Movie Tourism – Scottish Highlands – The Eagle

Released in 2011 starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, and Donald Sutherland, The Eagle is a spectacular historical film based on the adventures of a Roman soldier searching for the lost standard of his father’s legion. Marcus and his slave Esca journey far north of Hadrian’s Wall into the dangerous territory of unfriendly tribes, the Picts and the Seals. Scenes were filmed at Loch Lomond, Wester Ross, and for a week around the village of Achiltibuie in the Highlands. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery, the Lochs, the abundant wildlife, and noteworthy attractions, as they journey back in time to the days of the Roman Empire.

Throughout Wester Ross in towns and small villages, accommodations are reasonably priced and readily available. Guest houses and B&Bs, as well as a few premium hotels, are popular with tourists worldwide.

Highly recommended by travelers is the Summer Isles Hotel in Achiltibuie, with spacious rooms and elegant dining. Overlooking the sea in a beautiful setting, the Summer Isles features fresh seafood, venison, and a wide selection of wine on the restaurant menu. Informal meals, snacks, and drinks are served in the Bar during the day and evening. Rates: $184 dbl w/courtyard view, $240 dbl w/sea view.

Many tourists choose self-catering while on holiday, and Achduart Cottage is a good choice for families, located about 4 miles from Achiltibuie within 50 yards of the sea and view of the Hebrides. Three bedrooms sleep six people, while the downstairs sitting room, kitchen, sunroom, and wooded gardens make this an ideal place to relax, explore, and watch the seals, whales, and variety of wildlife. Linens included and pets allowed. Weekly Rates: $1,041-$1,200.

Looking for something unusual, consider the Pool House at Ullapool, a main fishing port near the village of Poolewe, about 40 miles from Achiltibuie. The exotic, somewhat quirky interior decor of hand-carved wooden doors, artifacts collected from around the world, and marble inlay tables enhance the charming atmosphere of the property. Fine meals are served, accompanied by an interesting narrative of the history of Pool House given by the owners. Full breakfast, afternoon tea and canapes, complimentary set of Scottish bath products, along with the warm hospitality of the Harrisons offer unique appeal for visitors to the Pool House. Rates: $256/night

Opened in 2011, the Locholly Lodge offers a superb holiday rental home in Achiltibiue, not far from the Summer Isles Hotel. This 2-story accommodation features a study, lounge, master bedroom and sauna on the first floor, with kitchen, laundry, and three bedrooms and one bath on the ground floor. Linens included, 6-8 guests.. Pet friendly.
Rates: $958-$2,400/week. $32 pet fees.

Restaurants/Cafes/Pubs:

Recommended for great seafood in the area, the award-winning Kishorn Seafood Bar is a traveler’s delight. Choose from a range of entrees, sandwiches, wine and beer. Hours: Mar-Nov, Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm. Sun, 12-5pm. Jul-Sep, 10-9pm.
Prices: Average meal – $20, café items -$5-$8.

The 18th century Ferry Boat Inn on the shore of Ullapool serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week from 8am-11pm. Live music Thursday evenings and good pub food and drinks. Great informal spot for travelers to unwind. Two-course lunches $10.40. (Rooms available, $48 single, $80 double.)

Another restaurant with good reviews is the popular Arch Inn on the shores of Loch Broom offering splendid views and indoor or outdoor dining. Lobster, scallops, beef and lamb are the specialties. Live music and entertainment.
Open: 11am, 7 days a week. Prices: $8-$24

Things to Do: A visit to the Highlands offers an endless choice of things to do including hiking, fishing, canoeing, cycling, golf, and.side trips to other attractions nearby.

Take a 2-hour drive and plan to spend the day at Inverewe Gardens, an amazing 54 acres of tropical plants from around the world. The legacy of Osgood Mackenzie, a Scottish landowner in 1862, the gardens offer a wonderful contrast to the rugged landscape on the edge of Wester Ross. Gift shop and self-serve café onsite.
Open: 1 Jan-31 Mar, 10am-3pm; 1 Apr-31 Aug, 10-6; 1 Sep-31 Oct, 10-4; Nov & Dec, 10-3.
Admission: $15 p/p, $36 family.

Visit the Ullapool Museum, housed in the old Telford Church, which features exhibition areas tracing the social and natural history of the area and the Loch people. Includes an audio-visual presentation, two marine aquariums, artifacts, tapestries and quilts, as well as model ships. Gift shop and handicap accessible.
Hours: 1 Apr-30 Sep, 10am-5pm, Mon-Sat. Oct-Mar, arrange with Curator.
Admission: $5 p/p.

A 3-hour ferry ride from Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides is always fun. You can find reasonable accommodations if you decide to stay overnight and see the historical and cultural attractions, as well as get great photographs of the sea and wildlife.
Rd trip price: $161/passenger(s) & car. Two sailings daily each way.

If you have enough time, check out the bus service to Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO Heritage Site, easily comparable to the other great wonders in the world.

Shopping:

Find a variety of shops in or near Ullapool including Captain Cabin’s Gift Shop for arts and crafts, Ceol Na Mara for Malt Whiskeys, Woolens, and Scottish foods, and outdoor wear at Cormack’s & Crawfords.

Getting there: Using Inverness as our starting point, drive or take the bus to Ullapool, about 1.5 hours, two buses daily schedule usually coincides with the ferry service. Fare: $16. In comparison, the 40-mile drive from Ullapool to Achiltibiue in a taxi costs $56.

Sharon L Slayton

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