WESTER ROSS: TRAVEL GUIDE


Find great places to stay and things to do

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.

Where is Wester Ross?

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.

Best time to visit Wester Ross

The best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do on your Wester Ross holiday.

Winter

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.

Spring

May and June are good months for seeing breeding birds including eagles.

Summer

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.

Autumn

As the nights start to draw in birds either migrating south or fleeing the approaching Arctic winter.

How to get to Wester Ross

By car

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.

Travelling to Wester Ross by train

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.

Plan your train journey to Scotland

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.

Travelling to Wester Ross by coach

Megabus run coach services across the UK including to Inverness, Aviemore and Fort William. Find out more and book on the Megabus website. Citylink also run coach services.

Travelling by plane

The two main airports in Scotland are in driving distance of Wester Ross:

    • Glasgow airport
    • Edinburgh airport

There are also the local airports of:

    • Aberdeen
    • Inverness

You can book flights or find out more information on the Flybe website.

Travelling by ferry

You can travel from the Outer Hebrides to Wester Ross by ferry. The crossing is run by Calmac (Caledonian MacBrayne) and is:

    • Stornoway, Lewis – Ullapool

Find out more on the Calmac website.

Travel in Wester Ross

You can hire a car from a local car hire company and Hertz UK and Thrifty UK.

Car-free travel

If you prefer to travel without a car or fancy a day off from driving, there are several options including public transport.

Public transport

There are public bus services provided by Stagecoach and you can see timetables on their website. TravelineScotland.com is a useful searchable database for public transport timetables in Scotland.

Cycle hire

Cycling is a popular activity in the park. Bring your own bike or hire a bike.

Taxis

Taxi hire is available.

Walking

Hiking is a great way to explore the area and there are lots of walks for all abilities.

Cycle hire and cycling the Hebridean Way

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.

Plan your trip

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.

Walking

Maps

Ordnance Survey maps with free mobile download – various options are available for the area from Ordnance Survey and Amazon.

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