Denise Brydon spends a weekend in Arisaig, where you can enjoy everything from beachcombing to a round of golf
Escape the central belt and head north up the A85 through Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. Cross the A82 by the Ballachulish bridge with a customary wave to the stone monument to James of the Glen. Stop off at Fort William to pick up a curry from Spice Tandoori (www.spice-tandoori.com) and arrive at the Silversands (Silversands Camping and Caravan Site, Arisaig, Portnaluchaig, Inverness-shire PH39 4NT, 01687 450269 and ask for John McDonald. Prices start from £14 a pitch for a small tent and £18 for a caravan) just in time to enjoy the amazing Arisaig sunset over the islands of Rum and Eigg.
After breakfast set off for a spot of beachcombing on the glittering sands that give the campsite its name. If you are brave, pull on wetsuits and go for a dip in the Sound of Arisaig. Stop for a chat with the friendly owners. There are plenty of people to talk to as campers come here from all over the world. Listen out for the whistle of the Jacobite Steam Train on its way to Mallaig (www.westcoastrailways.co.uk), which runs 9 May-28 October.
If the weather isn’t blowing a gale, why not play a round on the most westerly golf course on the UK mainland? Traigh Golf Course (www.traighgolf.co.uk) offers a challenging nine holes, not least because you keep being distracted by the most amazing scenery. The clubhouse sells snacks and drinks. If you haven’t brought your clubs then hire is available too.
There are plenty of places to go for dinner in Arisaig village or nearby Mallaig but try to get a table at the Chlachain Inn (www.westscotlandinn.co.uk) which serves superlative Cullen skink. If it’s full then try the Steam Inn, also on Davies Brae. Jaffy’s by the train station offers traditional fish and chips (www.jaffys.co.uk/jaffys-shop).
An early morning swim in the sea equals a guilt free pit stop at the Glenfinnan Dining Car, which offers a free ticket to the quirky little railway station museum. (glenfinnanstationmuseum.co.uk/facilities/dining-car).