Get back to nature and enjoy eating in the open air with you family and friends. Forget all your troubles and pack up your picnic bag and head out West. Discover some of the most scenic places to dine out al fresco in The Ardnamurchan area.

Enjoy your cucumber sandwiches and scotch pie on the village green at Strontian, your smoked salmon and Scotch egg at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and nibble on your haggis or savoury vegetarian delights at Sailean nan Cuileag with coffee, tea, iron bru and cakes too...

These are our top picks of official picnic sites in the Ardnamurchan area with information on nearby facilities and activities to help you enjoy your day out when you are Wild About Ardnamurchan.

 

1

 ( Ardnamurchan Peninsula )
nearest village:  Kilchoan
grid ref: NM416674

No holiday in Ardnamurchan is complete without a visit to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Exhibition Centre. Pack a picnic and enjoy eating al fresco on the most westerly point on the British mainland. There are two small picnic sites with stunning views over the The Small Isles and beyond. Park by the cafe and shop and head off up the track towards the lighthouse and exhibition centre. One picnic site with two benches can be found by taking a small path to the left and the other can be found by following the path opposite the Exhibition Centre which heads below the lighthouse. Great places to look out for basking shark and other maritime wonders.

Be sure to take time to explore the lighthouse and exhibition centre (open seasonally) as well the ocean observatory below the bright red foghorn. The cafe, small shop and toilets are open during the daytime from April to October.


2

 ( Ardnamurchan Peninsula )
nearest village:  Kilchoan
grid ref: NM490636

Kilchoan Community Park is a great destination for a family picnic when you are way out west on The Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The Community Park and childrens' play area is situated next to the Kilchoan Community Centre where there is a cafe, tourist information and toilet and showering facilities. Your wee ones will have a great time playing in this wildlife themed park whilst you are getting down to some serious picnicking.

The village of Kilchoan also has a shop, petrol station, two campsites and a hotel , as well as serving a ferry terminal for sailings to The Isle of Mull. If the Community Centre is closed, there are also toilet facilities by the ferry terminal, and toilet and showering facilities near the village store.


3

 ( Morvern )
nearest village:  Lochaline
grid ref: NM606465

Enjoy a sandwich and a drink in the Forestry Commission picnic site at Clach na Criche overlooking The Sound of Mull. However, watch out for the ancient rock monster lurking a few metres further along the wee road from Lochaline to Drimnin!

For the brave of heart, the rock monster grants wishes and, according to local folklore, if you fill your mouth with water from the local spring and pass through the eye of the wishing stone three times without touching the sides or swallowing the water your wish will come true.

The nearby village of Lochaline has a shop, restaurant, cafes and toilet facilities. It is also the ferry terminal to Fishnish on The Isle of Mull. Caisteal nan Con (The Castle of The Hounds) is couple of miles further along the road towards Drimnin and the ruins are well worth exploring at low tide.


4

 ( Morvern )
nearest village:  Lochaline
grid ref: NM668517

Delve into the history of the Highland clearances and listen to Mary's story at one of the interactive interpretation points as you walk around the deserted village of Aoineadh Mor. This Forestry Commission site a great place for a well signposted walk through the low hills of Morvern overlooking Loch Arienas. You can continue along the wee minor road past Aoineadh Mor to Rahoy where you can walk or cycle along the shores of Loch Teacius all the way down to the shores of Loch Sunart.

There are picnic benches at the car park where you enjoy a picnic. There are also a number of viewpoints with benches on the walk around the village and through the woodland. Lochaline is the nearest village, some 6 miles away, where there is a shop, cafes, restaurant and public toilet facilities. Lochaline is also a ferry terminal for the Isle of Mull.


5

 ( Ardnamurchan Peninsula )
nearest village:  Salen
grid ref: NM681631

As you head out along the B8007 from Salen to Kilchoan and Ardnamurchan Point you pass by a small Forestry Commission picnic site at Camas Torsa on the shores of Loch Sunart. A great place to sit and admire the views of Loch Sunart watching out for otters.

