Plockton: Palm trees in the UK are usually associated with Torquay on the Cornish Riviera, so it comes as a pleasant surprise to first-time visitors to the very pretty village of Plockton on the Highlands’ west coast to find them along with pretty cottages again evocative of the Cornish coast.
Behind the bucolic idyll we see today, is a murky history of the Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries when Plockton was the embarkation point for many families forced to emigrate. Landowner with a conscience, Sir Hugh Innes, decided to develop the village as a fishing centre to offer displaced and dispossessed families an alternative to emigration. Unfortunately, the subsequent herring catch failure, beginning in around 1850, caused enormous hardship and the village did not begin its recovery until the arrival of the railway during the 1890s.
Today, Plockton has its own airfield and the sheltered bay is popular with visiting yachts. All the usual facilities are available: Shops, cafés, hotels, restaurants, craft and gift shops. There is also the chance to hire boats (canoes, kayaks and glass bottom boats) and visit their very own “coral beach” which, like its more famous Skye cousin, is not made of coral but rather calcified seaweed known as maerl.