(Please be aware that this season, many of the places mentioned below may not be operating or only offering a reduced service. You may want to check the relevant website or Facebook page for the latest information).
Strathcarron Station House is situated in one of the most peaceful, beautiful areas of the Scottish Highlands and has an abundance of places to visit, things to do and wonderful eating places all within easy reach.
Whether you just want to relax and take it easy or indulge in something a bit more energetic, you can find it all in this lovely part of Scotland. Walking (for the fit and not so fit!), fishing, golf, activities in or on the water, colourful gardens to explore, historic castles, an abundance of local crafts, or just sampling fine Highland hospitality and cuisine, it’s all here.
Hopefully the following will give you some inspiration to help you plan your holiday and there's plenty more on the excellent Destination Lochcarron website. Rupert and Lin are always happy to help you make the most out of your time in the area.
Places to visit
Where else to begin than with the world-famous Kyle line itself! Step out of your holiday accommodation onto the platform and take the train east to Inverness or west along the shore of Loch Carron to Plockton and on around the rocky coast to Kyle of Lochalsh. From Kyle, you can walk over the bridge to the Isle of Skye or take a bus trip or organised tour around this wonderful island. A trip on the Kyle line is a must and if you would like more information, there is a small museum and shop run by the Friends of the Kyle Line on the platform at Kyle. An excellent day trip would be to take the 1048 train from Strathcarron, returning from Kyle at 1713.
Just along the road from Strathcarron is the beautiful Attadale Gardens, with plenty to see in Spring, Summer and Autumn.
On your way there you will pass Carron Pottery (www.carronpottery.com), a working pottery and shop stocking a wide range of crafts and souvenirs.
There are many other craft shops locally, including the Smithy Community Hub, Schoolhouse Pottery, Lochcarron Weavers and plenty more. Many of these are part of the South West Ross Arts & Eats Trail, details on www.artsandeatstrail.com.
If you like being on the water, boat trips operate from Plockton, Gairloch and Kyleakin, from which (if you are lucky!) you can observe fantastic wildlife including seals, otters, dolphins, porpoises, and a wide variety of bird life – maybe even a sea eagle. The trips from Plockton are free if you don’t see any seals, look for whales on Hebridean Whale Cruises out of Gairloch and the Seaprobe Atlantis from Kyleakin has a great underwater viewing gallery. Boats can be hired for sea fishing trips and fishing is also available on the River Carron and local lochs. Day permits for the River Carron (200 yards from the apartment) cost £25.
In addition to Attadale Gardens (mentioned above), the amazing Inverewe Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) is a worthwhile journey up the coast, possibly combined with a trip over the notorious Bealach na Bà, the third highest road in Scotland, and around the Applecross peninsula. There is also a woodland garden and walks (also owned by the National Trust) at Balmacara. For castle lovers, the famous Eilean Donan Castle is less than half an hour away and you can visit the ruins of Strome Castle, beyond Lochcarron on the north shore of the loch.
Whisky lovers will find the iconic Talisker Distillery just over an hour away on Skye and the brand new Toravaig Distillery is even closer on the Sleat peninsula.
The increasingly popular North Coast 500 route passes within half a mile so Strathcarron makes an ideal base. For those with their own transport, the Isle of Skye can be explored in a comfortable day trip.
Wester Ross is also a walkers’ paradise, with everything from gentle strolls by the river to full day hikes. The excellent walkhighlands.co.uk website lists almost 20 walks within easy reach of Strathcarron and for the dedicated walking enthusiasts, there are plenty of Munros to tackle too.
Places to eat
The Strathcarron area is well served for great places to eat, whether it’s a quick snack, pub meal or a taste of fine Scottish cuisine. We’ve given you a few choices here but there are plenty more – if you find a particular favourite, let us know and we’ll add it to the list!
The Strathcarron Hotel across the car park is open every day for drinks, snacks and full meals. Guests staying at the Station House can also order a full Scottish breakfast if you book the night before..
Just down the road at Carron Pottery is the Carron Restaurant which is open all day and serves a wide range of traditional dishes and daily specials. Call to check opening hours on 01520 722488. They also offer a whisky tasting experience "From Speyside to Jerez" which is well worth trying.
In Lochcarron, you will find the Lochcarron Hotel (open for food all day in the season), the Waterside Cafe and Lochcarron Bistro, while the Albatross Café at Lochcarron Golf Club is open to golfers and non-golfers alike for drinks and snacks. There's also a very nice café and delicatessen at the Smithy Community Hub.
Heading further afield, on the way to Applecross you will find the Kishorn Seafood Bar and the Bealach Café while in Applecross itself, the Applecross Inn is always popular with visitors and locals alike – good food, good beer and a friendly welcome. Booking ahead is advisable. The Walled Garden in Applecross is also an excellent choice.
Just along the line in Plockton you have three places to choose from – the Plockton Inn, Plockton Hotel and Plockton Shores All offer something different but are of high quality and the Hotel even has outdoor seating right on the edge of the water.
At the end of the line in Kyle, the Waterside Restaurant is in the historic station building while Hector’s Bothy in the centre of the village offers everything from coffee and cake to full meals and steak night specials.
If you can’t miss a fix of Asian fare, Kyle also has an excellent Chinese takeaway and just over the Skye Bridge is the Taste of India – very popular all year round so book to be sure.
Heading the other way along the Kyle line, the Ledgowan Lodge offers a warm welcome all day long for a quick coffee in the drawing room, bar lunches and evening meals in the candlelit dining room.