There are two picnic benches is a spacious car park with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a family picnic. The village of Salen is nearby with a small shop selling local produce as well as serving some great coffee and cake.


nearest village:  Salen
grid ref: NM692644

Take a walk through the Atlantic oakwoods at Salen and around the small lochan, Loch Na Dunaich, on the Gaelic Alphabet Trail. Look out for the trees identified with the Gaelic Alphabet and learn about Gaelic culture and history from the interpretation boards in the car park. The Lochan is a great place for dragonfly stalking and butterfly bagging in summer, though watch out for the Kelpie! Loch Na Dunaich is also known as the 'Little Loch of Sadness' as, according to local legend, a Kelpie (a mythical water-horse) used to lure young children into the loch, never to return them...

There is a picnic bench with wheelchair access at the car park at the start of the Alphabet Trail, as well as a picnic bench on the south side of the road by the entrance to Salen Oakwoods with amazing views over Salen and Loch Sunart. The village of Salen is nearby with a characterful Inn and small shop and cafe by The Jetty.


7

 ( Sunart )
nearest village:  Salen
grid ref: NM701643

As you drive from Salen to Resipole and Strontian on the A861 you pass by the small Forestry Commission car park for Sailean nan Cuileag (The Bay of Flies). Stop off here for a lovely short walk through Atlantic oak woodland down to the shores of Loch Sunart. Look out for the wooden mushrooms on the shoreline, studded with 'wishing coins'. Take time to explore the coastline and salt marsh at low tide looking out for otters feeding on the rocks.

There is an interpretation board in the car park with a map of the walk together with a short history of the bay. There is a lovely picnic bench just by the car park on a small knoll with views over Loch Sunart. The picnic bench also benefits from a BBQ hotplate stand, so don't forget your sausages...


nearest village:  Acharacle
grid ref: NM721709

This picnic site on Drynie Hill on the A861 by Kinlochmoidart is popular with camper vanners with good parking facilities and great views over Glen Moidart. The picnic site is near to the start of the Ardmollich and Silver Walks along the shores of Loch Moidart and is a good place to stop off and admire the views as you tuck into your tasty snacks.

Turn up at night to enjoy the dark skies of Moidart and early in the morning to watch the sunrise over Glen Moidart.


nearest village:  Salen
grid ref: NM746618

The Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide on the shores of Loch Sunart is a great place to while a away a few hours looking out for otters, seals, eagles, terns, and other coastal wildlife. There are forestry commission car parks for the hide, one close by with disabled parking facilities and the other at Ardery, a short walk away through Atlantic oak woodland and heathland. Take time to explore the woods and reserve looking out for woodland birds and the elusive purple hairstreak butterfly in the oak canopy in late summer.

The two picnic benches at the car park at Ardery are a great place to enjoy lunch or a snack after a spot of otter watching. There is a BBQ hotplate on one of the benches for the more adventurous picnicker. There are interpretation boards at both car parks showcasing the local wildlife in the area.


nearest village:  Strontian
grid ref: NM814616

Strontian is a lovely picturesque village on the shores of Loch Sunart, with a vibrant community centred around a large village green. There are several shops in Strontian including a village store, post office, craft shops and a tourism information centre. There is also a cafe with sit in and take away service as well as public toilets.

The village green has a several picnic benches and interpretation boards set amidst majestic copper beech trees. A great place to enjoy a picnic with parking and toilet facilities close by. There is also a small play ground nearby for the children as well as a number of local walks including The Strontian Community Woodland, Phemies walk and The Fairy Walk to Ariundle Oakwoods. You can also take a walk along the banks of The River Strontian and on the shores of Loch Sunart on the lookout for otters, the infamous black duck of Strontian and other wildlife.


11

 ( Sunart )
nearest village:  Strontian
grid ref: NM826633

Immerse yourself in the Celtic rainforest at Ariundle as you enjoy a picnic with the pixies. Ariundle is a National Nature Reserve renowned for its Atlantic Oak woodlands strewn with mosses, lichens and ferns. There are walks through the woods and along the banks of the River Strontian, as well as a path up to the old lead mines in the hills.

Ariundle oakwoods is a great place for butterfly bagging with pearl bordered fritillary and chequered skippers on site. The Forestry Commission picnic bench by the car park and nearby track to the woods is one of the best places to look out for the chequered skipper as you enjoy your sandwiches and snacks.

The car park at Ariundle is around 2 miles from the village of Strontian where there are toilet facilities, a cafe and some shops. You can also take the Fairy walk along the banks of the River Strontian to the village and return to Ariundle through Anaheilt and Lower Scotstown on a pleasant circular walk.