If I could travel north every weekend, I would. And if I could choose, I’d go to Camusdarach beach, between the small settlements of Arisaig and Mallaig.
Although ‘famous’ thanks to the 1983 film Local Hero, the bay is tranquil and in off-season can be practically deserted. It may be far to go just to escape, but it’s worth it for the scenery and the seclusion.
The remote A830 will take you past looming hills and bottomless lochs, close to the photogenic ‘Harry Potter viaduct’ and finally to the lower coasts of Morar. Leave the road near here and stop the car at the beach car park. Across the wooden bridge, push through thick ferns and the path deepens through the dunes before you’re finally spat out onto the shining sands.
The initial view is stunning – but don’t stop there. Continue south and climb over the rocks, where you’ll discover two hidden beaches round the corner. From these short hilltops the views across to the Inner Hebrides are even more spectacular. See the flat cliffs and ‘sgurr’ of Eigg, Rum’s rolling hills and the jagged peaks of the Cuillin mountains on Skye.
Later, watch the Jacobite steam train arrive in the fishing port of Mallaig. As you walk through the town centre (which is really just one street) you’ll spot artists’ impressions of the Camusdarach vista: it’s rather iconic on the west coast.
Where to stay
If you don’t fancy camping at many of the nearby sites, try a local Arisaig B&B. Nightingale House offers a warm welcome, breakfast views of Eigg (no pun intended) and delicious home baking.
Where to eat
Watch from the window and you’ll see the chef sprinting back with a box of local langoustines… The Cornerstone in Mallaig boasts bustling views over the harbour, where you can spy the ferries and fishing trawlers swirling back and forth. Choose from haggis-stuffed chicken, beer-battered haddock, cod with herb oil and a selection of seafood specials.