The village of Lochcarron lies strung out for over a mile along the north-western shore of Loch Carron, and is most clearly seen from the A890 on the opposite side of the loch. Like many linear settlements, Lochcarron has a number of points of focus. Near the centre lies the Lochcarron Hotel and the two nearby petrol stations, useful for those passing through while tackling the North Coast 500 drive around northern Scotland. The village also boasts a number of shops, cafes and restaurants and the largest selection of accommodation between Kyle of Lochalsh and Gairloch.
Being located on a sea-loch, it would be surprising if Lochcarron had not looked to the sea for at least part of its living in the past. This is less obvious than in many places, but there is a concrete slipway near the centre of the village, and a little further south is a small harbour. At the northern end of Lochcarron, in Kirkton, you'll find its attractive lochside 9 hole golf course and one of the surprisingly large number of churches in the village.
Beyond the golf course is one of the major road junctions in this part of Scotland. Heading south-west from here on the A896 brings you back to Lochcarron and round to Kishorn, Applecross and Shieldaig, while heading north-east on the A890 takes you to Achnasheen and Inverness. (Continues below image...)
One result of the modern road pattern in Lochcarron is that few visitors see the real southern end of the village, which continues along the lochside and past the evocatively named Slumbay Harbour, south of the point at which the Kishorn and Applecross road heads inland. And fewer would realise that until as recently as 1970 the main road to Kyle of Lochalsh ran down this north-western side of Loch Carron as far as a ferry to Stromeferry on the opposite shore. Beyond Strome and its ruined castle the road continues to the tiny hamlet of Ardaneaskan, which has a fascinating little Croft Museum.
Since 1970 traffic has taken the third option from the junction north of the village. This takes you round the head of Loch Carron on the A890 and along the road built south alongside the railway line past Stromeferry and towards Kyle of Lochalsh. En route, as you reach the eastern corner of Loch Carron, the road brings you to Strathcarron. Here you will find the area's main railway station, on the line from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness. Here, too, you will find a shop, a post office, and the striking Strathcarron Hotel.
The "new" road, known as the Stromeferry bypass, has proved a mixed blessing at times, as it is prone to rockslides from the steep hillside above. These have resulted in the closure of the road and railway to Kyle of Lochalsh on a number of occasions. Interestingly, one of the alternatives being suggested would see Kyle of Lochalsh traffic return to the north-west shore of the loch through Lochcarron as far south as a bridge across the Strome Narrows, in place of the ferry which ceased operating in 1970.
Lochcarron was only a tiny village known as Janetown when it was reached in 1813 by the Parliamentary road from Inverness to Strome. It almost immediately tripled in size, providing accommodation for many displaced by clearance, and quickly attained the linear pattern it still retains today.