Achiltibuie is a community straggling along the west coast of Ross and Cromarty, north of Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands. As well as Achiltibuie itself, the name (which in Gaelic means "field of the yellow-haired boy") applies to all the coast between Achduart and Reiff, taking in the hamlets of Polglass, Polbain and Altandhu.
Follow A835 north from Ullapool or south from Ledmore (the junction with A837) to the turn-off at Drumrunie; then take the narrow single-track lane west. There's no through road along the coast from Ullapool, though the historic "postman's path" came this way via Ardmair and you can hike the ten miles. You can also drive south from Lochinver along a twisty, hilly, narrow but scenic and well-tarmacked lane.
KSM Bus 811 runs from Ullapool to Achiltibuie, twice M-F and once on Saturday, taking 80 mins.
See Ullapool for buses to Inverness and ferries to Stornoway on Lewis.
You'll need a car or bike, or be a hard-core hiker.
- 1 Inverpolly Nature Reserve is the area centred around Loch Sionasgaig and Knockan Crag, a National Nature Reserve and SSSI. It's part of the North West Highlands Geopark and contains the Moine Thrust, which puzzled 19th C geologists because much older rocks lay over relatively younger. It's a product of plate tectonics, which had shifted the older rocks 40 miles west.
- Boat trips run to 1 The Summer Isles, a mile offshore, from 2 Bardentarbet Pier by Polglass. Trips also run from Ullapool.
- 1 Stac Pollaidh. If you're fit, go up and along its delightful ridge or go around if only moderately fit
- 2 Ben Mor Coigach is the Table Mountain of this area, a six-mile ridge of Torridonian sandstone weathered into striking shapes. The summit is 743 m / 2438 feet, very prominent as it rears up from sea level. The simplest approach is to drive to the road's end at Culnacraig and ascend from the southwest. It can also be climbed from the car park at Bleughasary from the southeast. Trying to traverse the ridge, to ascend one way and descend the other, is much harder than it looks, with bogs, fast streams and scrambles; allow at least four hours.
- 3 Achnahaird. is a lonely village and beach along the lane between Achiltibuie and Stac Pollaidh.
- Rock climbing: Rieff has sandstone sea-cliffs suitable for all levels of ability. A rock-climbing festival was held here in Oct 2018, with introductory and competitive climbs; it's not been announced whether this will be repeated.
- 1 Achiltibuie Garden (on the road south towards Polglass), ☎ . Apr-Oct M-F 10:00-16:00. Garden Centre for soil- and hydroponic-based semi-tropical plants and others; the centre runs "off-grid". From the 1980s to 2011 this was the "Hydroponicum" visitor attraction, but that's long been closed and demolished.
- The Summer Isles Smokehouse at Altandhu is famous for its smoked venison, lamb, beef, eel, haddock, sea trout and five varieties of smoked salmon.
- 1 Am Fuaran, Altandhu (on coast north of Achiltibuie). meals daily 12.30PM - 2.30PM; M-Sa 6PM - 8.30PM Su 6PM - 8PM, bar 12.30AM -11PM or longer.. is a seafood restaurant and bar. mains from £14.
- 2 Piping School Cafe, Old Village Hall, ☎ . 09:00-17:00. Coffee, cakes, and lunch fare.
- Summer Isles Hotel (see "sleep") has a good restaurant, only open in summer.
- Catch your own mackerel off Badantarbet Pier and cook it fresh on a barbeque.
- Am Fuaran and the Summer Isles Hotel are the only bars.
- 1 Acheninver Hostel. (former SYHA) has dorms, a pod and private doubles.
- Bracken Brae, Bruaich Rainich (Polbain), ☎ (booking number in Southampton). Self catering detached crofthouse overlooking the summer Isles and Torridan mountains. Sleeps 4+ baby.open all year. Welcomes children and dogs £412 - £685 per week.
- 2 192 B&B, Polbain, ☎ . Comfortable, friendly accommodation overlooking the summer isles and the hills of Torridon. Open all year.
- 3 Castlehill (self catering sleeps 6), Polbain, ☎ . Tastefully modernised croft house with panoramic views over the Summer Isles to the Torridon hills. from £300.
- Greenhill, 114 Achiltibuie, ☎ . Extended crofters house in its own grounds with great views over the Summer Isles and direct access to the sea shore. Sleeps 2-6 people and available to rent by the week for self-catering accommodation.
- 4 Summer Isles Hotel (Achiltibuie, IV26 2YQ), ☎ . Hotel & restaurant re-opens from April 2019, the bar is occasionally open through winter.
The Post Office at Achiltibuie is the contact point for information and booking for the Summer Isles boat. +44 1854 622200
- Take a boat across to the Summer Isles, where you can rent a cottage.
- To go north, if the weather's decent take the twisty back lane to Lochinver.
- Otherwise it's back to the main road for routes towards Ullapool, Inverness and Durness on the north coast.