The area surrounding Sands offers many varied and unique activities for the whole family. On the first Saturday of July every year Sands hosts the Gairloch Highland Gathering. With events including a hill race, heavy athletics and a pet parade, as well as a dance at night, there's something to entertain all members of the family!
Gairloch Harbour is home to many whale watching cruises that can take you around Gairloch Bay and into the Minch to spot whales, dolphins, porpoises and even basking sharks. In nearby Badachro there are Shellfish Safaris where you can reel in your own creel full of lobsters and prawns, or why not take one of the many fishing trips from the harbour.
The beautiful Flowerdale Estate, home to the MacKenzies of Gairloch, has a spectacular waterfall, an 18th-century house and plenty of exhilarating walks to suits all ages and abilities. It is also home to Gairloch Trekking Centre, where beginners and more experienced riders can explore the stunning landscape on horseback, or improve their riding skills with lessons. Flowerdale also has a Victorian Ice House, one of the oldest barns in Scotland and a memorial to Gairloch's Blind Piper.
The Gairloch area has many sites of historical interest and our award winning museum
explores the area's history with exhibits including a croft house interior, a replica of a Highland shop and Rua Reidh Lighthouse's original lens. In nearby Sheildaig the Fairy Lochs walk visits a memorial to a crashed WW2 bomber plane and the Sands Archaeological Trail has examples of prehistoric round houses, turf dikes and old run rig systems.
The beautiful Loch Maree has many tales and legends surrounding it, and is rumoured to have been a site of importance for Saint Columba. If you visit Isle Maree you can see an ancient wishing tree and visit the graves of a prince and princess, but make sure you keep an eye out for Muc-sheilch, the loch's very own monster!
For rainy days there are plenty of indoor activities too: Gairloch Leisure Centre offers a range of activities, including archery, a climbing wall and badminton, and Poolewe Swimming Pool is only a 15-minute drive away. The Perfume Studio at Mellon Charles is Scotland's only working perfume studio, and also has a cafe, gift shop and excellent views of Loch and Isle Ewe.
The Gairloch area is home to the world famous Inverewe Gardens, established by Osgood MacKenzie in 1862. Famed for its exotic plants from countries as diverse as Tasmania, New Zealand and Chile, the gardens also have an onsite cafe, short walks and a bird hide.
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, Scotland's oldest reserve established in 1951, offers woodland trails and mountainous walks, all situated within the ancient pine forests surrounding Loch Maree. Famed for its wildlife you're likely to spot deer, dragon flies, golden eagles and crossbills, or you may even see a pair nesting sea eagles!