The West Highlands is a great place to gaze at the stars. There are many places in Ardnamurchan where the dark skies afford wonderful opportunities for star gazing. Depending on the season, site and phase of the moon you will be able to observe a variety of cosmic objects including planets, star clusters and various constellations. If you are lucky you may also encounter a meteor shower caused by the passage of a meteor through our Solar System. The best days for star gazing are around a new moon.

On dark moonless nights, you will also be able to pick out the milky way which appears as a hazy band of light arching across the sky. The milky way is a barred spiral galaxy about 100, 000 light years in diameter and composed of 100 billion stars; our Solar System is located approximately 25,000 light years from the centre. The Milky Way is best seen in Autumn.

If conditions are favourable you may also be treated to a light show- The Aurora Borealis. Disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar winds result in electrically charged particles from the sun entering the Earth's atmosphere. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, undergo collisions with the gas particles in the Earth's atmosphere. The resulting ionisation and excitations causes light to be emitted of different wavelengths and complexity based on the composition of the atmosphere. The most common colour seen around Ardnamurchan is green, a result of relatively high concentrations of oxygen and the sensitivity of the eye to this colour. Check out AuroWatch UK to find out when conditions are conducive for an aurora sighting; you can sign up for an alert.

Grab your binoculars/telescope, star charts and astronomy apps and look to the stars. The universe awaits....



 ( Ardnamurchan Peninsula )
nearest village:  Acharacle
grid ref: NM684678

Loch Shiel Jetty in Acharacle has long served as a site to observe the night skies. The Jetty is located on the south side of Loch Shiel and is accessed via a minor road adjacent to the Loch Shiel Hotel. There is parking and a covered area at the end of the road.

Please be aware that the wooden jetty can be very slippy and it is best avoided.

Good views are afforded across Loch Shiel to the north from the bank side.


 ( Ardgour )
nearest village:  Ardgour
grid ref: NM983628

Sallachan Beach has been designated as a dark sky discovery site where you have an opportunity to see the milky way. The site is adjacent to the River Gour on the shores of Loch Linnhe and consists of a grassed area with gated access to Sallachan Beach. The site is readily accessible from the A861, and is approximately 2.5 miles form the Corran ferry terminal. Look out for the metal bridge across the River Gour ( NM 981 628). There is also a signpost to Sallachan on the opposite side of the road.

There are good viewing opportunities in all directions.

Further details can…


 ( Ardgour )
nearest village:  Ardgour
grid ref: NN017636

Corran Point has been designated as a dark sky discovery site where you have an opportunity to see the milky way. The site is located in Ardgour by the Corran ferry terminal, at the Corran Narrows, on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Park at Corran village and head towards the red brick building by the side of the Corran Lighthouse. The coastal site can be accessed via a metal gate and provides good viewing conditions in all directions.

Please take care to avoid vehicles queuing for the Corran ferry.

There are public toilets and a inn (The Inn at Ardgour) nearby. There is also an…