Watersports in Wester Ross

22 November 2016

watersports

Wester Ross has arguably the most impressive coastline of any region of Scotland. From Dornie all the way up to Achiltibuie, the beaches, sea cliffs and sheltered bays offer all manner of exciting opportunities for you to have some seaside fun.

The appropriately named Big Sand beach at Gairloch is perhaps the best known in the area. Its sheer size means you will never have to fight for space to play but the real attraction is not the golden sands but the crystal clear water. The island of Longa lies tantalisingly close, to swim would be a challenge for most but far easier would be to sail. Gairloch Boat Club is based in the village, welcomes visitors and has all manner of boats for hire so you can get out and experience the waves no matter what your level of experience. The amazing holiday home Big Sand has magnificent views over the water, just the thing to inspire you to get out there and enjoy it.

Shore House, as the name suggests sits right on the beach and is the perfect spot to launch a sea kayak. Lying in bed at night you can hear the waves just outside and in the morning It is only a few steps from the front door to the water’s edge. There is secure storage here if you bring your own kayaks or alternatively they can be hired from the campsite in the village.

Swimmers will find no shortage of scenic and secluded spots to go for a dip. With a short drive from Taigh Glas you can easily reach Red Point, Mellon Udrigle, Gruinard and Firemore. Whether you want privacy, scenery, a challenging swim or shallow, child-friendly paddling then you can find it on the coastline here.

Coasteering is one of the hottest new adrenaline activities on offer in the Highlands, and Wester Ross has some of the best venues. Basically, a day out coasteering involves moving around the coastline by scrambling over rocks, swimming through bays and jumping off cliffs. It is a potentially dangerous activity so best enjoyed with a qualified instructor who will supply all the necessary equipment such as helmet, wetsuit and buoyancy aid. The Torridon coastline has been a big draw for coasteering companies with a number of local companies now offering beginner-friendly day and half-day trips. Down House is in a great location in Torridon and makes the perfect base to explore the surrounding countryside and access all the wonderful outdoor activities that are available.

Druidaig Lodge sits right on Loch Duich and has its own private slipway where you can launch your own boat either for fun sailing or serious sea fishing. Those travelling without their own boat can rent one in nearby Letterfearn. The loch here is sheltered and is a great way to escape the midges and take in the amazing scenery of the Five Sisters of Kintail and of course Eilean Donan Castle.

The Scottish Sea Kayak Trail is Europe’s first long distance kayak trail and stretches 500km from Gigha off the Kintyre peninsula, to the Summer Isles near Ullapool. This coastline offers truly world class paddling and this is reflected in the number of companies and guides offering their services. If you are confident you can easily strike off on your own, take short trips round a sandy bay or headland or make plans to overnight on a remote and uninhabited island. Torridon would be a great place to stay if you wanted to explore some of the highlights of the northern part of the route. From the sea below Beinn Alligin you can take in the Torridon mountains and the house also has the benefit of a wood burning stove to dry off in front of when you return.

Balgy Lodge also sits just above Loch Torridon, from here a less strenuous way to explore would be to head out on a 21ft Orkney Day Angler with 80hp engine which is available to hire for the day or half-day. Catch mackerel, drop off in a quiet cove to have a picnic, or plan a trip to the excellent Gille Brighde restaurant in Diabeg. Flotation jackets are available at the Lodge. A 12ft fishing boat is also available for hire on Loch Damph for trout fishing along with casting lessons by arrangement.