Geàrrloch, Gairloch, is a village community on the shores of Loch Gairloch in Wester Ross. A popular tourist destination in the summer months, Gairloch has a golf course, a small museum, several hotels, a community centre, a leisure centre with sports facilities, a local radio station, beaches and nearby mountains.
Gairloch, pop. 740 in 2011, is a loosely defined area of settlement, primarily comprising of three main clusters of shops, houses and amenities: the Harbour area, Achtercairn and Strath. Approaching from the south via Kinlochewe, Charlestown and the harbour are met first. Achtercairn is centred on the road junction with the coastal road that leads west to Strath and on towards Melvaig. The Main A832 road heads steeply up Achtercairn Brae leading out of the village to the North and on to Poolewe. Beyond Gairloch to the West a number of small settlements can be found: Big Sand, North Erradale, and Melvaig. Beyond Melvaig the road narrows to a twisting, undulating track ending at the Rua Reidh Lighthouse.
The lands around Gairloch have been mostly in the ownership of the Mackenzies of Gairloch since the 15th century, when they were acquired by Hector Roy Mackenzie (died in 1528), with a family house in the sheltered Glen of Flowerdale. The Mackenzies were clan leaders in the traditional sense and were known for their attachment to their tenants. During the 19th century, Sir Hector Mackenzie and his sons Sir Francis and Dr John Mackenzie refused to evict a single tenant during the clearances, despite the estate running at a loss. As a result, evicted Highlanders from other communities came to live in the area and has caused Gairloch to maintain a thriving community even today. The Mackenzies were also keen gardeners. The glen has a microclimate and vegetation that are home to a diverse range of natural life. Dr John Mackenzie states in his memoir that his father was able to grow fruiting peaches outdoors. Osgood Mackenzie created the famous Inverewe Garden in nearby Poolewe. There is a walk up the Flowerdale burn, going past the Mackenzie house to an impressive waterfall at the head of the Glen.
A Pictish stone with a distinctive carving of a salmon was found in Gairloch in 1880. This is one of the westernmost sites where such a discovery has been made. The stone is now on display in the Gairloh Heritage Museum.
The site of a 1945 plane crash at the Fairy Lochs near Gairloch is now a designated war grave. The crash site, close to the village of Badachro, has been preserved as a memorial to the USA AF servicemen who lost their lives in the accident.
Gairloch is the final resting place of the renowned Gaelic Bard Uilleam Ros, William Ross (1762-1791), known as’ the Gairloch Bard’. Ross was born in Broadford on Skye. He settled in the Gairloch area and became a schoolmaster, and died at the age of 28 in Badachro.
Comunn Gàidhlig Inbhir Nis
Date of outing led by William MacRobbie: Sat. 28th May
Departure point: Highland Council car park on Glenurquhart Road.
Coach Co.: Scotbus. tel. 01463 224410
Time of Dep.: 8.15am
Return: approx. 6.30pm
First stop: Kinlochewe
Gairloch is approx. a 2 hour drive from Inverness. Therefore expect to arrive there by 10.45am (depending on length of stop)
William will advise us what to visit there etc on arrival.
Lunch – one is free to choose where to have lunch. I understand the museum operates a cafe.
The journey back to Inverness will be by Dundonnell.
If you wish to book a place on this outing, PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER below with £20 per person to cover the coach hire. Please hand in or post to:-
8 Glenburn Drive
( Tel.: 01463 231891)
By April 15th please.
Cheques made out to : The Gaelic Society of Inverness
PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER.