Visiting the Knoydart Peninsula

collages of photos on Knoydart Peninsula

As you approach Knoydart, the dramatic landscapes immediately catch your eye. Yet, it’s the vibrant pulse of community life that captures your heart upon arrival. Knoydart is more than a remote peninsula. It’s a thriving hub, buzzing with energy and deeply committed to sustainability and growth.

During my visits to Knoydart, I’m always inspired by the people I meet and the work they do. Despite a population of around 130 and one main road, don’t expect a sleepy village. The area bustles with activity and many locals juggle multiple roles, driving forward both innovative local ventures and conservation.

Engaging with the locals, which is almost inevitable, offers you an insight into the peninsula’s journey from a challenging past under landowners to a vibrant, self-sustained community.

Whether you’re visiting for a day or planning a longer stay, Knoydart offers not just wonderful views, but also a wealth of experiences and activities, from the adventurous to the relaxing.

View from a lush green area above the sea looking across Loch Nevis to Knoydart Peninsula

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About the Knoydart Peninsula

A Brief History of Knoydart

Knoydart’s history is marked by clan rule, takeovers, a number of lairds and the devastating Highland Clearances of the 19th century. These events greatly reduced its population, with many residents relocating to Canada. The spirit of resistance flourished again in 1948 with the Seven Men of Knoydart who challenged oppressive land ownership. Sadly, they lost their legal battle, however, their defiance helped set the stage for the successful community buyout in 1999.

With migrants from the area and nearby heading to Canada, you can find villages named Knoydart, Arisaig, Morar and Keppoch in Nova Scotia and Mallaig in Alberta. 

Knoydart Community Buyout

The community buyout marked a turning point for Knoydart, giving residents the power to take charge of their land. It also drove sustainable development and empowered the community to protect the unique heritage and the natural surroundings of the remote peninsula.

Knoydart Foundation

The Knoydart Foundation, established after the community buyout in 1999, is at the heart of managing the peninsula’s resources and steering its development. It focuses on sustainable practices and drives community-led projects that not only improve the local environment but also boost residents’ quality of life. 

During your visit here, you’ll experience many of these projects and will probably see new ones underway.

signpost on Knoydart

Sustainability and Knoydart Renewables

If sustainability is high on your list when it comes to travel, Knoydart is an excellent choice. With only essential vehicles allowed on the peninsula, air pollution is almost non-existent. 

Food is produced locally and organically as much as possible, including local fruit, herbs, vegetables, beer, coffee, etc. on the Community Farm. Some products come from the wider local area, such as Mallaig and Skye, just a boat ride away.

Knoydart Renewables is responsible for the hydroelectric power, created by water running from Loch Bhraomisaig in the hills above Inverie to a turbine located in the village. Enough energy is created to power the village of Inverie and nearby areas.

Accommodation in Knoydart also uses eco-friendly options like solar power and filtered water from local springs. 

Other projects on the peninsula include developing the area’s biodiversity and woodland regeneration. To protect biodiversity, thousands of rhododendrons, a non-native, invasive species, have been removed.

the only road in knoydart

How to get to Knoydart Scotland

Known as one of the most remote areas of Scotland, you’ll not be surprised to hear that, as a visitor, you can’t take your car. That leaves you with two options – sail in or walk in!

Knoydart from the entrance to Loch Nevis

Ferry – Western Isles Cruises

Let’s start with the easy option of catching the Western Isles Cruises ferry from Mallaig. From April to October, they sail several times a day and the trip takes 30-45 minutes, depending which vessel you’re on.

A return ticket costs £15 for an adult and £7.50 for a child. You can take a bike for £5 and a kayak for £8. Dogs go free but extra luggage may be charged £1 per piece. 

The summer (Apr-Oct) 2024 sailings from Mallaig to Inverie are:

  • Mon-Fri 7:30am, 10:15am, 2:15pm
  • May to September – extra 6pm sailing
  • Saturday 8:30am, 10:15am, 2:15pm
  • Sunday 9am, 2:15pm and 6pm

The summer (Apr-Oct) 2024 sailings from Inverie to Mallaig are:

  • Mon-Fri 8am, 11am, 4:15pm
  • May to September – extra 6:30pm sailing
  • Saturday 9am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm
  • Sunday 9:30am, 3pm and 6:30pm

You can turn up and buy a ticket on the day but it’s better to book in advance, either online or at the office, especially in peak season.  

