Strome Castle is a beautiful stone ruin on the shores of Loch Carron in the Wester Ross region of Scotland. This long-forgotten Highland Keep has been partially swallowed up and reclaimed by nature, but that just adds to the beauty and intrigue of this perfectly situated little fort.
Strome Castle is an easy stop along the NC500 (North Coast 500). You have the option to park right at the castle itself or take a pretty walk from the village of Lochcarron. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting this NC500 castle below.
To see footage of the wider NC500 road trip, feel free to watch our NC500 Hikes production.
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Strome Castle History
Strome Castle was originally built in the 15th century by the then Lord of the Isles, Alexander Macdonald. The strategic position of Strome Castle was perfect for commanding views across the Strome Narrows and out to the mouth of Loch Carron. The rocky bluff that Strome Castle is perched on is rather defensive too, with steep drops into Loch Carron below.
The Clan Macdonald and Clan Macdonnell owned Strome Castle until the besiege of 1602. During the Battle of Morar, Kenneth Mackenzie (the Lord of Kintail) seized the castle and subsequently blew it up. And so, the ruins you see today of Strome Castle are pretty much as the Clan Mackenzie left it.
Visiting Strome Castle
Strome Castle used to be a much more popular castle ruin to visit than it is today. Before the Stromeferry Bypass was built, which is the section of A890 road running down the southern edge of Loch Carron, the route between Achnasheen to the Kyle of Lochalsh followed the northern rim of Loch Carron.
From the Strome Castle outcrop, a ferry was then used to carry passengers across Loch Carron to Stromeferry on the southern banks. Now the traditional NC500 route doesn’t pass Strome Castle. But, the ruins aren’t a big detour. So, visiting Strome Castle is a wonderful way to spend a quick hour or so.
Strome Castle Walk in Wester Ross
You can find free street parking close to Strome Castle. To explore the ruins, you’ll pass through a stone wall and walk along the grassy verges to reach the crumbling ruins. The stone walls are now topped in wild grasses and vegetation but still allude to their grand past.
The remaining window makes for a particularly epic shot across Loch Carron and the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. The flat grassy verge through the window opening gives a palpable sense of how high the castle sits above the loch. So, you can see just why this location for Strome Castle was chosen.
At the entrance to the castle, you’ll see an information plaque. This shows an illustration of what Strome Castle would have originally looked like. The castle was tower-like and made a great defensive outpost for watching over the Strome Narrows.
Walking around the ruins of Strome Castle is straightforward but not readily maintained. So, take care as you navigate any edges and castle walls.
For a longer walk, park up in the village of Lochcarron and walk along the loch edge to reach the castle. The walk is about 5.5km (3.5 miles) one way and takes around an hour.
How to Get to Strome Castle in Scotland
Dan and I drove the NC500 in a clockwise direction. So, we visited Strome Castle on our way to Applecross and Bealach Na Ba after having visited the wonderful Rogie Falls. From Achnasheen, you’ll follow the A890 to Lochcarron, before keeping left and following a minor road along the edge of Loch Carron. Follow signs to Strome Castle and find on-street free parking.
Feel free to click on the interactive Google Map below to see where Strome Castle in Scotland is located.
Public Transport to Strome Castle
You can take a bus from Achnasheen to Strome Castle if you prefer. The #704 bus leaves the School Road End bus stop towards Toscaig. You’ll alight in Lochcarron village at the Post Office bus stop, and walk along the loch side to Strome Castle. Although a lovely walk along the banks of Loch Carron, driving to Strome Castle is much more convenient, especially if you’re short on time.
Of course, if you don’t have access to your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring something. When hiring a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.
Other Castles on the NC500
- Ardvreck Castle: an easy-to-visit castle ruin on Loch Assynt as you drive the NC500.
- Castle Varrich: a small castle ruin perched on an exposed hilltop overlooking the Kyle of Tongue on Scotland’s north coast.
- Old Keiss Castle: a short walk along the rugged coastline of the northeastern tip of Scotland brings you to this precarious castle ruin.
- Castle Sinclair Girnigoe: on the Noss Head headland, with views across Sinclair’s Bay, is a quick and easy walk to a history-filled Scottish castle.
- Dunrobin Castle: perhaps the most popular castle on the NC500, you can pay to explore inside the castle and enjoy a stroll around its wonderful gardens.
- Castle of Mey: a perfectly positioned castle on the northern shores of Scotland with views to the Orkney Isles.
- Inverness Castle: at the start or finish of the NC500, this is another worthy Scottish castle to visit.
- Urquhart Castle: not strictly on the NC500, but rather just south of Inverness on the eastern banks of Loch Ness is this splendid castle ruin. It’s also one of the largest in Scotland.
Travel Insurance For the NC500
Whether you’re from the UK or further afield, travel insurance is a necessary evil, especially if taking on a road trip like the NC500 and visiting places like Strome Castle.
SafetyWing is an excellent budget-friendly travel insurance provider. Personally, Dan and I have used SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance many times to insure our trips. The Nomad Insurance is fantastic value for money with a smaller additional cost to add a partner. Unlike most other insurance companies, there’s an option to pay on a monthly basis, similar to having a prepaid phone plan. Better yet, there’s no lock-in contract. In addition, you can cancel at any time, which will take effect the month after.
For shorter trips, it’s also possible to use Nomad Insurance for trips lasting just days or just a couple of weeks. Indeed, SafetyWing is cheaper than almost all other travel insurance policies and covers just as much and sometimes more.
SafetyWing is a modern travel insurance company that is certainly leading the way in terms of how travel insurance should work in the future.
Travel Essentials For Strome Castle
These are our travel essentials for visiting Strome Castle, Loch Carron Scotland. For a more extensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Alternatively, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip to Scotland and the North Coast 500, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket, because you know, this is still Scotland after all.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for day trips, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm when the sun drops and you want to enjoy a sunset.
You should also pack water and snacks. And of course, your camera!
- Accommodation: if you’re looking for hotels to stay at close to Strome Castle, you should check out Rockvilla Guest House and the Cosy Chalet Lochcarron. You’re guaranteed a wonderful stay at either accommodation.
- Weather: don’t be put off by bad weather. Dan and I visited Strome Castle and Loch Carron because the rain had caused us to cancel other plans. It turns out Strome Castle was the perfect wet weather activity in Scotland. To check the forecast for the Lochcarron area, click here.
- Tours and Activities of Wester Ross: for some hassle-free tours of the wider Wester Ross area of the Highlands, GetYourGuide offers some pretty excellent tour options.
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