Lochinver (Gaelic - Loch an Inbhir) – population 600 people - is a village on the west coast of Scotland located just north of Ullapool at the end of the A837, in the Assynt district of Sutherland.
Lochinver is the second largest fishing port in Scotland and certainly one of the busier ones. Recent developments in the village include the new sports centre adjacent to the harbour and the highly acclaimed Assynt Visitor Centre.
We are surrounded by magnificent mountains, waterfalls, moors, and some of the most beautiful lochs you will ever see. The whole area literally teems with wildlife and is, of course, steeped in Scottish history, all of which is relatively easy to access.
The picturesque back drop to Lochinver is dominated by the "sugar loaf" shape of Caisteal Liath, the summit peak of nearby Suilven (731 m – 2,398 ft) only overshadowed in height by Canisp (847 m – 2,779 ft) to the left, as viewed from the village, all of which stand on the Moine Thrust Belt within the North West Highlands Geopark. In the distance to the left of Loch Assynt can be seen the highest of the three peaks of Quinag which stands at an impressive 808m – 2651ft.
If you head out of the village a few miles North East you will arrive at Loch Assynt - the source of the River Inver which flows out into Loch Inver through the village. Here can be found the magnificent remains of Ardvreck Castle - circa 1500 (formally the stronghold of the MacLeods and laterly of the MacKenzies) and Calda House (1726) destroyed by fire in 1737.
A few miles away is Inchnadamph where the former Assynt Parish Church has been restored after 30 years lying empty, this houses a display of the history of Ardvreck Castle, Calda House and the Church itself. In the graveyard you will find the burial vault of the MacLeods of Assynt. Just a couple of miles south of this Township you will find the Inchnadamph Bone Caves – one of Scotland's oldest historical sites.
In the area surrounding Lochinver, there are 200 or so Lochans (small Lochs) and a good number of fine fishing rivers, which makes this area a very popular destination for anglers looking for wild brown sea trout and salmon (permits permitting). On many lochs and lochans boats can be hired and any permits, or fishing tackle, can normally be sourced within the village.
Natural habitats that are abundant in the area include heather moorland, mountain, loch, bog and ancient woodland, changing as you head towards the coast into sand dunes and cliffs teeming with birdlife.
A variety of wildlife, with patience, can be observed in their natural habitats, including, red deer, roe deer, pine marten, fox, stoat, otter, mountain hare, badgers and seals to name a few, you may even spot a guillemot...
Birdlife which can be spotted in the area includes, the golden eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon, ptarmigan, curlew, oystercatcher, plover, red and black throated divers, greenshank, hooded crow and along the coastline you may spot guillemot, razorbill, puffins and the magnificent sea eagle.
Details of wildlife that can be spotted and that has recently been observed, in the Assynt area, can be found on the excellent Assynt Field Club website.