Book your ferry to Knoydart online here. The sales office and pier are along from the Fish Market. (Don’t go to the Calmac Ferry Terminal!)

western isles ferry on Loch Nevis near Inverie Knoydart

Park in the West Bay car park as it’s usually easier to find a space there. You can leave your car overnight with no restriction on number of days. Parking fees at the machine aren’t mandatory but they help to maintain the car park, the public toilets and other projects managed by the Road to the Isles Facilities Group, so please do pay.

Other ways to arrive at Knoydart by sea

Other ways to arrive by boat are to have your own, book a private rib boat with Western Isles Cruises or charter a local Knoydart charter boat, Calanna.

The more adventurous might like to kayak in on a multi-day expedition with Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre.

Find out more on boat trips from Mallaig and Arisaig

Walking and Hiking

If you’re fit enough, you can also walk into Knoydart. The most popular route starts in Kinloch Hourn to the north and the even more challenging route starts at Glenfinnan to the south. Both take at least two days and require in-depth planning and research.

You will need to pack a tent and all necessary equipment. There are some bothies along the way where you can take shelter. Contact the Knoydart Ranger Service for advice.

If you’re staying in Arisaig, Morar or Mallaig, an alternative shorter and much easier hike is from Loch Morar across to Tarbet on Loch Nevis and then taking the ferry to Inverie. You need to book the ferry in advance or it might not turn up.

If you have a car, you can park at Bracarina if there is space and start the trail there along the lochside, up the rocky hillside and cross over to the other side. Without a car, you could take the train to Morar Railway Station and walk. This would pretty much double your journey. There are usually cars driving up and down so you could try hitching a lift at least part of the way. 

What to do on Knoydart (and where to eat)

Despite its remoteness and small population, Knoydart has lots of things to do. You could easily spend a longer holiday here and have plenty to fill your days. If you plan to do a paid activity, I recommend booking in advance. All the links you need are included. 

Hiking and walks

Take a gentle walk along the main road and through the woodlands, past the Community Garden and the Bunkhouse and down to Long Beach. Stop off and see the wood carvings and other interesting sights along the way. 

To do the popular 3-mile circular route, look out for signposts for Knoydart in a Knutshell. It has a climb up a hillside path but you could also do it in reverse. The trail can get boggy in some areas. 

You can sign up for a guided Knoydart in a Knutshell walk with the Ranger, who will give you lots of great information about the local flora and fauna and even history along the way. The trained eye of a ranger will often pick out more wildlife than you would see yourself.

Heading in the other direction, you could follow the road and then the track to the right to Sandaig Viewpoint. It’s about 3.5 miles from the pier.

Alternatively, you can pick up a map in the shop for a pound and go by yourself. Maps of all the main Knoydart walks are available to buy at the shop. You can also get them before you arrive by contacting the Ranger.

young girl walking in distance on path with tall green trees on either side

Hard-core hikers can tackle the Rough Bounds, bag one of the three Munros or try several other advanced routes. You can do these on your own (depending on your level of expertise) but for the difficult ones, it is recommended to contact the Ranger for advice, especially if you’re not used to hiking in Scotland. 

You can also book private tours with Not About the Summit or Rough Bounds Guiding. If you decide not to go with a guide, remember to tell someone where you’re going. I also find it useful to record my trail as I go so I can use it to backtrack if I lose the path or want to turn back for any reason. You can download Wikiloc or All Trails apps for this and they can be used offline.

If you’re going off by yourself, also buy the OS Explorer Map (413) of Knoydart, Loch Hourn & Loch Duich online (and get the digital download free.) Alternatively, subscribe to the OS app. A paper map is safest off the beaten path though, or have both.

Photographer Quintin Lake recorded his walks into and around Knoydart as part of his walk around the Perimeter of Britain.

view from Inverie River Knoydart


Hire a kayak for two hours, four hours or a full day and explore Inverie Bay or venture further down Loch Nevis. Book your kayak at Love Knoydart Kayak Hire. 

