If you’ve been before, you’ll be able to write this list yourself as Plockton captures the heart of everyone who visits. If you’re trying to decide where to go on holiday this Summer or perhaps planning your route around the North Coast 500, then read on…
1. An incomparable setting
Plockton sits on a bay of Loch Carron, with the hills behind providing shelter and a channel for the warm air from the Gulf Stream to keep you warm whilst you sit in our garden with a tipple or two. Our village is both the seaside and the countryside – with yachts and Calum’s boat tours enjoying the waters in the Summer months, whilst the scenery beyond Plockton is a typically Scottish landscape of pine and heather.
The light is incredible in Plockton, with many artists and photographers using the landscape in their work. It’s often a surprise for visitors to realise that our waterfront is dotted with palm trees!
2. A great base for wildlife spotting
From the harbour, Highland cattle are easy to spot. You can also catch a boat for a fishing trip or seal-spotting.
Calum’s Plockton Seal Trips are the longest-running boat trip operate in Skye & Lochalsh. As well as the possibility of seals (and if you don’t see a seal, you’ll receive a refund from Calum and his team) there’s also the opportunity to see otters, many species of sea birds, porpoise and dolphins.
Plockton itself is a brilliant place for a relaxing walk. With plenty to look out and clear, fresh air to make you feel fighting fit, walking is one of the many reasons people return to Plockton time and time again. During low tide, there’s a small island to explore.
There’s also guided walks, too. If you’re visiting us between June and September book a place onto National Trust Scotland’s Historic Plockton Village Tour. Led by a Trust ranger, you’ll see the old pier and pontoons, the Open Air Church and War Memorial, ancient trees and crofts. You’ll learn about crofting, yachting, Plockton and the surrounding areas and the split in the Church of Scotland.
There are many artists living and working in Plockton and the villages nearby. If you fancy a wee treat or you’re planning a picnic there’s many deli items to choose from in Plockton Stores, or you can purchase freshly caught prawns from the pier on most afternoons. There’s also plenty of places to grab a gift or two for the folks back at home, not to mention a reminder of your time in Plockton for you.
At the Plockton Hotel we showcase the work of artists as often as possible and we also stock greetings cards by Liana Moran, who creates beautiful drawings of Plockton and local attractions. There’s also several shops stocking maritime gifts, crafts and books.
Whether a gentle cycle, a tougher road biking session or a strenuous mountain biking holiday is your thing, Plockton is the place to start. The local woodlands provide a fantastic mountain biking setting, and there are many routes which allow you to ride for the whole day without the need of any other transport!
Mountain bikers loved the challenge of the Lochalsh Peninsula, the famous mountain trails of Torrid and the ruggedness of Skye. Local mountain biker Alex Glasgow offers individual or group guided sessions from Plockton. Find out more on plockton.com
For road biking, it’s important to note that the roads around here are not particularly flat! However the 18km ride from Stromeferry via Plocton to Kyle is one of the ‘Bike Scotland’s 40 Classic Highlands and Islands Routes’.
Bikes and helmets are available to rent at the Craft Shop. Mountain bikes are available for hire from Alex Glasgow, but the choice is limited so bring your own if possible
Enjoying local produce is always up there with one of the best things to do when you’re on holiday. In Plockton, our seafood is a speciality and you’ll find lots of places to enjoy a wide variety of delicacies. As well as sampling the freshly caught prawns from the pier, be sure to visit the Plockton Hotel to try shellfish from Skye, Plockton prawns (langoustines), fresh West Coast fish landed at Gairloch and Kinlochbervie, and smoked fish from our favourite smokehouse at Aultbea.
7. It was on the tele…
Whether we admit it or not, we all like to visit places we’ve seen in the cinema or on tv. Plockton was the location for the series Hamish Macbeth, starring Robert Carlyle. The village was also used for various scenes in the film The Wicker Man and the Inspector Allen Mysteries television series.
8. Sea kayaking
If boat trips aren’t your thing, why not grab a kayak from Sea Kayak Plockton and learn how to master your own vessel. The team teach you the paddling skills you will need to get out onto water. The sheltered bays around Plockton are the perfect place for beginners, before moving onto Loch Carron, For experienced kayakers there’s also the easy access over the sea to Skye.
Unsurprisingly for a village in the Scottish Highlands, there’s lots of history both within Plockton and around the doors. Plockton’s original name was Am Ploc, a crofting hamlet until the end of the 18th century. During the clearances, Plockton became a port of embarkation. Then in the 1800’s, under the landlord Sir Hugh Innes who saw a new opportunity to increase the value of his estates, the area was developed into a fishing port known as ‘Plocktown’. This era was known as the “herring boom.”
However the fish changed their migration patterns, and the are was then affected by the potato famine in the late 1840’s. Plockton was referred to as Baile na Bochdainn or “village of the poor.” The railway’s arrival in the 1890’s boosted Plockton’s fortunes.
Information above from the wonderful Undiscovered Scotland
10. The Real Ale & Gin Festival at the Plockton Hotel
We run our own Real Ale & Gin Festival each May. With over 40 tipples to tempt your tastebuds, live music and a BBQ – not to mention our hotel restaurant and views of Loch Carron from our terrace – you’ll quite simply never want to leave.
The 2016 festival runs from 27 – 29 May. There’s no need to book a ticket – just come along and sample a bevvy or two!