The topography around Shieldaig follows a by now familiar pattern along this stretch of coast, with the village lying on the shores of a loch by the same name, with a small island just offshore, also bearing the same name. Loch Shieldaig lies between Loch Torridon and Upper Loch Torridon, and the village, comprising mainly white houses, is strung out along the shore, with the loch in front and the mountains behind. The village is relatively new, established in 1800 by the Admiralty, who lured families to the location by offering grants for housing and boat-building. However, there was an ulterior motive behind the Admiralty's largesse: to build up a supply of suitably experienced seamen for service during the Napoleonic Wars. In the early 21st century, the spectacular landscape around Shieldaig was threatened with a proposed hydro electric scheme, but the Scottish Executive sensibly rejected the scheme on the grounds of potential damage to the environment and the local communities.
Shieldaig Island is run by the National Trust for Scotland, and is covered with Scot's Pine. The island is a sanctuary for a variety of birds including sea birds, long-eared owls and kestrels, and can be visited but landing is by permission only. The village is the departure point for sea tours by catamaran from April to October offering the chance to see a wide range of wildlife of the feathered variety as well as seals, dolphins, porpoises and otters. For those wanting to stay overnight - and who wouldn't? - accommodation in the village ranges from rooms in an award-winning hotel to a campsite.
Map of the area.
© 2008 Lisa Jarvis, via Wikimedia Commons