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Hire a bike or e-bike

Book yourself a mountain bike or e-bike to explore more of the trails and the Knoydart Peninsula. Mountain bikes are available on a daily basis at Knoydart Bike Hire.

E-bikes can be booked for 2 hours, 4 hours or on a daily basis, with prices starting at £33 at Knoydart E-bike Hire.

Visit The Pottery, Tea Room and Shop

The Tea Room has a great menu waiting for you and some delicious home-baked goodies. The Shop also stocks food, local crafts and lots of useful items you might need like midge repellant!

A new feature on Saturdays through the summer is a vegan pop-up cafe taking over. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve been drooling over the photos on Dave’s Pop Up Vegan Cafe Facebook page

Don’t forget to pop into The Pottery too.

Inverie Knoydart Peninsula

Take a survival course or tour with the Ranger

Learn how to survive if you’re lost in a remote place. The Bushcraft course is a great activity for kids too and lots of fun. Or you can explore the peninsula by Range Rover and see more of the dramatic scenery and diverse wildlife. If you fancy a go at deerstalking, ask about that too. 

Book any of these activities by contacting the Knoydart Ranger.

Visit the most remote pub in the UK

The Old Forge holds the Guinness World Record for being the remotest mainland pub in Britain. That’s one to add to your British pub bucket list!

Until recently, it was privately owned, but the Knoydart community bought it out in 2022 and completely refurbished it with help from local government funding and crowdfunding. It reopened earlier this year to again be the hub of local activity. 

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A post shared by The Old Forge, Knoydart (@theoldforgeknoydart)

Visit Knoydart Brewery

Discover how local beer is made from local water and hydro-power. You can find Knoydart Brewery in the old St Agatha’s Church but it’s best to let them know if you’re planning to drop in. 

Visit Knoydart Community Garden (or volunteer!)

Stop off at the community garden on your walk or better still, roll up your sleeves and help out! The farm grows organic produce for the locals and is developing rapidly. 

See more of Knoydart Farm on their Facebook page.

Go fishing

With Fishing Knoydart, you can choose from sea fishing, game fishing in the lochs and rivers and foraging. All come in a range of half-day and full-day packages, which can be tailored to your needs.

Boat trip to Tarbet

Tarbet is in North Morar, but a boat trip across Loch Nevis offers a different view of the peninsula. The sailing from Inverie to Tarbet runs from May to September, leaves at 3 p.m. and takes 30-45 minutes each way. 

The return fare is £12 for adults and £6 for children aged 5-13. The ferry picks up passengers and turns back immediately. This is the same boat you’d use if you hike across from Loch Morar. (Advance booking from Tarbet is essential.)

Wood- carving

If you’re staying for a bit longer, why not join a wood-carving class using local timber? See more at Knoydart Forest Trust.

Take a private boat trip and visit a remote beach

Book a chartered boat trip on Calanna to visit a private beach, look out for orcas, whales and porpoises, practise your nature photography skills or just sail around and relax, enjoying the stunning scenery. 

Attend an event at the Community Hall

If you’re planning on more than just a day trip, check if there are any events on at Knoydart Community Hall. You can also take a yoga class every Sunday at 4pm.

Hike or cycle out to Doune for dinner

If you’re staying on the peninsula, you can also enjoy award-winning food made mostly with local produce. What better setting to enjoy a plate of langoustines, venison or even vegan fare at Doune? Work up an appetite first on the 6-mile walk/cycle!

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A post shared by Doune Knoydart Restaurant and Rooms (@doune_knoydart)

Make a reservation at Doune.

Attend a creative retreat

Knoydart occasionally hosts creative 5-day retreats in this perfect secluded environment. Find out more about Knoydart retreats here.

Get married!

If you’re looking for a humanist wedding, you can even get married on Knoydart with the local celebrant! What an amazing place to do that and with plenty of accommodation to bring your friends and family as long as you book well in advance. Alternatively, it’s a beautiful spot for an intimate ceremony and honeymoon.

What to buy on Knoydart 

Knoydart has lots to offer in the way of local crafts and produce. From the locally brewed beer to the rich flavours of wild venison, the range of products is impressive for such a small community. What’s more, they’re an authentic part of Knoydart. 

