Sunart is a rural district of Argyllshire, on the shores of Loch Sunart, in the very north of the county. The main village is Strontian, at the head of the loch, which is the location of Ardnamurchan High School, the local fire station, police station and other facilities.
The district is bounded to the south by the eastern half of Loch Sunart and by part of Morvern, to the west by the Ardnamurchan peninsula (beyond Salen), to the north by Loch Shiel, and to the east and north east by the district of Ardgour, from which it is divided by a range of high hills. The main lansdward access to the area is by way of Glen Tarbert, from the Corran Ferry, although there is also a road coming in from Lochailort, by way of Moidart, to the north. Although the area may seem isolated now, in the past the main mode of transport in the West Highlands was boat, and the district was well-integrated into the west coast economy and culture.
Nearly all of the population of Sunart lives in a narrow ribbon of small settlements along the northern shore of Loch Sunart, with a southerly aspect. The inland, including the shore of Loch Shiel, consists of rough, hilly country, mainly moorland, peat bog and woodland, dominated by the main hill, Beinn Resipol.
The main income for the area is tourism, with some salmon fish-farming.
Sunart is renowned for the richness of its wildlife, and it contains some of the best surviving remnants of the ancient temperate Atlantic |oak forest which once clothed most of the west coast of Great Britain but now survives only in isolated pockets. Loch Sunart itself also has a rich flora and fauna. In the past salmon and sea trout angling was important to the local hotels, but, like much of Europe, the runs of fish in the spring and summer are much reduced.
The area is reputed to have the widest variety of fungi, lichen and bryophyte species in the whole of Europe, due to the mild, wet oceanic climate.
At present a campaign is underway to remove Rhododendron ponticum, an invasive, introduced species.
Places in Sunart
- Achnanellan, Anaheilt, Ard Airigh, Ardery, Ardnastaing, Ariundle
- Glenhurich, Gorstanvorran
- Salen, Scamodale, Scotstown, Strontian
The element Strontium (Sr) was named from Strontian on Morvern, as it was first discovered there in 1790 by Adair Crawford and William Cruickshank, in the ores from lead mines.