What some know as the Road to the Isles, the A830, runs from Fort William to Mallaig in the west, taking in spectacular views and notable sites such as Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the standards of rebellion in 1745. From Arisaig, a fine, relatively new, section of highway speeds essential traffic north-south, whilst the older road between Arisaig and Morar, now the B8008, offers a more leisurely – and beautiful – alternative.
Taking this route means you don’t need to worry quite as much about the traffic; but it is a significant challenge keeping your eyes away from the scenery as you negotiate a road that twists and turns and includes frequent narrow, single-track, stretches. We were directed by good friends P&A, who know it well – and that helped a lot.
However, the coast here really is unforgettable – and that’s what we’ve come for; rock-framed unspoilt sandy beaches, with views to the Small Isles of Muck, Eigg and Rum and, possibly, Skye to the north. These are the Silver Sands of Morar – some say the White Sands of Morar. On a good day, the sea is turquoise; you could be in a tropical paradise, couldn’t you? – provided you don’t actually get into the sea. I suggest you also take a coat in case it’s windy.
Travelling north, you’ll spot the silver (or white) sands just beyond the village of Back of Keppoch. At Portnaluchaig the road skirts the beach and then continues past a golf course at Traigh. Beyond Camusdarach, where there is an area of dunes, the road then follows the beaches of the Morar estuary back to join the A830.
The Silver Sands of Morar should be on your itinerary when you visit Scotland. And take your trunks; despite the chilly waters, people were bathing when we visited. A word of warning – this area is popular – especially with campers and walkers. There are car parks, but space is limited, and the narrow roadside gets congested. But persevere.
If you can’t make it to the Silver Sands of Morar just now, you might care to watch the 1983 film, Local Hero, again, starring Burt Lancaster, Denis Lawson, Fulton Mackay and Peter Riegert. Because the beach scenes were filmed at the Silver Sands of Morar. Or maybe it was the White Sands.