Heading West

Neptune’s Staircase, Corpach, Glenfinnan, Castle Tioram

Neptune’s Staircase

Car Park Map Coordinates: 56.845493, -5.097042

If you appreciate good old Victorian engineering, visit Neptune’s Staircase, a system of canal locks at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal.

Corpach

Just along the road from Neptune’s Staircase is the little town of Corpach.

Glenfinnan monument

This monument was erected in 1815 at Glenfinnan at the head of Loch Shiel to the men who died in the Jacobite Rising of 1745 in the service of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Car Park Map Coordinates: 56.871628, -5.437982

The Glenfinnan Viaduct has become synonymous with Harry Potter; it being part of the annual train ride to Hogwarts. But there’s so much more to admire about this great feat of engineering than simply reminiscing about the film location. If time constraints mean you aren’t able to take the train ride, then park at the car park just off the A830 and walk up to the viaduct itself. This is a much less-travelled view of the viaduct than that from the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre viewpoint (which is also recommended).

The next stop takes in one of the most scenic drives in Scotland along the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, A681, skirting Loch Eilt, Loch Ailort and Loch Moidart and then the stunning River Shiel.

Castle Tioram

Car Park Map Coordinates: 56.780778, -5.825845
Castle Map Coordinates: 56.784421, -5.828958

Castle Tioram (pronounced Chirum) is an exceptionally picturesque castle on the shores of Loch Moidart. From a tourism perspective, it often plays second fiddle to Eilean Donan because of Castle Tioram’s remote location and the fact it is partly a ruin (owing to an ongoing struggle between the owners and Historic Scotland). Although the castle is technically closed to the public, it is possible to get onto the island at low tide. Getting too close to the castle isn’t recommend, due to a recent collapse, but you can still get some great views of the castle from a safe distance away. Visiting it can provide a much more intimate experience than Eilean Donan; as a vistior you are much more likely to have the experience to yourself, although it can still be busy during the summer months. The castle has a fascinating history, given its strategic location and the part it played in the Jacobite uprisings in the early 1700’s.

Old Shiel Bridge

Car Park Map Coordinates: 56.756026, -5.805951
Bridge Map Coordinates: 56.756032, -5.806749

Bridges that no longer lead anywhere are a particular favourite of mine. The Old Shiel Bridge might well be my favourite of all time. Giving stunning views of the River Shiel and its popular fishing stages, it once provided access across the river at the River Shiel’s only ‘narrows’. The bridge was usurped by the more modern bridge a few miles away, built in 1935.

Take the Ardgour to Corran Ferry (also known as Ardgour to Nether Lochaber). It is not necessary to book in advance, as there is a ferry every 20-30 minutes seven days a week.