Most of our visitor centres, car parks and mountain bike trails are now open. Check what’s open near you before you travel and enjoy your visit safely.

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Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide

Where we are

Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide Forest Notices

COVID-19 has changed lots of things we do. And as we re-open the majority of our facilities and welcome more of you back in Phase 3, we need your help to do it safely. Please check what’s open before you travel; enjoy your visit safely by following NHS and Scottish Government guidance; take your litter home with you; and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

At this location:

  • The car park is open and normal charges (if any) now apply.

Please bear with us and check back regularly for updates. You can also find more information by visiting our COVID-19 page and our FAQs.

Spot seals, herons and otters on Loch Sunart

It’s easy to reach this hide, just a short stroll from the car park, where you can soak up superb Loch Sunart views as you watch for the local wildlife.

Common seals often bask on the shores of Garbh Eilean (the ‘Rough Island’), and there is a heronry on the smaller island beside it. At different times of the year you should also see a range of seabirds over the loch and, if you’re lucky, rarer species such as golden eagles and white tailed eagles.

The distinctive hide was built by local people, using locally grown and milled wood. It blends in beautifully with the landscape. There are binoculars and a telescope at the hide, so you’ll get an even better view of whatever’s out there as well as being able to talk to an expert.

The shores of Loch Sunart are home to some of the finest temperate oakwoods in the British Isles. These are remnants of an extensive band of coastal woodland that once stretched down the Atlantic coast of Europe from Norway and Scotland as far as Spain and Portugal.

These semi-natural woodlands are home to some of Europe’s best collections of lichens, mosses and liverworts. The Atlantic Oakwoods here are nationally important. We and other landowners and communities are working in partnership as the Initiative Sunart Oakwoods to conserve and restore this endangered habitat.

Walking trails


Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide Trail

A short stroll through the oak trees to a magnificent wildlife hide above Loch Sunart's rocky shore.

Wide, smooth gravel surface with a moderate slope. Includes a section of boardwalk out to the hide.

Easy (all abilities)
¼ miles / 0.3 km

¼ hour

More information

There are panoramic views from the attractive wooden hide, which overlooks two small islands. Common seals often bask on Garbh Eilean, the 'rough island', and herons gather on the other, while many seabirds are passing visitors. Sit back, enjoy the views and, if you're lucky, you might spot otters and sea eagles fishing in the loch and golden eagles soaring overhead.

Facilities & access

Easy-access facilities
Easy-access facilities
Campervan parking
Campervan parking

Practical information

The car park can hold five cars, and the short trail down to the hide is suitable for everyone.

There is more parking and a picnic bench suitable for visitors with wheelchairs at nearby Ardery.

The hide has bench seats and viewing openings to look through, with binoculars usually available.

Grab a refreshment

Go to Strontian for food and drink, shops, fuel, and public toilets.

Stay the Night

Motorhomes and campervans will be allowed to park overnight at this car park.

This is part of a short-term national trial that will run until later in the year, open to self-contained vehicles only. Motorhomes and campervans can stay for one night only at a time between 6pm and 10am. Camping and overnight parking of cars is not allowed.

Before you visit, please read our Stay the Night guidance, terms and conditions:

Stay the Night

Getting here

From Strontian, take the A816 west for about 5¼ miles (8.5 km). Garbh Eilean car park is on the left.

Using SatNav?

PH36 4HY is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There are buses from Fort William to Kilchoan via Strontian and Salen every day except Sunday, which pass Garbh Eilean car park. Check timetables at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6650 (option 1)
More contact information

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