Some Local History about Acharacle

Acharacle Gaelic: Ath Tharracaill – Torquil’s Ford

The name comes from the Gaelic Ath Thorguil or Torquil's ford, following a battle in 1120 at a nearby ford across the River Shiel, between the Celtic-Norse warrior Somerled and the Norse invader Torquil. Here, Torquil was killed in the battle and his followers ousted from the area.

Acharacle, a typical west Highland crofting township, serves as the centre for Ardnamurchan and Moidart. It lies at the western end of Loch Shiel and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, making it a great and popular holiday destination. Garmoran Square looks across Loch Shiel to Acharacle, some two miles away. It has, among other resources, a small primary school with around 60 pupils and a thriving Gaelic medium unit. There is a garage, baker's , fish and chip shop, a grocery store, a restaurant, a craft gallery as well as a doctor's surgery. It has the main postal sorting office for the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, which has a brilliant Tearoom with internet facility on site, as well as a gift shop.

The area has been influenced by Thomas Telford who was involved in the building of the route to Acharacle from the Corran Ferry. In the 1800’s he also built the bridge across the River Shiel, this was replaced by a new bridge in the1930’s and the Parish Church, built in the 1820’s, was built to a standard design known as Telford churches.

There is an abundance of walks in the Acharacle area, great examples of which are; the Singing Sands, a 6mile round walk; Three Lochs to Castle Tioram taking you from Blain over the hill to Loch Moidart; an expedition to Laga over Ben Laga from Acharacle, and the Silver Walk along the side of Loch Moidart from Castle Tioram, once the stronghold of the MacDonalds of Clanranald.

If you are looking to play at the seaside, sandy beaches can be found at Ardtoe, Singing Sands and Dorlin, overlooked by the magnificent Castle Tioram.
Less than 50 years ago, before the north end road existed, Loch Shiel was the main access route for the peninsula, bringing people, produce, livestock and supplies by boat from the railhead at Glenfinnan down the stunning beautiful and now deserted length of Loch Shiel: a cruise now follows in the wake of Bonnie Prince Charlie who stayed over night at Dalilea then went on to land and raise the clans in 1745 at Glenfinnan. 

Acharacle plays host to the Loch Shiel festival of classical music each spring, and Feis nan Garbh Chriochan (Festival of the Rough Bounds) in July, a week of intensive tuition in traditional music, arts and Gaelic drama.

For those looking for activities in Acharacle, Loch Shiel, and hill lochs can be fished, permits bought from the post office. Fishing tuition with trips on Loch Shiel and exploring the St Finnan’s Isle can be arranged locally.

In the summer months Produce Markets take place in Acharacle Village Hall, where local produce and crafts can be purchased, along with the chance to enjoy homemade soups and baking. Smoked produce can also be purchased from the local smoke house and organic vegetables, herbs and fruit can be bought locally.

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