Achmelvich and Port Alltan na Bradhan.

Start. Achmelvich.

Route. Achmelvich - Gleannan an Fheadair - Alltan'abradhan - Port Alltan na Bradhan - Alltan'abradhan - Gleannan an Fheadair - Achmelvich Beach - An Fharaid Bheag - Hermits Castle - Achmelvich.

Notes. Ever visited paradise, we have it's a little slice of Scotland, it goes by the name of Achmelvich in the Northwest Highlands. Not a village nor a settlement but a camp site and a small collection of stunning dune backed beaches, nestled amongst low lying hills clad in heather with much of the bedrock breaking through the shallow top soil. One or two dwellings dot the hillside, but that's it. You must keep this place to yourself, “mums the word”.

We began this walk following the track leaving the beach car park, a finger-post invited us to Alltan'abradan, with a good track under foot we wandered into stunning scenery, just after a number of houses tilted into view we joined another signed path emerging from the left, this is an ancient track, probably the old road built to service the mill at Port Alltan na Bradhan. This age-old trod guided us up hill, meandering through beautiful scenery. We passed a few modern holiday homes and a deserted croft at Alltan'abradan before descending to a long abandoned corn mill. Mills such as this once littered the Highlands and Islands, in use between 1600 and 1800, mill stones littered the site, a few low walls remained and the leat that carried water to drive the paddles that powered the mill stones, a poignant reminder of a past way of life.

From the mill a burn guided us until it spilled into the sea at Port Alltan na Bradhan, a small very sheltered cove where turquoise water laps silver sands and cliffs rise on two sides. We sat and had lunch, relaxed a while letting the day slip away, the place was ours, ours to enjoy alone. With full stomachs, clear minds and a little sun tan with reluctance we re-traced our steps to Achmelvich, took a short detour up a low heather clad hill into staggering vistas before exploring one of Achmelvich's stunning arcs of white sand. Our short outing wasn't quite over yet, oh no we were off to find an oddity.

To the west of the camp site hidden amidst low lying hills with views over the ocean lays a “hermits castle”, an odd little building built in the 1950s, nobody seems to know why, I'd drawn a blanc, that was until I met Betty the Lochinver Post Mistress, the local oracle. She was keen to fill in the gaps, this strange building was built as a nuclear fallout shelter, room for one, the last man or woman in Scotland.

view route map.


Looking to An Fharaid Bheag across Achmelvich Bay.

Over Achmelvich Bay the grey finger of Rubha Leumair, our destination Port Alltan na Bradhan lays hidden behind the smaller headland to the right.

Also hidden this small lochen backed by the cliffs of Cnoc na Creige.

Sue stops to drink in the scenery.

A little height gained and bigger vistas tilt into view, Enard Bay seen over Achmelvich.

Peering over the horizon the famous mountains of Assynt, Canisp, Suilven and Stac Pollaidh.

The old ways ar the best, our route through Achmelvich's stunning scenery.

Alltan'abradhan what remains of a grain mill, there are several old mill stones scattered around the building, they were turned by means of a horizontal paddle powered by water.

Wonderful sheltered cove, Port Alltan na Bradhan, and best of all we have it to ourselves, why not be selfish.

What better place to sit and let the day slip away.

Looking back to Port Alltan na Bradhan.

Suilven over Alltan'abradhan.

Enjoying stunning views from an unnamed top overlooking Achmelvich, across the horizon Cul Mor, Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh.

Same top another super view, seen across Achmelvich Bay, An Fharaid Bheag with Soyea Island guarding the mouth of Loch Inver.

Suilven up close.

Again the old ways are the best, the track that guided us in and is now safely leading us back.

Hidden in the folds of coastal scenery, slap bang in the middle of the shot, Port Alltan na Bradhan.

Achmelvich Beach looking to the rocky tops of Cnoc na Creige and it's near neighbor Cnoc nan Sac.

The Hermits Castle an architectural oddity, built to protect the occupier from nuclear fall out.

Stunning views down the ragged edge where land meets sea, on view to anyone whom visits the Hermits Castle.

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