Welcome to our Wester Ross travel guide! Plan and book your perfect holiday with local tips, places to stay, things to do, holiday inspiration & destination info.
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Wester Ross is a loosely defined area on the west coast of Scotland which includes the major villages of Lochcarron in the south and Ullapool in the north. Gairloch is about halfway between them on the coast. The area is renowned for its incredible scenery of mountains, sandy beaches, lochs and forest.
Wester Ross (known as Taobh Siar Rois in Gaelic) is in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. The area is generally defined as lying to the west of the main watershed of Ross (the eastern part of Ross being Easter Ross), and so is the western half of the county of Ross and Cromarty. The main settlements include Achiltibuie, Achnasheen, Applecross, Aultbea, Dundonnell, Gairloch, Kinlochewe, Kyle of Lochalsh, Laide, Lochcarron, Plockton, Poolewe, Shieldaig, Torridon and Ullapool.
The best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do on your Wester Ross holiday.
If seeing the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) is your priority, winter is the best time to go. You will have more hours of darkness to enjoy the star-filled skies and, if you’re lucky, the lights.
Winter is also a less popular time of year so there will be fewer tourists. It could snow in winter and the mountain peaks will probably be covered in white which is very picturesque. Winter weather conditions will affect high roads, such as the famous Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle) winding single track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula.
May and June are good months for seeing breeding birds including eagles.
Want to see the incredible spectacle of the wild flowers on the machair in the summer? Plan your trip for July and August. You also have more chance of seeing whales and dolphins during the summer.
In the summer you will also find cultural events including local Highland Games, Gaelic singing festivals.
As with anywhere, it can be hard to get accommodation at short notice during the summer holidays. Scotland’s school holidays run from the start of July to mid-August.
The midges are out and about in the summer but be prepared and they probably won’t bother you too much.
As the nights start to draw in birds either migrating south or fleeing the approaching Arctic winter.
The Wester Ross area is easy to reach by car being about 5 hours north from Edinburgh or Glasgow and around 2-3 hours drive west from Inverness Airport. You can hire cars from various companies in the Scottish Highlands & Islands including local businesses and Hertz UK and Thrifty UK.
You can travel by rail on the Kyle line from Inverness and stop at Plockton and Strathcarron. The journey takes approx. 2 hours 40 minutes.
Trans Pennine Express – check timetables and fare prices for anywhere in the UK. On this website you can buy rail tickets in advance to get the best deals. They don’t charge booking and credit card fees unlike some other websites.
The Caledonian Sleeper service is an overnight train service running between London and Scotland. It leaves from Euston station in London and there is a Highland route which serves the Highland destinations of Fort William and Inverness plus Aberdeen, visiting various stations on the way.
The two main airports in Scotland are in driving distance of Wester Ross:
There are also the local airports of:
You can book flights or find out more information on the Flybe website.
You can travel from the Outer Hebrides to Wester Ross by ferry. The crossing is run by Calmac (Caledonian MacBrayne) and is:
Find out more on the Calmac website.
If you prefer to travel without a car or fancy a day off from driving, there are several options including public transport.
Cycling is a popular activity in the park. Bring your own bike or hire a bike.
Taxi hire is available.
Hiking is a great way to explore the area and there are lots of walks for all abilities.
Cycling has grown in popularity on the quiet roads of the Outer Hebrides. Bring your own bike and use one of the bike and bag transfer services or cycle the Hebridean Way on an organised cycling tour. You can also hire a bike for a less demanding day tour. See our outdoor activities and sports section for cycling hire and bike tours and holidays.
We hope these tips for things to do on the Outer Hebrides have inspired you to start planning your holiday. Also on our website, you can find holiday accommodation on the Outer Hebrides and don’t forget to get your Outer Hebrides guide book from Amazon.