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Scottish Gaelic: Achadh Mhealbhaich
Achmelvich (Scotland)

Achmelvich shown within Scotland
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Sutherland
Constituent country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LAIRG
Postcode district IV27
Dialling code 01571
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
European Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Scottish Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency in the Highlands and Islands electoral region
List of places: UKScotland

Coordinates: 58°10'N 5°18'W? / ?58.17, -5.3

Looking across Achmelvich beach towards Canisp & Suilven, showing the Machair as well as the Youth Hostel and Caravan Sites
Looking across Achmelvich beach towards Canisp & Suilven, showing the Machair as well as the Youth Hostel and Caravan Sites

Achmelvich (Gaelic: Achadh Mhealbhaich) is a settlement situated in the Highland region of Scotland. The name comes from the Gaelic "Achadh" - a plain or meadow and "mealvaich" - sandy dunes [1]. (An unsurprising name as the beach is dominated by sandy dunes and machair.)


[edit] Location

Achmelvich lies three miles north west of Lochinver, and 40 miles north of Ullapool, in the north west of the Scotland, accessed by single track road which leads from the B869 coastal tourist route. Despite the difficult road, the area is popular with tourists.

[edit] Settlement and facilities

Yellow Flag status from the "Good Beach Guide", produced by the Marine Conservation Society
Yellow Flag status from the "Good Beach Guide", produced by the Marine Conservation Society

As a settlement, Achmelvich is spread over the surrounding hillsides, with the focal point being the Yellow Flag award-winning beach [2]. There are two camping & caravan parks open for business, both have residential caravans to let, although only one has pitches for tents, camper vans and caravans [3] [4]. There is also a small laundrette, shop and a takeaway. These sites overlook the beach, with views out into the Minch as well as Port Altan Na Bradhan.

The main beach car park is separated from the beach by the machair and has recently been upgraded. The Youth Hostel[5], Tourist Information Hut and Public Toilets are all located by the main beach car park. The car park is also the starting point for a walk to the ruined meall mill at Altan Na Bradhan.

[edit] Tourist attractions

The white sandy beach and clean water quality attract those interested in the outdoors and watersports with Water-skiing, windsurfing and coasteering being popular pursuits on the beach. It should be noted that the production of a beach management guide in 2004 led to dogs being banned from the beach during the peak tourist season and neither of the camping & caravan sites allow dogs.

The unique morphology of the area, means there are many nearby walks and climbs, including the famous Suilven, for those interested in hiking. The Inchnadamph National Nature Reserve, which is well within driving distance, has many caves and pot holes as well as being the access route to Ben More Assynt, the area's only Munro.

There are also plenty of fishing opportunities to be had both in the sea, with cod, haddock, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel being common catches, or in the local lochs (subject to permit of course) which are stocked with trout, salmon and Arctic char. [1]

Assynt is renowned for having diverse wildlife and Achmelvich is no exceptions with cetaceans, seals, basking sharks, otters, pine martens, ospreys and White-tailed Eagles having been seen in the area.[6]

There is also a small artist's studio at Achmelvich that sells artwork and prints, as well as a gift shop on the road overlooking Loch Roe which sells geological gifts such as semi-precious stones.

[edit] "Hermit's Castle"

Hermit's Castle
Hermit's Castle

Achmelvich is home to what is reputedly Europe's smallest castle, known locally as Hermit's Castle[7]. The castle was built in the 1950s by an English architect(David Scott), who left the area shortly after completion, spending only a weekend in the castle he spent months building. The castle was vandalised in the 1970s, when the windows were smashed and the door removed, but it is not unknown for people to use the castle as a bothy.

[edit] Traditions

The majority of the tourists to Achmelvich are regular visitors, some of whom have visited the area for forty years. A group of these regular visitors are responsible for creating several Achmelvich traditions including the annual Sandcastle contest and mini-Olympic Games, as well as the creation of Shoo! Ball, derived from both Murder Ball and Netball. (The game was originally played with a bottle of Shoo! midge repellant used as a ball). The aquatic version of this game is called Dubh Ball as it usually played in the nearby Loch Dubh. [8]

[edit] Notes & References

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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