Culag Woods from Lochinver

White Shore

This is one of my favourite places in Britain. The Culag Woods are situated on the edge of the idyllic north western fishing village of Lochinver. The woods are now owned and looked after by the locals who founded the Culag Community Woodland Trust. This walk through the woods takes you to the stunning White Shore pebble beach then ascends to the viewpoint at the summit of Cnoc na Doire Daraich for views to the unique mountain of Suilven. If you do the walk at dawn or dusk you are likely to see wildlife such as Owls, Herons, Foxes, Badgers, Otters and even Pine Martin if you are very lucky. Kids and big kids will love the enchanting woodland paths with names like the 'Are you brave enough' and 'Higgledy Piggledy' path. There are many fun things to look out for like Giant Spiders, Wooden Photo Frames, Twigloos, Dens, Teepees, Wooden Slugs, Giant Dragonflies and many more fun objects. The information boards are also fun and educating. The first time I entered Culag Woods the plan was an hour long walk, it turned in to seven hours, as it is that good. Sitting at White Shore on a sunny day is like getting away from the world, and of course on rainy days this sheltered walk is a great alternative.

Route Directions

  1. I prefer to start this walk from the upper 'Woodside' car park at grid reference NC 092 214. To get to the upper 'Woodside' car park head to the south end of the village then ascend the steep road sign posted to Achiltibue.
  2. Follow the steep road for four hundred metres where you will find the lower 'Main' car park. Pass the lower 'Main' car park and then the road turns right passing the school. Half a kilometre after the school on a sharp left bend you will find the upper 'Woodside' car park on the right.
  3. If the upper car park is full you can try the lower 'Main' car park and adjust the route, or if you want you can also start the walk from Lochinver itself. You will find the lower 'Main' car park by walking along the main road from the village and turning left on the road before the Culag Hotel. There are information boards at the entrance gates with a free map.
  4. When I write my walks I usually recommend food or drink options for after walks. On this occasion however I would highly recommend you visit Lochinver for packed lunch before your walk. The world famous Lochinver Pie Shop has dozens of flavours both sweet and savoury and they are very tasty. Nothing better than a tasty warm Venison and Cranberry pie to eat while you are sat by the loch.
  5. From the upper 'Woodside' car park head along the obvious path towards the woods then pass through a large wooden gate. You will see a narrow unclear path on the left sign posted as the 'Are you brave enough path'.
  6. Turn left and head through the trees on the 'Are you brave enough' path. This path is fantastic and wild. It follows a very faint undulating path through natural woodland and forest crossing boggy streams.
  7. To make sure you are on the right path continue in a west to north westerly direction, always keeping the stone wall on your left no more than ten metres away from you at most times.
  8. After just under a kilometre you will reach a descent down to the stunning White Shore pebble beach. Here there is often a few things to play around on like Rope Swings and Fishing Nets. There is a delightful small waterfall behind the beach where the small woodland stream drops tot he beach.
  9. On a quiet sunny day White Shore is absolute heaven. The beach is a small curved pebble shore with crystal clear water backed by beautiful woodland. Skimming stones is a must do activity. If you visit the White Shore at dawn or dusk you may be lucky and see the local Otters climbing up on to the rocks.
  10. From White Shore head north west along a clear path which is known as the 'Shore Path'. The path winds its way through pine forest. Look out here for the many species of mushroom and fungi on the forest floor.
  11. After a while you will see a faint path lead off left. Here if you look closely in to the trees you will see a large wooden picture frame hanging in a position that makes it frame the view out over the loch. Take a slight detour to see this but then head back to the 'Shore Path'.
  12. Turn left to continue back along the 'Shore Path'. You will come to another main path off to the left known as 'Billy's Path' that also leads to the 'Higgledy Piggledy Path'. Ignore this path and continue for only another hundred metres to reach another path heading off left where there is a woodland play area.
  13. This path is the 'Viewpoint Path'. Turn left on to the 'Viewpoint Path' and ascend it through woodland. The path passes a cliff to the right then rounds to the right to gain height with views across Lochinver.
  14. The path will eventually reach the summit of Cnoc na Doire Daraich where there is a wooden bench giving views towards the unique mountain dome of Suilven. Cnoc na Doire Daraich translates to Hill of the Oak Wood. Unfortunately sitting on the bench admiring the views is often impossible due to the infamous Scottish Midge.
  15. After enjoying the views from the viewpoint follow the same path back down pass the cliff now on the left and through the woodland to reach the main path at the woodland play area.
  16. Turn left along the main path. The Culag Bog is now on the right and there is a wooded boardwalk and viewing platform on the right out to the bog. The bog is home to many species of insects including some stunning dragonflies.
  17. After enjoying the bog regain the main path and turn right heading south east. You will pass several wooden animals hidden away on the woods and a few excellent man made dens.
  18. Where you see a meadow to the right, the path bends right and heads back to the wooden gate that will take you back through to the path leading back to the upper 'Woodside' car park at the start of the walk. The Culag Community Woodland Trust is a charitable organisation, if you enjoyed your walk then if you can do, leave a small donation in one of the boxes at the car park.
  19. To finish your day head down to Lochinver to check out the Lochinver Pie Shop if you didn't get one before the walk. For a full meal and local ales check out the fabulous Caberfeidh seafood restaurant for local fresh caught seafood. I'd highly recommend their seafood platter.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer 442 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 15 Map Click to buy OS Travel Map Scotland Click to buy Lonely Planet's Scotlands Highlands & Islands

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.