Top Things to Do in Morvern
Discover the remotest parts of the West Highland Peninsulas
The Morvern Peninsula is commonly referred to as being anything south of Loch Sunart and Glen Tarbet, but that also includes part of Ardgour as well as Drimnin, Rahoy, and Laudale.
The name Morvern is probably derived from the Gaelic A' Mhorbhairne, or the Sea-Gap. This may be a reference to the Sound of Mull which forms a gap between the 'mainland' and the isle of Mull itself.
It covers approximately 250 square miles (650 km2) - which is big! I say 'peninsula' as it is only joined to Sunart by about 10 kilometres of Glen Tarbet where the 'old road' into Strontian is still visible alongside the newer, and wider, one that we use today. It is also readily accessible from the Isle of Mull via the Fishnish to Lochaline ferry that runs almost everyday.
The principle village on Morvern is Lochaline (Gaelic, Loch ath a’ linne ‘the loch of the ford of the pool’) where you can get the ferry across to Mull and many essential facilities. But why would you want to go to Mull when you have so much undiscovered wilderness to explore on the Morvern Peninsula?
After five years living here I am still not sure whether it is pronounced 'loch-al-lan' or 'loch-arr-len', but I do know that it is not 'loch-a-line'!
The highest point is the summit of the Corbett Creach Bheinn which reaches 853 metres (2,799 ft) in elevation. It might seem quite straightforward and that it can be approached from various angles, but the 'horseshoe' from Camasnacroise is very challenging in terms of ascent, terrain and navigation. You may find that heading up Glengalmadale and ascending the steep headwall more to your liking (it reminds me a little of the Miner's Track from Pen-y-Pass up Snowdon in North Wales).
If you fancy something a little easier, head up from the Ardtornish Estate office at the head of Loch Aline towards Loch Tearnait where you'll find a recently renovated (2020) bothy. This is owned by the estate and they do close it during the dear stalking season, so check their website, or better yet, phone them, before heading there to stay.
From Loch Tearnait, you could head up any of the hills to the south including the 'Table or Lorn' and 'Glais Bheinn'. All routes are hard going over rough ground, but the views over Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull do make up for it. Be aware on the descent back to Ardtornish that it is fenced in. There is a way through and you'd be best asking about this in the estate office before heading into the hills as it is more obvious from below than it is from above.
Even easier, and crossing over into possible cycle routes, is the route along the east of Loch Aline towards Ardtornish Old Castle. It's an obvious track almost all the way with only one right turn to make near semi-derelict farm buildings. An easy day walk or a half-day bike ride and suitable for families.
For me, the best route in Morvern is the Kingairloch Loop, although you could argue that it extends into Ardgour as well. 28 miles on the B8043, A861 and A884. Navigation is easy - keep turning left at all three major road junctions! I say left as this is my preferred direction with only a 2.25 mile steady ascent at Liddesdale to contend with. It just feels harder the other way round...
For off road routes, have a look at exploring the forests to the south west of Loch Arienas where there used to be marked routes but now, sadly, these have been removed and the trails left untended and allowed to overgrow in places. It is on my list of ideas for Otter Adventures to help do something for people in the local area.
There are some great racks for long distance mountain biking and adventure biking, but many of these don't quite link up. There is frequently a small section from the end of one trail to the start of another that requires deer gate climbing or muddy bike carries. You have been warned, but at least it will be a proper adventure!
Canoeing and Kayaking
With well over 120 kilometres of coastline and a diversity of islands to explore you will not be left wanting! From open waters near the north of Mull to sheltered waters at the head of Loch Sunart or in Loch Aline, you'll find somewhere to paddle.
You can read about my first circumnavigation of the Morvern Peninsula by sea kayak over on the blog. If, after reading that and watching the videos. you fancy a challenge, you can book on one of our scheduled expeditions.
Finding somewhere to launch your canoe or kayak is a little more of an issue; mostly due to parking issues. Do contact the estates in advance if you plan on launching anywhere on their land. There is a jetty in Strontian that is free to use
What a choice you have in one of the remotest and wildest parts of Scotland. Everything from estate houses, to self-catering cottages, B&B and a campsite are all available.