Poolewe, This attractive little Highland village at the head of Loch Ewe, where the river enters it after flowing across the neck of land from Loch Maree owes its fame to the nearby Inverewe Gardens.
In the I 860s Osgood Mackenzie came into possession of a small estate which included Am Ploc Ard ('the High Lump'), a piece of bleak desolate peat covered land, its only vegetation heather, crowberry and two dwarf willow trees. Mackenzie had a love of nature and, aware that the district had a mild winter climate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream which sends warm water round the shores of the West Highlands, he decided to establish a garden.
This vision presented a number of practical problems, but he persevered by planting shelter trees and bushes.
He commented: 'For four or five years my poor peninsula looked miserable, but at last we could see some bright specks appearing above the heather.' These were the pine trees, which required another 20 years of growing before they were able to offer the necessary shelter for the exotic plants that Mackenzie wanted in his garden.
The end result can be seen today, a tribute to a man who disregarded failure and realized the impossible: a garden chock-full with trees, plants and shrubs which give pleasure to the more than 100,000 visitors annually who journey to Inverewe. Now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, it is essentially a spring garden, best visited in late A1.ay or early June when the magnificent rhododendrons are at their peak. But other splendid sights can be seen at other times during the year.