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Day trips from Dornie

Hello everyone!

Now that I have settled on a home-base, I will have 4 full days for some day trips from Dornie. While I will have a car, I would entertain other options as I am not so sure how I feel about driving in this unchartered territory!!! (not sure why, I drive the streets of DC, Baltimore, Philly, Interstates, and other crazy US roadways!).

Things I know I want to see (and open to more suggestions):

Loch Maree, Isle Maree
Pretty much all of Skye

Things I am interested in:

Ancient/historic/meaningful places: Brochs, Standing stones, Castles, Burial Places, 'fairy pools', bridges, cemeteries, etc. - any of which could be a day trip back and forth from Dornie.

I am renting a car in Ft. William and will be driving to Dornie, and could make that part of the experience.

I am told that the train from Kyle of Localsh to Inverness is quite stunning. The Inverness area is interesting to me (Culloden, etc.) so that could be included too.

Again, I have 4 full days which could turn in to four different adventures...

Any ideas/suggestions are most appreciated. This would be the 1st week of October.


Posted by
2928 posts

In Dornie you're not too far from the Glenelg ferry. We didn't ride it, but the reviews from people who have are very enticing.

On Skye our top priority was Dunvegan Castle and we weren't disappointed. A sidelight was overhearing a middle-aged man try to talk his way in for free because he had a connection to the MacLeod clan, he said.

There's a dizzying drive up the mountain behind Eilean Donan that gives you a commanding view of where the three sea lochs come together.

The Dornie Hotel has a nice pub/restaurant that is popular with locals. I think it would be a good place to have a drink if you want to chat up some people who live in the area.

If you have time on your way out of Ft. William, stop at Neptune's Staircase in Banavie. It's interesting.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, Scato,

To add to epitd's post, that road to the Glenelg ferry is really spectacular. You can take that road to get to Skye, then return over the Skye Bridge once you've finished visiting the island.

The road leads off the A87 at Shiel Bridge. After passing the hamlet of Ratagan, you head straight uphill over Mam Ratagan. Near the top is a viewpoint where you can get spectacular views of the Five Sisters of Kintail. Once you head down the other side, you'll come to the turnoff for the ferry. However, you should keep going to the village of Glenelg, and visit the Glenelg brochs, which are among the best preserved on the mainland. If you're a fan of Gavin Maxwell ("Ring of Bright Water"), you could continue down the road to the (very small) car park for the walk down to Camusfearna (Sandaig), which was Maxwell's mainland home until he moved to Eilean Ban, the island that you cross over on the Skye Bridge. There is a memorial to Edal the otter at the foot of the path to Camusfearna. The original house burned to the ground many years ago, but you can see why Maxwell chose this isolated spot overlooking the Sound of Sleat.

Returning to the Glenelg ferry, it's the best way to cross to Skye now that the old Kyle ferry is gone. (Cue Sir Harold Boulton) It's supposedly the last operating turntable ferry in the world. It holds four to six cars, depending on the size of the car. Well worth the effort to get there, and the road to Glenelg will prepare you for the Bealach na Ba. I've been on the ferry four times over the years, and although the journey is short, it's something you'll never forget.

Best wishes for your travels. Don't forget to visit Plockton, and also Duirinish for the Highland cows.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
590 posts

To add to what the others have already said, the Glenelg ferry is wonderful. It's £15 (cash) each way but only runs from Easter until October, so you'll need to check it's running as I'm not sure when in October they close up for the season.

The Fairy pools are (in my humble opinion) rather overrated and overcrowded, but there are some similarly lovely small cascades and pools on the track running south from the Glenbrittle campsite. Check out this site for that walk and others in the Highlands. Walk Highlands

If you haven't driven single track roads before then check out this little video for guidance on how to do that including passing place etiquette and stopping to let faster traffic pass you.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, Scato and Jacqui,

I just went on to the Glenelg ferry website to find out when in October they shut down for the season. Apparently it's flexible, and depends on tides and weather. HOWEVER, I did find out that they're having a big 50th. anniversary birthday bash this Saturday, August 31st., in Glenelg, to celebrate 50 years of the ferry in operation.

So if any visitors to this forum are anywhere near Glenelg this Saturday at noon, be sure to join in the celebration, and report back to us!


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
590 posts

As it happens some very good friends of mine live very close to the ferry and are planning to go to the 'bash' this Saturday. I'd go myself but I have a rehearsal with the Skye and Lochalsh Orchestra which is going to clash (pardon the pun) with the event. I hear there's going to be a barbecue and some live music. Should be good.

And yes, I should have said that the precise closure date for the ferry in October is very much weather (and I suspect, demand) dependant.