Location and area
Gracie’s cottage and Ardoch Bothy are both situated within the settlement of Achintraid, on the shores of Loch Kishorn, and are well served by transport links. Kishorn is about 90 minutes drive due West of Inverness and less than 2 hours drive from Inverness Airport.
This is one of the most beautiful areas in West Coast Highlands of Scotland, with rugged hills sweeping down into a sea loch and the Isle of Skye’s Cuillin Mountains in the distance. Many people come here just to relax in beautiful surroundings and ‘re-charge their batteries’. Others, including walkers, climbers, sailors, cyclists, fishermen, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts want to take advantage of the many outdoor possibilities available. The Isle of Skye bridge is under and hour away, opening up endless possibilities for those wishing to get to know Skye and it’s many attractions. The whole area is a ‘painters paradise’ and there are several Studios and Galleries to visit - including, of course, the Boat Shed Studio between Ardoch Bothy and Gracie''s Cottage.
Serious walkers can get to Torridon, with Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe (all over 3000ft) in about half an hour by car. There are numerous Munros within easy driving distance, and virtually unlimited local walks in beautiful country around Lochcarron, Kishorn, Shieldaig and Applecross. From both Ardoch Bothy and Gracie’s Cottage you can walk for miles and not see anyone else all day, once you get into the hills or out on the coastal paths.
The shore in front of both Ardoch Bothy and Gracie’s cottage has a good population of wildfowl, waders (oyster catchers, ringed plover and turnstones are numerous) and other sea birds including eider duck, herons, mergansers, terns etc. Seals are often visible from the shore, and otters occasionally make an appearance. In the summer months, you may well see dolphins and porpoises and hear the black-throated divers overhead as they fly to feed from their nests on the hill lochans inland. The Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve is a short drive away.
Attadale Gardens, opposite Lochcarron, are open to the public, and well worth a visit by those who appreciate lovely gardens. The National Trust gardens at Inverewe are world famous, and are under 2 hours drive from Kishorn.
BOATS AND BOAT TRIPS
Those who have their own canoes or kayaks (and who are experienced) are encouraged to bring them, as you can easily launch from the shore, and set off to explore Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron - perhaps stopping on Kishorn Island, on the way. Rowing boats, small sailing boats and canoes can be hired by the hour in Plockton. Also in Plockton, Calum operates his seal watching boat and, from Shieldaig, the Torridon Sea Tour Company offer short trips around Loch Torridon in their beautiful 40 foot custom built catamaran to see the spectacular coastline and scenery, or full day trips to the Isle of Rona, or the Shiant Islands for the more adventurous.
The area is well served with good places to eat. Starting close to home, the Kishorn Seafood Cafe is within easy walking distance and serves delicious local shellfish and crustaceans.
In Lochcarron (5 miles) you can eat in The Bistro, the Rock Villa and the Strathcarron Hotel.
The Carron Restaurant is just past Strathcarron, and well worth a visit (alongside, is the Carron Pottery and gift shop). The Applecross Inn (about 40 minutes along a particularly scenic route) has won several awards for it’s good food, and Judy Fish (the brilliantly named proprietor) is very welcoming and an excellent hostess. The Bealach Cafe, nearby, is excellent as is the cafe at the Torridon Stores. For special occasions we are fortunate in being within driving distance of some very good and well known restaurants including The Loch Torridon Hotel (about 30 minutes) and, on Skye, the Three Chimneys Restaurant and Kinloch Lodge owned by the well known cookery writer Lady Claire MacDonald.
Patterns of Light in Kishorn is a delightful small shop selling crafts and gifts. In Lochcarron (5 miles) the Spar mini supermarket sells most grocery and household items. Lochcarron Garage, in addition to petrol etc. sells food, fishing tackle and hardware and has a small bakery. They also hire cars, and bicycles. A fresh fish van will call on Wednesdays, if asked, and a mobile butcher calls on Fridays.