For those with a sweet tooth, the Knoydart tablet at The Tea Room offers a traditional Scottish treat. Why not grab a pack of locally roasted Coffee Knoydart to go with it? For a healthy option, pick up some organic vegetables grown on the Community Farm.

Art enthusiasts can find a range of items including beautifully crafted jewellery, art pieces and pottery that reflect the beauty of Knoydart. If you’re looking for more functional yet unique souvenirs, look out for handmade soaps, knitwear, hand-crafted wooden objects and handmade greeting cards. 

Not only will your buys help you remember Knoydart in weeks to come but they’ll also support small businesses and the community of Knoydart.

Where to stay on Knoydart Peninsula

Knoydart offers a variety of options and whether you’re looking for a luxury hideaway tucked away in the wilderness or a simple tent pitch by the beach, there’s something here for you. Each offers its own unique charm and gorgeous views, from the luxurious Knoydart Hide to the cute Wee Hooses. 

Knoydart from  Loch Nevis

If you’re travelling in a bigger group, some of the large self-catering properties are ideal, offering plenty of space and freedom. Rum Bunkhouse also has dormitories with shared bathrooms. 

Bed and breakfast options offer cosy settings and warm Scottish hospitality. Some also provide evening meals and picnic lunches.

Most of the accommodation sits around the bay. As some locations are more remote, they may include a Land Rover pick-up service from the pier. 

Camp at Long Beach and wake up to gorgeous views from your tent. The campsite has a compost toilet and shelter for bad weather. The nightly rate for an adult is £10 and £ 7 for under 16. Make sure you get the best rate by booking directly here.

long beach Knoydart

Make your reservations well in advance, as they can all be booked up quickly. If you’re camping, you can be a bit more spontaneous. Go to Visit Knoydart to see all accommodation options, more details and photos.

What to Pack for Your Trip to Knoydart

Here’s a handy list of essentials to pack for your visit to Knoydart:

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated on your hikes without adding to the waste on the peninsula
  • Small Rucksack: Perfect for day trips and carrying your essentials as you explore.
  • Long trousers: Protect your legs from rough grasses, stinging nettles and ticks while out exploring the woodlands or hills. 
  • Hiking Pole, hat and sunglasses: Navigate the rugged terrain comfortably and shield yourself from the sun’s rays (even if it’s cloudy!)
  • Power Bank: Keep your devices charged, especially if you’re going somewhere remote.

You might also need:

  • Hiking Boots or similar: Essential for exploring the trails and rough landscapes.
  • Swimwear: Don’t miss a chance to dip into the local waters if the weather permits and you can bear the cold!
  • Binoculars: Ideal for bird watching or spotting otters and deer in this lush area.
  • Sketchbook and Pencils/Paints: Capture the stunning views and serene landscapes to take home and hang on your wall.

Of course, you’ll need more than this for a longer trip, but this is just a reminder of a few essentials to help you be prepared.

Wrap-up on Knoydart

From the welcoming locals to the scenic tranquillity that accompanies every footpath, the Knoydart Peninsula provides an escape like no other. Whether you hike the rugged trails, kayak along the serene coastline, sample local produce, pick up some handmade crafts or simply soak in the serene landscapes, you’ll leave with memories that will live on long after.

What’s more, after a glimpse into the seamless blend of tradition and a vision for a better way of living, you may find yourself, like me, reflecting on your own way of life and your hopes for the future. Knoydart community’s deep commitment to sustainable practices and conservation efforts might also inspire you to consider the impact of your own choices on the world around you.

But for now, it’s time to book that ferry or plan that hike to set off on a journey to one of Scotland’s most secluded yet spirited destinations. You won’t regret it.

If you liked this post, you might also like Guide to Visiting the Isle of Canna or Day Trip to Eigg or Best Things to do on a day trip to Skye.

Long Beach Campsite Knoydart
My daughter enjoying a stop at the camp site

Extra resources

Articles and posts about Knoydart

Books and maps to buy before visiting Knoydart

Here are a few suggestions for reading up more before you arrive or for packing some relevant reading. 

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the converted old kirk at Knoydart
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