Today, our first stop was the Ardnamurchan Natural History Visitor Centre in Glenmore on Ardnamurchan. The building is designed to attract a variety of wildlife. The illustrated panels explain the geological area and man’s role in shaping the wild landscape. It also focuses on the devastating effect that The Clearances, where hundreds of people were thrown off their farming land in the 1800s, had on the region.
Next, was the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse at Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point on the British mainland. We climbed 150 stairs to the top of the lighthouse for a tour with a lighthouse keeper who showed us around the tower and explained the history of the lighthouse in great detail. The 36-metre granite tower sits 55 metres above the rocks and was built and designed by Alan Stevenson (grandson of Robert Louis Stevenson) in 1849. Although the lighthouse operates automatically it still plays a vital role in navigating through an area of many islands, strong tidal streams and poor weather conditions and is the only lighthouse in the world designed in an ‘Egyptian’ style. The foghorn is no longer working but has been made into a viewing platform and the keepers’ cottages is now the museum where there are displays about Scottish Lighthouses and the flora and fauna of the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
The exhausting drive today was on a mostly dipping and winding single-tracked road with passing places which we used quite often as there was a huge amount of traffic. The round trip of over 100 kilometres took us around 7 hours including stops for lunch and our visits. The scenery is spectacular, and the drivers are so patient and courteous. Tonight, we decided to stay on a layby along the Sound of Arisaig again for our drive to Mallaig in the morning to catch the car ferry to Armadale on the Isle of Skye.