Knoydart ... the last wilderness in Europe.
What makes a wilderness? Land which is vast and impenetrable, wild and hard to reach? If so Knoydart lives up to the claim.
There was a big swell on the way from Malliag to Loch Nevis which was most enjoyable.
It usually takes three days to walk in to Inverie, the tiny village on the edge of the sea and the vast peninsula which is Knoydart. Days of demanding walking where it is important to use the correct map and a compass to get there without getting lost. Take a look at the Knoydart Foundation web site for sound advice on walking in.
For those of less active lifestyle there are the ferries from Malliag taking only half an hour or so depending on weather conditions. The Sea Bridge Knoydart powers across saving fifteen minutes and the competing ferry the Western Isles, Malliag travels at a more sedate pace and often goes on to Tarbet, Loch Nevis and to seal island.
If you love magnificent landscapes a sail from Inverie on Knoydart down loch Nevis is recommended. We saw two golden eagles and a huge herd of Red Deer on our journey. If you are landing at Tarbet be prepared to climb down into a small boat and enjoy the wonderful experience of landing the way thousands of highlanders have done down the years.
Back in Inverie the community are lively looking after all the jobs they hold. Our Hostel Warden, Anna, was also leading a pony on the deer stalks. The Postman, Tommy, is also a Countryside Ranger taking us on wonderful walks through the woods around Inverie. Ten minutes walk from our Bunkhouse we saw a great herd of Red Deer on the neighbouring Kilchoan Estate. Tougher walks were available on other days.
Inverie ... a small community on the edge of wilderness.
The Tea Room and Pottery with the best view in the world must be in Inverie. Looking out across the sea towards Malliag fair takes your breath away. The food is delicious, tomato soup with a hint of chilli to die for and bacon rolls that make you want to come back for more. The staff are friendly and helpful, just as they should be.
The Knoydart Foundation is owned by the local community and Directors from the community are elected to ensure that the objectives of the Foundation are met. Inverie is not on the National Grid and has it's own local Hydro Electric Scheme with a back up generator to ensure that all the electricity is available when needed. Two of the three Hydro workers don't have Christmas and New Year off to make sure the power is available at this period of maximum demand.
View from the Western Isles on Loch Nevis.
There are many sources of accommodation from low cost “Bunkhouse”, which we used, to top of the range holiday accommodation. We were perfectly happy with ours. Clean, well equip kitchen and comfortable beds, a huge sitting room with a great big wood burning stove (which we did not use as the dining room was cosy) and pleasant and helpful staff. Others we met were equally happy with their accommodation in other premises.
We can recommend spending time on Knoydart. It feels every bit an island. It is fact a huge peninsula onto which you cannot take a car. The residents do have cars and most are vital to the work being undertaken.
Will ye no come back again? Of course. I think that you could easily become addicted to places as remote as Knoydart. No TV or Mobile phone reception is something you can very quickly get used to. It would be for some hell but for me and my friends Knoydart presented an opportunity to relax and chill!
Spotting Red Deer on the mountain from Loch Nevis.
Glasgow to Malliag by road allow four and a half hours.
Bus Glasgow to Malliag via Fort William. Use your Bus Pass however make sure that you book your seat both ways to secure your place on the journey.
By Rail Glasgow to Malliag is a very spectacular route.
Knoydart Foundation Bunkhouse operated by the Knoydart Trust. Basic self catering accommodation.
There is a range of accommodation available. Look at web sites on Knoydart.
The Old Forge, Inverie is the most remote mainland pub in Britain – we did not frequent it is however highly recommended for excellent ales and food by those who did. Good atmosphere.
Ferry TSMV Western Isles from Malliag to Inverie 01687 462320.
Also sails to see scenery and wildlife.
Ferry Sea Bridge Knoydart Ferry. From Malliag to Inverie. 01687 462 916.
I was confused so it is useful to know that there are two ferry operators providing the service to Knoydart in competition with each another. By the time I had made a number of telephone enquiries, because of the stormy weather, I am sure that we were unwittingly booked on both boats!
Knoydart Pottery and Tea Room, Inverie. 01687 460191. Recommended.
Happy walkers on the home straight with Tommy the Postman.