Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide
Keep your eyes peeled in Garbh Eilean
It’s easy to reach this hide, just a short stroll from the car park, where you can soak up superb Loch Sunart views as you watch for the local wildlife. Common seals often bask on the shores of Garbh Eilean (the ‘Rough Island’), and there is a heronry on the smaller island beside it.
There are binoculars and a telescope at the hide and on Mondays from Easter to October you’ll find our knowledgeable rangers there too, so you’ll get an even better view of whatever’s out there as well as being able to talk to an expert.
The car park can hold five cars, and the short trail down to the hide is suitable for everyone.
There is more parking and a picnic bench suitable for visitors with wheelchairs at nearby Ardery.
The hide has bench seats and viewing openings to look through, with binoculars usually available.
Grab a refreshment
Go to Strontian for food and drink, shops, fuel, and public toilets.
Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide Trail
A short stroll through the oak trees to a magnificent wildlife hide above Loch Sunart's rocky shore.
Wide, smooth gravel surface with a moderate slope. Includes a section of boardwalk out to the hide.
¼ miles / 0.3 km Allow ¼ hour
There are panoramic views from the attractive wooden hide, which overlooks two small islands. Common seals often bask on Garbh Eilean, the 'rough island', and herons gather on the other, while many seabirds are passing visitors. Sit back, enjoy the views and, if you're lucky, you might spot otters and sea eagles fishing in the loch and golden eagles soaring overhead.
Mountain biking trails
Watch out for wildlife
There have been many sightings of otters and pine martens from the hide. Look on the smaller of the two islands for a large heronry. At different times of the year you should also see a range of seabirds over the loch and, if you’re lucky, rarer species such as golden eagles and white tailed eagles.
The distinctive hide was built by local people, using locally grown and milled wood. It blends in beautifully with the landscape.
Marvel at the woods
The shores of Loch Sunart are home to some of the finest temperate oakwoods in the British Isles. These are remnants of an extensive band of coastal woodland that once stretched down the Atlantic coast of Europe from Norway and Scotland as far as Spain and Portugal.
These semi-natural woodlands are home to some of Europe’s best collections of lichens, mosses and liverworts. The clean air, moist climate and long continuity of woodland cover produce ideal conditions for these fascinating lower plants (plants which do not flower). On the edges of the Sunart oakwoods in early summer, you might also be lucky enough to spot the rare chequered skipper butterfly.
The Atlantic Oakwoods here are nationally important. Forestry Commission Scotland and other landowners and communities are working in partnership as the Initiative Sunart Oakwoods to conserve and restore this endangered habitat.
How to get here
From Strontian, take the A816 west for about 5¼ miles (8.5 km). Garbh Eilean car park is on the left at grid reference NM 742 623.
PH36 4HY is the nearest postcode.
There are buses from Fort William to Kilchoan via Strontian and Salen every day except Sunday, which pass Garbh Eilean car park. Check timetables at Traveline Scotland.
Want more trails?
Just beside Strontian, beautiful trails wander through classic oakwoods beside a rushing river at Ariundle. On the edge of the village, Phemie’s Walk leads through giant conifers to dramatic views over Strontian and Loch Sunart.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.