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Discover Wester Ross

Gairloch, a traditional crofting and fishing village, is situated 3 miles from Sands and has much to offer the holiday maker, including:

  • Grocery shops

  • Q guild butcher

  • Coffee shops & restaurants

  • Craft shops

  • Tourist Information office

  • Post office

  • Petrol station

  • Harbour (boat tours)

  • Leisure centre

  • Health centre

  • Dentist

  • Vet (twice a week)

The area surrounding Sands offers many varied and unique activities for the whole family. On the first Saturday of July every year Sands hosts the Gairloch Highland Gathering. With events including a hill race, heavy athletics and a pet parade, as well as a ceilidh and dance at night, it has become an annual highlight for locals and tourists alike and is the ideal opportunity to experience the vibrancy of the Gairloch Area.


Flowerdale Estate, the ancestral residence of the MacKenzies of Gairloch, is an area of outstanding beauty which incorporates a spectacular waterfall, an 18th Century house and plenty of exhilarating walks to suits all ages and abilities.

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, Scotland’s oldest reserve established in 1951, offers woodland trails and mountainous walks, all situated within the ancient pine forests surrounding Loch Maree. Famed for its wildlife you’re likely to spot deer, dragon flies, golden eagles and crossbills, or you may even be lucky enough to see a pair of nesting sea eagles. Loch Maree has many tales and legends surrounding it, and is rumoured to have been a site of importance for Saint Columba. If you visit Isle Maree you can see an ancient wishing tree and visit the graves of a prince and princess, but make sure you keep an eye out for Muc-sheilch, the loch’s very own monster!


Open all year round, Gairloch’s 9 hole golf course provides an excellent challenge to golfers of all abilities and holds frequent competitions open to visitors. Their licensed cafe serves meals and drinks, as well as stocking a selection of golfing equipment, and has panoramic views across Gairloch’s beautiful sandy beach towards the Isle of Skye.

Gairloch Harbour is home to many whale watching cruises that can take you around Gairloch Bay and into the Minch to spot whales, dolphins, porpoises, pelagic birds and even basking sharks. In nearby Badachro there are Shellfish Safaris where you can reel in your own creel full of lobsters and prawns, or why not take a trip on one of the many fishing cruises from the harbour that can cater for all ages and abilities.


For rainy days there are plenty of indoor activities too; Gairloch Leisure Centre offers a range of activities including archery, a climbing wall and badminton, and Poolewe Swimming Pool is only a 15-minute drive away. The Perfume Studio at Mellon Charles is Scotland’s only working perfume studio, and also has a cafe, gift shop and excellent views of Loch and Isle Ewe.

In nearby Poolewe the world famous Inverewe Gardens, established by Osgood MacKenzie in 1862, are famed for their exotic and colourful plants that come from countries as diverse as Tasmania, New Zealand and Chile. The gardens are situated in over 2,000 acres of National Trust land which also includes several trails and paths, as well as an onsite cafe and gift shop.

The Gairloch area has many sites of historical interest and our award winning museum explores the area’s history with exhibits including a croft house interior, a replica of a Highland shop and Rua Reidh Lighthouse’s original lens. In nearby Sheildaig the Fairy Lochs walk visits a memorial to a crashed WW2 bomber plane and the Sands Archaeological Trail has examples of prehistoric round houses, turf dikes and old run rig systems. For more information on the area’s history why not buy a copy of J.H. Dixon’s Guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree, available from the museum. Written in 1886 it includes details of the history, superstitions and folklore of the area and is considered by many locals to be a minor classic.

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