore it’s mysterious track ways and head off into the bushes to discover secret dens and scary wooden spiders hanging from the trees!  The paths take you to the white shore where pebbles of Lewisian gneiss intermingle with Canisp porphry – practice skimming or take one home to treasure!

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8. Loch Meadaidh (Durness)

A rewarding walk with views over the Kyle of Durness.  A good track that crosses the Alt Smoo via stepping stones, to a quiet secluded mountain loch, Check out the local walking network guide book.

Walk Highlands link

Loch Meadaidh

9. Fox Point (Coigach)

Fox point is the name for the piece of headland between Old Dornie pier and Polbain crofting hamlet. With spectacular views over the summer isles and mysterious remains of habitation spanning four thousand years this walk is as interesting as it is beautiful. Extend it to take in Meall Dearg, and get some of the best views in Coigach!

Fox1

10. Sandwood bay (Kinlochbervie)

A good, well constructed path will take you through the peat bog country to one of the North West’s best beaches.  The beach feels incredibly secluded and the sea seems enormous from the perspective of the beach, making it a fabulous walk on a stormy day. The Sea Stack in the photograph is Am Buachaille (the herdsman) and is a popular destination for Rock Climbers. Walk Highlands Link.

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