There are many scenic walks in the area to suit all tastes and fitness levels. Many of the walks can be started from Mingarry Lodges; others are within a short drive of Mingarry.
Some of our favourite local walks include:
The High Mingarry Walk is a pleasant walk from Mingarry Lodges to the deserted settlement of High Mingarry along a forest track and up into the hills. High Mingarry consists of a scattered group of ruined buildings and enclosures in a natural depression in the hills enclosed by a head dyke. The walk offers spectacular scenery with great views over Ben Resipole, one of the most westerly Highland Corbetts (845m). It is also a great place for butterfly and dragonfly stalking. The forested track skirts Mingarry Burn for a short distance and there are some fine specimen conifers. Some of the forestry plantation has also recently been felled to reveal the remains of the ancient woodland; look out for the impressive ancient oaks on route in this enchanted forest. Red deer roam in the hills and ravens and buzzards soar above. This is one of our favourite short walks, full of interest and enchantment. A great place for immersing yourself in the history and beauty of this wild landscape.
The Blain Burn walk is a lovely walk from Mingarry Lodges passing through deciduous woodland and open heath, and affording some fine hill and coastal views. The route takes you by three lovely lochans and along the banks of the River Shiel. There is an opportunity to take a short detour to the ruins of Castle Tioram on the tidal island of Eilean Tioram, the former stronghold of Clanranalds. Stroll down the road from Mingarry Lodges for 500m and take the track at Blain Bridge through the woods into the hills. Take time to explore the lochans at the top and follow the track down into Dorlin and Castle Tioram. You are rewarded with amazing views over Eilean Shona. Walk back through Dorlin along the banks of the River Shiel. Take time to enjoy the sounds of curlew and oystercatchers, scan the hills for golden eagle and look out otter and white-tailed eagle along the River Shiel and Loch Moidart.
The walk to the Singing Sands near Kentra is an enjoyable walk to a beautiful isolated beach (Camus an Lighe). Park in the small car park at the end of the road to the small township of Arivegaig. The starting point, Arivegaig carpark, is 2km from Mingarry Lodges; alternatively take a pleasant cycle ride over Kentra Moss to Arivegaig.
Follow the track along the shores of Kentra Bay through the coniferous plantation to the sandy beach. Kentra Bay contains a large expanse of mudflat at low tide and small fragments of salt marsh, sand dune and machair. It is a good place to see a variety of wading birds, ducks and, if lucky, otters. The walk along the forest track is pleasant and a good chance to look out for goldcrests, crossbills and coal tits. The beach is stunning and a great place for a picnic, beach-combing and exploring the rocky coastline. There are good views of the Small Isles. The beach and surrounding area was used for commando training during the Second World War and may contain unexploded munitions, so please take care. A battle associated with the 1745 uprising is also believed to have been fought here. The walk can be extended to Ockle for a strenuous, but scenic, long distance trek along the old crofter’s path between Acharacle and Ockle. Both walks are ‘there and back’ walks.
The Salen Alphabet Trail provides an interesting introduction to the importance of nature and plants to the Gaelic culture. The information boards in the car park introduce the Gaelic alphabet with each letter being associated with a species of tree. Take the left hand path around the lochan (Lochan na Dunaich) which is a good site for dragonfly spotting in the summer. Once you have looped round the lochan, take the track leading uphill through a forestry plantation and onto open heathland. The path provides fantastic views of Ben Resipole and Loch Sunart. Look out for buzzards, ravens and golden eagles, and the tracks and signs of pine marten and, possibly, wild cat. Return by the same forest track. There is also a covered rustic outdoor ‘school’ (Salen Forest School), a composting loo and picnic bench on site.
A pleasnt walk to view St Finan's Isle (also know as the Green Isle) from the Jetty at Dalilea. This short walk skirts the banks of the Loch Shiel, initially along a well defined track and then through pasture heading towards the old stone jetty to the isle, along the old coffin route. St Finan resided on the island and was responsible for spreading the Christian faith to the locals of the northern and southern banks of Loch Shiel, and further afield. This tradition was continued by other missionaries from Iona for many centuries after his death. The island is also an ancient burial place for the chiefs of Moidart and a site of pilgrimage for the penitent. The burial ground still contains many of with ancient crosses, as well as the remains of an old church, ruined since the 1700s.
A lovely walk through Ariundle Oakwoods (a National Nature Reserve) at Strontian, which can be extended to take in the former lead mines at Bellsgrove via Ceann a’Chreagain. The route traverses and follows the River Strontian for a short while (providing an opportunity to spot dippers) before heading back into the ancient oak woodland, and then up onto moorland and scree of the old mine works. The mines were worked in the 18th century and lead to the discovery of the element strontium from the mineral strontianite. The path loops round and returns back to the gravelled track, from which there is an optional footpath to a ruined croft house. There are some interpretation boards on route explaining the history, culture and wildlife of the area. The Ariundle National Nature Reserve is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year.
There are number of shorter walks in Strontian, including the Strontian Community Walk and Phemies Walk.
An interesting and scenic walk along the shores of Loch Moidart with the possibility of seeing otters and a range of coastal birds. Good views are afforded of the deserted township of Port a’ Bhata (the bay of boats), the island of Eliean Shoan and Castle Tioram ( the 14th century strong hold of the Clanranalds). Along with many other townships, Port a’ Bhata supported a whisky distilling industry, with barley imported from Tiree and Uist, until the introduction of licencing in 1780. The Silver walk got its name from a hoard of Elizabethan coins found during the construction of the path.
You can start the Silver Walk at Dorlin by either driving or walking to Castle Tioram from Mingarry Lodges. Parts of the Silver Walk also are incorporated into other routes, namely Blain Burn and Castle Tioram Walk
The walk is a fairly strenuous, long and ‘there and back’ walk through woodland, moorland and over a rocky shoreline. A great walk for a fine day.
The Salen Woodland walk is an interesting way-marked short circular walk, with a picnic bench and interpretation boards. The walk descends into a fine example of Atlantic oak woodland on the northern shore of Loch Sunart. The walk affords good views of Salen Bay and Loch Sunart. A good opportunity to explore ecology of the Atlantic oak woodland with its mixed ground flora and rich bryophytic and lichen communities.
The walk is an extension of the Alphabet Trail that skirts around Salen Bay on the shores of Loch Sunart.
A pleasant walk through the RSPB Nature Reserve at Glenborrodale on the north shore of Loch Sunart on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The walk passes through Atlantic oak woodland onto heath/moorland affording fine view of Loch Sunart. Scan the surrounding hills for raptors (such as golden eagle, merlin and buzzard); look out for a range of small passerines in the deciduous woodland (including redstart, skylark and warblers and flycatchers) and listen out for the evocative calls of oyster catcher, sandpiper and curlew on the mudflats of Loch Sunart. If lucky, you may catch a sight of red squirrel, otter, red deer and wild cat.
Information on these and other local walks (incuding more strenuous ones) can be found in the lodges on your arrival. Happy walking.