A Great Place for Close Encounters with Red Squirrels, Pine Martens and other Highland Wildlife
A lovely walk around the shingle beaches of Cuil Bay on the Ardsheal peninsula. Good views are afforded of Loch Linnhe and the islands of Balnagowan, Shuna and Lismore, as well as some fine views of Ardsheal hill and beyond.
Most of the walk is through damp grassland/heathland, although there is a lovely short section through alder copse near the start of the walk, which is carpeted with yellow flag iris, cuckoo flower, common valerian and meadow sweet in Spring. Other flowering plants seen on route include lousewort, tormentil, bird's-foot trefoil, heath spotted orchid, fragrant orchid, milkwort, devil's-bit scabious, bog asphodel, tufted vetch, thyme, heather, cross-leaved heath, heath bedstraw, marsh violet and ragged robin. The exposed rocks at the end of the peninsula also support crowberry and thrift.
Listen out for meadow pipits and skylark whose distinctive sonorous calls fill the air in Springtime. Look out for damsel and dragonflies in the stream and bog pools, and otters and shore birds along the coast.
The route can be muddy in places and some of the paths are faint. In case of doubt just head out towards the Rubha Mor peninsula.
1. Park at Cuil Bay towards the end of the road.
2. Walk along the edge of the shore line along the grassy path by the fence line. Pick up the track just beyond the bench. At the junction keep left leaving the alder copse behind and head onto rough grassland.
3. Pass by a stone building and follow a faint path over rough grassland and over a rocky outcrop and then skirts around the edge of the shingle bay. When you come to a stream crossing the shingle beach there is a small path on the right after crossing the stream leading inland. Take this path.
4. This small path soon joins a larger path heading North. Keep left at this junction and then take another left just beyond a rocky outcrop in view of a stone building in the distance on the right. This is just one of a few alternative paths that traverse the Ardsheal peninsula and head towards Rubha Mor. If you head out in the direction of the peninsula you will eventually find the path heading out to the end of Rubha Mor.
5. At the end of the peninsula take time to admire the fine coastal views.
6. Retrace your steps, turning right by the edge of the stream following the outbound route. Alternatively continue on the path and cross the stream ahead and continue on this route.
starting grid ref:
- there and back