Kyle of Lochalsh
Visitors who set their sights on Skye are often blind to the magic of the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Drive through the village of Kyle and you're on the road bridge to the Misty Isle before you know it.
But Kyle is worth visiting in its own right – and a great way to get there is via one of the world's most scenic rail journeys.
The village once operated the main ferry service across to the Isle of Skye and the harbour is still busy with all the bustle of the fishing boats and cruises which take visitors out to see the wonderful wildlife to be found just off the coast.
With great little shops, welcoming hotels and fine restaurants, Kyle makes a good central base for exploring the area. Take out your compass and head in any direction to find something to capture your imagination.
To the north, discover the pretty village of Plockton. Its white-washed fisher cottages hug the shores of Loch Carron. Stroll along the charming main street on the waterfront under the palm trees – yes, palm trees – and see if you can spot some of the settings filmed for the popular BBC drama Hamish Macbeth.
Head east from Kyle, towards Loch Duich and rising from the waters you’ll find what is probably the most photographed castle in the world. Eilean Donan has to be one of the most romantic locations in Scotland, as well as one of the most picturesque. Once the ancient seat of the MacKenzies of Kintail, it has featured in numerous films, including the cult movie Highlander.
South of Kyle, visit Glenelg. There are several Pictish sites in the area such as the Glenelg Broch and the Bernera Barracks, as well as stunning scenery and sweet hamlets.
But if it’s an excellent base you want, from which to explore this magical area rich with wildlife, history, heritage, spectacular scenery and the best of the great outdoors combined with a warm and friendly welcome, choose Kyle.
Photos: Alan Hendry