The Torridon Countryside Centre stands at the foot of Glen Torridon, close to the junction where the minor road from the village of Torridon joins the A896. Since 1967 a large area to the north of Glen Torridon and Upper Loch Torridon has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Countryside Centre serves as an introduction to the estate.
The area owned by the National Trust for Scotland extends to some 6,500 hectares or 16,000 acres and covers what many regard as the most magnificent mountain landscape anywhere on the Scottish mainland. Included within the estate are the imposing mountains of Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe.
The Countryside Centre itself stands in the shadow of Liathach, which rises steeply immediately beyond the minor road to the north. Inside you find a reception area, which doubles as an very well stocked shop, complete with a broad range of books and maps of local interest.
The larger part of the centre is home to a series of interpretive displays about aspects of the Torridon Estate. An excellent three dimensional model gives a very clear idea of the topography of Torridon, which is made all the more impressive because of the way some of the mountains rise directly from the sea. Other displays look at the mountain environment, the geology underlying the mountains, and there is even an excellent collection of the shells and crustaceans you might find on the shores of Loch Torridon.
The local wildlife is also covered. One display sets out tracks likely to be found in the area, ranging from red deer (very common), through pine martens, otters and the very much rarer Scottish wildcat. The wildlife theme is continued in the short audio visual presentation available in the centre.
A map on the outside of the Countryside Centre gives a sense of other things to do in the immediate area short of actually climbing a mountain. South west from the centre a track takes you towards the head of Upper Loch Torridon. To the left of the track is the deer park, home to a herd of red deer. Some seem much more curious than you might expect and as a result it is possible to find them approaching the other side of the fence. This allows some nice close up photographs: as well as a fine appreciation of the personal hygiene issues afflicting red deer, though they probably think the same about humans.
A quarter of a mile along this track, a white building attached to a house is home to a Deer Museum. This is a detailed collection of artefacts associated with the management of deer, together with a large number of deer skulls, antlers and other relics of the animals themselves. The approach is fairly serious and scientific, and the aim is to provide an in depth background to the creatures in the field opposite (and scattered more widely over the surrounding landscape).
Carry on along this track, past some National Trust for Scotland Holiday Accommodation, and you come to the shingle shore of Upper Loch Torridon. Here there is a wildlife hide from which it is possible to view a variety of birdlife along the shore and on the loch itself.