Drink in the sweeping views from Ard Hill
Drink in the fresh sea air and sweeping coastal views as you follow the gentle low-level trail around Ard Hill, near Balmacara Woods. Keep a look out for otters, seals and pods of dolphins in the tranquil waters of Loch Alsh below and buzzards and eagles above.
Find out more in our Forests of Lochalsh (PDF 3.6MB) leaflet.
There is a cosy café in the 18th century estate village of Balmacara Square beside the woods. Otherwise, head to nearby Kyle of Lochalsh for public toilets, parking, shopping and a range of places to eat and drink.
Ard Hill Circular
This newly-built trail loops through the trees to skirt the coast overlooking Loch Alsh.
Mostly wide grassy paths which can be muddy after rain. Some narrow, gravel sections with moderate slopes.
1 miles / 1.7 km Allow 1 hour
Follow the way-marked route from the car park. Keep a look out for otters, seals and pods of dolphins in the tranquil waters below and eagles and buzzards overhead.
Mountain biking trails
Gathering the clan
This hill on the very edge of the sea loch has an important place in local clan history. When the MacKenzies needed to be called together (usually in times of trouble), a barrel of tar would be set alight on top of the hill to alert the clan for miles around. The significance of this site is enshrined in clan history and commemorated in the MacKenzie clan crest, which shows a hill covered in flames.
Ard Hill is also special for reasons that date back further… millions of years further. There are examples here of the internationally important ‘moine thrust’. It was this unique rock formation that first helped 19th century geologists understand that the earth’s surface wasn’t fixed – rocks collided, lifted and buckled over time to form the landscape.
How to get here
How to get here
Ard Hill lies beside the A87 between Auchtertyre and Kyle of Lochalsh. Turn off the A87 at the Forestry Commission sign for Ard Hill.
IV40 8DH is the nearest postcode.
There are regular buses between Inverness and Skye that stop along the A87. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.
Head north to nearby Balmacara Woods for a gentle walk through attractive varied woodland or a trail that climbs above the woods for fabulous views over Loch Alsh, the Kintail mountains and Skye.
Alternatively head south to South Strome. This colourful mixed woodland lines the steep craggy slopes above Loch Carron – explore the trail here to enjoy spectacular loch and mountain views.
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