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Scotland West Coast Guide

Scotland's west coast is one of the richest areas of the UK's coastline, in terms of landscape, habitats and wildlife. Along its length you will find a wealth of stunning coastal views, secluded villages, unspoilt beaches and rich wildlife habitats. There are also some of the UK's best unknown seaside resorts and the UK's 4th largest city - Glasgow. There is certainly a great deal to see and do in this area and a visit is the only way to achieve this - so off you go! 

                                           Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye

The west coast of Scotland is amazing in terms of its environment and length - with its twisting, convoluted shape and myriad of islands, there is a great deal of coastline to consider. It is estimated that 60% of the total UK coastline lies within Scotland. This represents around 6000 miles of coast, taking into account all of the off-shore islands - the total length of the UK's coast is estimated to be around 11,300 miles.  So a rough estimate would suggest that around 50% of Scotland's coast lies within the western sector and 50% in the eastern sector - which would work out at around 3000 miles of coast in each sector. See map below. This rugged region offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventure which include; sailing and windsurfing, surfing, climbing and walking, cycling and you can even go whale watching off the western coast. To look for Scotland west coast hotels, guest houses, cottages and holidays - see the resort pages. 

 

  Scotland West Coast     Scotland West Coast     Scotland Islands 

               Scotland West Coast                                                          West coast islands                                                Hebrides beach

Transport 

Travelling to and from and within the west coast of Scotland region can be tricky as there are no routes that cover the whole region. The route into the region from England is the exception with the M74 going directly to Glasgow. After that you will need to navigate more carefully. The A75 will take you west to Stranraer. The main route north is the A82 out of Glasgow which will take you along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Take the A85 west to get to Oban. Staying with the A82 will take you to Fort William. Shortly after Fort William is the turn for Mallaig - the A830. Further up the A82 at Invergary take the A87 for The Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye. 

To go further north you now have a difficult decision to make. You can stay with the A82 which now crosses to the east coast to end at Inverness via Loch Ness - so you can do a bit of monster hunting along the way. You can then swing west again on the A9 and then the A835 towards Ullapool on the west coast. 

The alternative route, which stays closer to the west coast, is to head towards the Kyle of Lochalsh and take the A890 just after Dornie - heading north along Loch Carron. You should note that some of these roads are single track - with passing places - you need to keep your eyes open along these roads! There are several routes you can take via Shieldaig and Gairloch which will take you eventually to Ullapool more or less along the coast. Some of these roads have only been put in place fairly recently - the road along Loch Shieldaig is an example - it was built in 1975 before that the villages got about by boat! This road is an experience in itself - its better than any roller coaster ride! Beware of delivery vans coming towards you!

Our recommendation; - do both routes, one in and the other on the way back, they are both very rewarding in terms of scenery and exploration!

Great news - the toll on the Isle of Skye bridge has been suspended after much protest - it is now free to all! 

You will need to catch ferries to the islands of course - the main ferry operator along the west coast of Scotland is Caledonian MacBrayne, known locally as Calmac - www.calmac.co.uk

 

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Details of hotels, guest houses and cottages are on the resort pages. 

      

 

 

Map of the West Coast of Scotland


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  Southwest Coast Guide   South Coast Guide    South East Coast Guide   East Coast Guide                 

  Wales Coast Guide            North West Coast Guide         North East Coast Guide        

  Scotland East Coast Guide     Scotland West Coast Guide     Northern Ireland Coast Guide

 

 

 

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Ukcoastguide 2014