The Alexandra Hotel is located in the heart of Fort William and is a great base to explore Lochaber
Please note as of 2013 access to Mingarry Castle is not possible due to restoration work.
A short walk to Mingary Castle and to a lovely rocky shoreline and shingle beach. The route heads through rough grassland/pasture, and affords good views of Ben Hiant and Beinn na-h-Urchrach on the outbound journey, and Glas Bhienn on the return. The verges support meadowsweet, devils-bit scabious, gorse, bramble and vetches, whilst the drystone walls are encrusted with lichens and bryophytes.
A great opportunity for close-up views of Mingary Castle. The path also descends by Mingary Castle to a lovely shingle beach. The shingle beach sits on igneous bedrock from the Palaeogene period (24-65 million years ago), with the local environment dominated by heavily jointed intrusions and green to purple-hued shingle, overlying Jurassic Shales.
The Castle sits high on a rocky promontory composed of two igneous sills (horizontal orientated intrusions) underlain by Jurassic shales; the upper paler sill is composed of granophyre (containing feldspar and quartz) and the darker lower sill is of dolerite. These two rocky types support different species of lichens, with granophyre cloaked with the shrubby lichens, whilst the dolerite layer supports orange and black crustiose lichens.
At low tide, there is an abundance and diversity of brown, green and red seaweeds (including species of Pelvia, Ascophyllum, fucoids, Cladophora, Enteromorpha, Ulva, Palmaria, Chordata and Laminaria), cloaking the rocks, shore and coastline, with barnacles, limpets, periwinkles, top shells, anemones, mussels and whelks. A great place for a seashore safari.
The higher rocky outcrops support diversity of white and grey crustiose lichens (e.g. species of Lechanora, Ochrolechia and Tephromela) and orange crustiose lichens (e.g. Xanthoria parietina and Caloplaca verrucliera), as well as shrubby lichens (e.g. sea ivory, Ramalina siliquosa), thrift (Armeria maritima) and stone crops (Sedum spp).
Look out for diving ducks, cormorants and otters in the sheltered bays, and white-tailed, golden eagle and buzzard overhead.
A great place to visit on the Ardnamurchan peninsula for a scenic, castle and beach experience.
1. Take the private road/track signposted Adrnamurchan Estate Mingary House, off the B8007, approximately 2km east of Kilchoan. Park at the designated car park and follow the footpath to the Castle (orange way markers).
The grassy footpath follows a drystone wall on the right, and is bounded by a post and wire fence of the left. The footpath goes through rough grassland and can be very muddy.
2. Past through a metal gate and walk around the edge of the field on a faint but defined path. Good views are afforded of the Castle at this stage.
3. Pass through a second gate and skirt around the field, heading towards the Castle.
It is not possible to gain access to the Castle, but you can examine the south curtain wall and the rock-cut ditch through the wire fencing.
The rest of the castle can be best seen from the shingle beach by taking the path over a stile on the west side of field and following it down to the beach. The path descends fairly steeply, so take care not to slip on the wet rocky path. The shingle beach, allows you to really take in the splendour of Mingary Castle.
Take time to explore the fauna and flora of this lovely beach, the Castle and the magnificent coastal and mountain views.
4. Return by the same route.
starting grid ref:
- there and back