Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Ross and Cromarty > Knoydart
Knoydart is a peninsula in Scotland, an area of wilderness and great natural beauty which is on the west coast of Scotland, just north of Mallaig. Knoydart is renowned for its remoteness, and visitors come here to enjoy the tranquillity of a remote location.
The Knoydart Peninsula in Northwest Scotland comprises the Northern part of what is known as the Rough Bounds.
The principal village of the Knoydart Peninsula is Inverie. Other settlements on the peninsula include Sandaig and Airor.
There is no road to the Knoydart Peninsula, the two options to get there are boat to Inverie or to walk.
- Access to Inverie across Loch Nevis from Mallaig at the end of the West Highland Railway Line. a 30-minute boat ride from Mallaig. Loch crossings are operated by two ferry services:
- Bruce Watt Ferry. cruises operates one service, advertised on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry network (Mallaig-Loch Nevis service). Boats run three times a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There is normally a morning and an afternoon service on these days, so it is possible to do a day trip to Inverie, returning to Mallaig in the afternoon, but if you miss the ferry, you're stuck there for two days! In summer, the service is extended to Tuesday and Thursdays.
- Knoydart Seabridge. which sails seven days a week, transports not only passengers but also equipment and occasionally even vehicles. If you plan to visit from Edinbugh or Glasgow, note that the Knoydart Seabridge ferry service runs to coincide with the arrival time of the West Highland Railway. (You will have about 25 minutes to disembark from the train and walk from the railway station down to the port some 200m away before boarding the ferry). If you arrive in Mallaig in the evening you will have to stay overnight in order to make the ferry the next morning. Given the strict ferry times, it is important that you plan your visit in advance.
These two boat services are what the locals rely on - as well as some tourists each boat service also carries locals, their grocery shopping and the post for the peninsula. The loch is quite sheltered so crossings are usually relatively smooth in these small boats.
- Alternative services are provided by private boat operators including Knoydart Sea Bridge and Sea Knoydart.
- It is also possible to walk into Knoydart, a trek of 16 - 24 miles depending on the route taken.
- To Inverie is a 2-day hike from the nearest mainland road across country, which will require wild camping; you will be in a wilderness so a tent and some survival skills are required.
The Knoydart Peninsula offers ample walking, hiking and mountain-rambling opportunities. A road runs through the village of Inverie and off to other parts of the peninsula, but this road does not connect with the main road network. The only cars on these roads are owned by locals - legislation prevents non-locals from bringing cars to the peninsula.
Walking around and enjoying the unparalleled isolation of the place is a wonderful experience. If you plan to walk the local countryside you should bring a map - Ordnance Survey Map #413 is ideal. The local ranger service has a friendly walk-in office on the main village street - drop in for advice and local maps. If you visit during hunting season, it's only polite to check with the rangers about planned shoots to make sure you don't interrupt deer stalking. You won't get shot, but it helps land management if you avoid the shooting areas of that day.
There are several smaller hills (Marylins/Corbetts) immediately near the village which can be climbed in 3 or 4 hours - there are no paths so you have to negotiate rocks, heather and burns which slow you down.
- 1 Ladhar Bheinn. the most westerly Munro, is a more involved expedition and may 3 hours to reach, plus the climb and return.
A pleasant, more accessible walk is the path up to Loch an-Dubh Lochain, which can easily be visited in 2 hours. The path takes you through deserted countryside alongside the river, up to the Loch where you have breathtaking views over the Knoydart mountains.
The main attractions of Knoydart are peace and quiet. Activities are walking the local countryside and visiting the local pub in the evening.
Visitors staying a bit longer can arrange to do an RYA boat handling course with W A Marine & Environment; hire a boat to go fishing or visit the islands; take a ranger-guided tour of the area; or take part in a deer stalking party (during the season). Further information on all activities can be found through the Knoydart Foundation.
If you plan to self-cater, you must buy supplies in the shops in Mallaig. The village has a post office selling some basic items.
The Pier House restaurant also sells postcards, prints, maps, and books.
- 1 Knoydart Pottery and Tearoom, ☎ . is a pleasant little café on the main village street overlooking the loch, serving teas, coffees and light meals. Opening hours may be limited to ferry days.
- 2 The Old Forge, ☎ . Mainland Britain's most remote pub as according to the Guinness Book of Records. There is an excellent (if slightly pricey) menu of well-presented food. Don't miss the local seafood. The manu is dependent on local supplies brought by the ferry - when they run out, they run out. Where else can you hear "we haven't got any Coca-Cola, we're waiting for the boat to come in"?
- 3 Doune Dining Room, Doune, ☎ . This restaurant is possibly unique in that is only accessible by boat or by a long hike across country. It is located on the western tip of the peninsula and advance booking, as you may guess, is essential.
See The Old Forge pub above.
A comprehensive list of places to stay can be found on the Knoydart Foundation website.
- Creag Eiridh, +44 1747 852289 (On Loch Nevis, 15 minutes walk from Inverie). 4-bedroom holiday house to rent
There is no mobile phone reception on the peninsula.
The only transport out of Knoydart is the next ferry back to Mallaig - bear in mind that you may have to wait two or three days, depending on timetables, so plan your visit in advance (see Get in section above). Alternatively, if you are equipped with a tent and survival skills, you could always walk back, which will take two days.
- South to Mallaig, Arisaig and Glenfinnan and on to Fort William
- West to Skye (via Mallaig unless you have your own boat).