Things to do at Rua Reidh Lighthouse

Two nights at Rua Reidh Lighthouse gives you a whole day to leave the car behind and explore the incredible area around the lighthouse on foot. Take a walk along the cliffs to the stunning beach at Camus Mor, explore the lochans and ancient woodland at Loch an Draing and return over the moorland, which is teeming with wildlife and offers stunning views.

For those not quite as energetic, explore the rockpools and the tiny bays and crags immediately around the lighthouse, or look out from our hide or the lighthouse wall to spot otters, seals, eagles, whales, dolphins, porpoises and hundreds of seabirds. Or just relax and unwind, soaking up the peace and tranquillity of our unique location.

For those wishing to stay for a few nights, here are some ideas for days out from Rua Reidh Lighthouse.

Whale and Wildlife Watching

Looking out from the lighthouse wall or our wildlife hide are great places to spot wildlife, but for an even better chance, take a boat trip or guided wildlife walk. We recommend Hebridean Whale Cruises, who go out to the Minch and the Shiant Isles on a fast RIB, Gairloch Marine Wildlife Cruises who explore Loch Gairloch, and Shellfish Safaris, a working creel boat. Walking and Wildlife Adventures run guided wildlife walks for our guests by arrangement.

If you are planning to take a boat trip we strongly recommend that you book a week or two in advance of your stay as they are very popular with limited spaces available, especially in the peak holiday season. If you book and the operator cannot run the trip because of weather or sea conditions you will not be charged so if you are interested in a boat trip it is better to make the booking than risk being disappointed.

Gairloch and the Overside

Explore the pretty village of Gairloch and the surrounding countryside. Gairloch itself has a fascinating little museum (which displays the original Rua Reidh light and foghorn), and plenty of shops and cafes. The GALE centre on the seafront provides extensive tourist information and also runs local craft and produce markets every Monday and Thursday in the season, as well as hosting exhibitions – well worth a visit as there is always something on.  There is a great walk from the harbour past historic Flowerdale House up to a lovely waterfall.

Driving south out of Gairloch, after a couple of miles you come to a road on the right taking you to the area known locally as the ‘overside’. This road passes through the scenic village of Badachro and on down to the wonderful beaches at Redpoint with spectacular views over to the Isle of Skye. At Badachro you can stop for a drink at the Badachro Inn with lovely views over the bay, or take a trip on a real working creel boat with a local fisherman.

Loch Ewe

Six miles north of Gairloch is Loch Ewe, famous as the base for the Arctic Convoys in World War 2. You can see WW2 remains around the loch and visit the memorial at Cove – during the summer season there is also an Arctic Convoy exhibition open for a few hours each week at the former primary school at Inverasdale (please check local press for opening times).

At the village of Poolewe there is a weekly craft and produce market every Tuesday. The garden at Inverewe always has something in bloom. Travelling north towards the village of Aultbea, we have Scotland’s smallest distillery, the Loch Ewe Distillery, at Drumchork. Drive on through the village of Aultbea right to the end of the road at Mellon Charles and you will find Scotland’s only working perfumery, the Perfume Studio, which also has a lovely café with great views.

Ullapool

The north road takes you through spectacular scenery to the little port of Ullapool. En-route, you pass the ancient ruins of the chapel at Laide and you can take a diversion up to the lovely beach at Mellon Udrigle (often described as the most beautiful beach in Scotland). Travelling further north there is another spectacular beach at Gruinard Bay.

On through the village of Dundonnell where Dundonnell House has a wonderful garden which is open to the public on just four days a year; if you happen to be lucky enough to be there on an open day it is well worth a visit. Travel over the high plateau known as the ‘fain’ until you reach Braemore Junction where you can stop to view the spectacular Corrishalloch Gorge. An impressive waterfall plunges nearly 50m into the gorge and you can view it from a suspension bridge or viewing platform.

On reaching the village of Ullapool there is plenty to entertain you with shops and cafés, a museum and of course the busy harbour which is the port for the ferry to Stornoway on the Outer Hebrides as well as being the home of fishing boats and pleasure craft.

Kinlochewe, Torridon and Diabeg

Travel through Gairloch and head towards Kinlochewe. At Slattadale by the edge of Loch Maree, you can visit the famous Victoria Falls. When Queen Victoria herself visited, the rivers above the falls were diverted to ensure that the waterfall would be spectacular enough for Her Majesty! Further along Loch Maree you can take a walk on the Glas Leitir trails and visit the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre which has excellent interactive displays about the wildlife of the area.

Turn right in the village of Kinlochewe to take the scenic drive through Glen Torridon, which has some of Scotland’s most famous mountains (Liathach, Beinn Alligin). At the bottom of the glen is Loch Torridon, again with incredible views and scenery. Turning right into the village of Torridon, you can take the steep road to the lovely village of Diabeg.

Lochcarron and Applecross

Taking the road through Kinlochewe and Torridon, you can continue through the village of Shieldaig and down to the lochside village of Lochcarron which is the home of the famous Lochcarron Weavers. Just over the loch the beautiful Attadale Garden is open to the public.

If you’re happy to travel a little further you can visit the world famous Eilean Donan castle – probably the most photographed castle in Scotland. On the return journey travel round the Applecross peninsula and the drive of your life, as you negotiate the steep zig-zag bends of the Bealach Na Ba, one of the highest roads in Britain.

Not for the faint hearted, but the views from the top over the Isle of Skye are worth it! On reaching Applecross village, the Applecross Inn is justly famed for its seafood, and there is an interesting heritage centre to visit. Instead of returning over the hill route, you can drive round the coast past lovely beaches with excellent views, to rejoin the road at Torridon.