Hunting For Castles in Ardnamurchan

When we travelled north in August on our mammoth camping expedition, our first stop in Scotland was at Resipole, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

First, one incy-wincy rant: what on earth are drivers doing on those single track roads? If we’d encountered one or maybe two idiots speeding into blind bends on single track roads, we’d have shrugged it off, but no, there were positively hoards of idiots – is it a new pass-time, playing chicken, seeing who can drive the most people off the road?

Anyway, apart from that very small detail – what a marvellous place. I’d been there before when I was a young girl, and I could remember so much. We didn’t want to do a lot of driving, so instead, we got walking.

You'd love the view from Beinn Resipol - if only you could see it!

We walked up Beinn Resipol – the highest mountain in that area.

There were frogs everywhere – well, almost. But as it was also incredibly wet, I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised. Superb views as we went up, but cloud and rain spoiled the descent. At least the showers at the campsite were good and the laundry facilities meant that we could get our clothes dry too.

A prince perhaps?

Now I really don’t want to tell you how good the campsite at Resipole is, but in all conscience, I have to say that it is BRILLIANT – well, we loved it. But you probably wouldn’t like it, no honestly…

The girls were also treated to a walk to the Singing Sands, near Acharacle. This is a bit of a trek – about three miles each way, but the path goes along the edge of a bay and then through a pine forest that smells divine, so really it’s just part of the fun. And when you get there – what a delight. Glorious white sands. This is one of the gems of the Highlands. (Minor detail – no toilets, no cafe etc – naturally this is why it’s so gorgeous, but if you’re planning to go, it’s better to be forewarned – take you own refreshments and prepare yourself for a behind-the-bushes experience).

If you time it well, you can also enjoy fish and chips from the little chippie at Acharacle. Chips and a mug of tea after a long walk and playing on the beach – what more could you want.

One of the things I remembered doing as a child, was paddling in a loch, just in front of a ruined castle that sat in the water. I could remember the approach being along a very narrow road (even narrower than the usual single track efforts), and I thought it was on a road out of Strontian. So it was, that we all took off on the road to Pollock, but after mile of incredible views, you guessed it – no castle.

I’m now desperately trying to work out where it was. Do you know? I can remember walking in the water, picking up shells, whilst pine trees were being felled on the hillside above us, the trees would appear as if by magic, on top of the hill and then be dragged down on chains – very dramatic. But I don’t know where. The castle as I recall it was pretty decrepit, (I don’t think it was Tioram – that’s too well preserved), but I don’t think it could have disappeared in thirty years.

Still, we had a consolation prize – as we were leaving Pollock, two enormous and very beautiful deer popped out into the road and ran along it for a few yards, before detouring into the trees and instantly becoming invisible. It was verging on a mystical moment.

That wasn’t our only contact with elusive nature either – one evening, as the girls were getting into bed in their tent, we heard frantic movement. It turned out that a small lizard had taken up residence between the inner and the outer tent. As the girls weren’t too keen to share their tent, there followed a period of hilarious slap dash activity, culminating in said small lizard crawling up husband’s jumper sleeve – much laughter. All ended well, and small lizard was re-homed on a nearby wall.

Pub entertainment at The Salen Hotel

It was a fabulous few days, despite the lack of castles in the water. Ardnamurchan remains a relatively remote part of Scotland, but I’m glad we’ve introduced our children to the area, and I very much hope that we’ll be back again before too long. (I might fit bull bars to the front of the car though).

PS: Midges – LOADS, but you’re a sissy if you let that put you off.

Author: Anny

English countryside, old places, making art.

One thought on “Hunting For Castles in Ardnamurchan”

  1. Oooh, your blog is beautiful! (I’m such a geek for blog design.) Thanks for popping in at my place! Oh my, those narrow little roads! Makes me think of my poor Dad and his terrifying descriptions of driving in Wales.

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