Our top 6 places in Assynt within walking distance of Inchnadamph
The Scottish Highlands have no end of spectacular places to visit, from Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter fans unite) to the magic of the Isle of Skye.
But there are also a number of wonderful places to see within walking distance of Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge – perfect for those who reached us by foot, or who perhaps want a break from driving along the NC500. We’ve listed them below, together with timings from the Lodge front door (we’ve walked these ourselves countless times!) to help you better plan your day.
Here are our top 6 places to visit on foot from Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge:
Loch Assynt & Assynt Old Parish Church – 10 mins
The parish church of Assynt existed in some form from around the 1700s – Assynt itself was first mentioned during the 13th century. The present church was erected in the 1740s and remained in use until 1972 – most latterly as a mission church.
The rector of the church lived across the road in Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge, when it was first built as a manse in 1821! Within the church yard is the burial ground of the MacLeod’s of Assynt, thought to date back to the 16th century.
Loch Assynt is a stretch of water over 6-miles long, running alongside the NC500 route. It’s the largest loch in the local area, and is surrounded by the spectacular heights of Canisp, Quinag and Beinn Uidhe mountains. There are tales of the Mermaid of Loch Assynt – as you wander around the shores of the loch near Ardvreck Castle, can you hear her distant wails?
Peach & Horne Monument – 10 mins
Known as the geologist’s mecca, Assynt includes some globally unique and significant geological features and welcomes geology students and enthusiasts from around the world. As Ambassadors of the Northwest Highlands Geopark, Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge sits within the heart of these discoveries.
During the early 20th century, famous geologists Ben Peach and John Horne lead geological excursions in Assynt, with nearby Inchnadamph Hotel acting as their base during their stay.
A monument to these lifelong friends and titans of geology that was erected in 1930 sits near to Assynt Church, overlooking the loch. It features Ben Peach sitting on a bench with John Horne standing, as if in the middle of a conversation. The inscription reads, "To Ben N Peach and John Horne who played the foremost part in unravelling the geological structures of the north west Highlands 1883-1897. An International tribute erected 1930."
It is a fitting tribute to the pair, particularly to remember their incredible geology expeditions in Assynt, complete with spectacular views across the Loch and over to Ardvreck Castle.
Ardvreck Castle & Calda House – 30 mins
Sitting amongst the Scottish Wilderness against the moody shores of Loch Assynt sit Ardvreck Castle and Calda House – truly beautiful and somewhat romantic ruins.
We’ve talked about Ardvreck Castle many times, and with good reason: with hundreds of years of history and the ruins of Calda House on the shores of Loch Assynt, there is so much to see and do that you could spend hours exploring.
During the 16th century, the modest stone tower was transformed into a much more extravagant tower house for the MacLeod’s of Assynt, before falling into disrepair during the 1700s and becoming the ruin you can see today.
Nearby Calda House is in much the same state: roofless and derelict, with half of the walls vanished entirely. However, when it was first built in the 1600s, it was a substantial and significant building, being the first of its kind with M-shaped gables in the north west of Scotland. Those eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that our very own Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge is built exactly the same way, mirroring Calda House.
Ruined by fire in the 1700s, it has spent longer in its current state than as a family home. Visitors can wander around the ruins, marvelling at the size of such a prominent house.
Traligill Caves – 45 mins
The river Traligill runs alongside the lodge driveway before flowing into Loch Assynt. Following it the other way towards Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge will eventually take you to the wondrous Traligill Caves, the largest cave system in Scotland. There are two caves known as Uamh an Tartair - the cave of the roaring (this reveals a waterslide with a river flowing from a pothole above) and Uamh An Uisge or cave of the water.
While this is a longer walk from the lodge than Loch Assynt, it’s one we highly recommend to visitors, to immerse yourself in the rugged landscape and imagine how different (if at all) it would have looked hundreds of years ago.
Big day out: climb Conival & Ben More Assynt – allow 8 hours to truly enjoy this route
If you’re after more adventure and are up for a hike, take the left at the fork in the road, 700m before the Traligill Caves, and take the steep incline across the north ridge of Conival, before heading east towards Ben More, the highest Munro in Assynt at 998m. The name Ben More translates to “big mountain in Assynt”!
Both mountains are connected by a ridge of shattered quartzite, and together are a very rough but hugely rewarding hike, giving absolutely fantastic views across the Assynt peaks.
Deer spotting & eagle watching, rare fauna by river bank
And if you’re after something a little closer to the lodge, it won’t take you long to come across majestic deer, wandering the grassy landscape. Inchnadamph actually translates as “meadow of the stags” – and we’re confident it won’t take you long to spot them!
Keep your eyes peeled for Golden Eagles too – we’ve spotted them a few times around Inchnadamph! Walking up along the river Traligill and you may see Sand Martins or Ring Ouzel; you may even be lucky enough to spy a Barn Owl at dusk!
It won’t take you long to discover these places on foot from Inchnadamph Explorer’s Lodge.
You’re guaranteed to see something spectacular, whatever the weather. If you’re staying with us and do decide to adventure outside on foot, make sure you let us know what you find as we’re always eager to hear new stories.
Book your holiday at Inchnadamph now – there’s nothing better than experiencing this area for yourself!