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Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide

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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

Walking

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) trail grade icon
¼ miles / 0.3 km

Allow
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 and access

Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
All ability trails
All ability trails
Easy-access facilities
Easy-access facilities
Wildlife hide
Wildlife hide

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.

Water safety

We want all our visitors to have a safe and enjoyable time at our forests. If you plan on venturing into the water here, please read our safety advice first.

Water safety

Stay the night

Motorhomes and campervans that are self-contained and have their own toilet facilities will be able to stay overnight at this car park from 1 April – 31 October 2022.

To help plan your stay, please see the details below:

  • Height barrier – No
  • Motorhome capacity of car park – 1
  • Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
  • Parking notes – Car park on slight slope - levelling blocks recommended. Please leave a 4m gap between other motorhomes.

Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.

Stay the night

Accessibility

The logo for Euan's Guide, indicating that we're listed there, with disabled access reviews

Car parking information

There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.

More about parking

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?

Phone
0300 067 6650 (option 1)
More contact information

Nearby forests

Close up of tree bark

Walk through native woodland to our lochside wildlife hide 

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Wildlife hide
Wildlife hide
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide': 0.31 miles
Close up of rocks on shore

Ancient woodland leads to a peaceful natural harbour

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide': 1.99 miles
Close up of acorn and autumn leaves

A peaceful loch alive with water lilies and dragonflies

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Distance from 'Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide': 2.27 miles