BEALACH NA BA, APPLECROSS AND LOCH TORRIDON
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From Skye — Leave the island by way of the Skye Bridge (free), drive straight through Kyle and Balmacara to Auchtertyre, then turn left onto the A890 (signed to Achnasheen and The North). |
Follow this road past Stromeferry (where it becomes single track) over the railway crossing at Lochcarron station. After about 1 mi at a T junction turn left onto the A896 (to Lochcarron).
Pass through Lochcarron village, staying on the A896. At the top of the hill (by cattle grid) you will see a track off to the right that makes for an interesting walk. Drive down through Cumhang a' Ghlinne, past the turning to Ardarroch and then, after the road becomes dual track, by the head of Loch Kishorn, turn left at Tornapress onto the (unclassified) Applecross pass road.
The road to Applecross winds its way up from sea level, past the abandoned Kishorn oil rig yard, past the foot of Coire nan Arr and eventually turning towards the mouth of Coire na Ba. |
There follows a ever steepening climb alongside the Coire towards its upper reaches (a classic hanging valley), up several stretches of 1 in 5, round three sharp hairpin bends to start leveling out by a lochan (small loch) on the right hand side of the road.
(If you walk back from here to look back down the pass you will have much more of a feel for the splendours of this rugged corrie.)
About 300m further on there is a footpath off to the left which will take you up to the slopes of Sgurr nan Conobhan (2km).
½ mile from the lochan is the summit of Bealach na Ba (pass of the cattle – one of the highest passes in Scotland carrying a public road) where you can pull off to the left to park at the viewpoint and admire the expansive vista which surrounds you – weather, of course, permitting. (It was snowing when these photos were taken.) There is a sign here that you should read if you plan to go walking.
Walking back 100m from the viewpoint, there is a track off to the left which takes you to a radio station which, at 776m is nearly the highest point in the vicinity and is right on the edge of the adjacent Coire a' Chaorachain.
From the viewpoinnt (drive with care – lots of blind bends), the road falls rapidly towards sea level bringing you, ultimately, to Applecross village. |
If you turn left at the T junction, and then immediately right then you will find a small carpark with toilets and an information board about "Walks on the Applecross Peninsular". Opposite the carpark is the award winning Applecross Inn where you can get a quality midday or evening meal. Or walk back up the hill, through woodland, and enjoy a meal in the Flower Tunnel.
If you wish to explore further, you can drive down to Toscaig, or take one of the walks in the area, or go to the small local history museum on the north-east side of Applecross Bay. Then continue on up north.
North Coast (Due to time constraints, not may pictures taken up here. Maybe one day...)
Our first four pictures were taken (in dreach weather) at a point shortly before the road starts
turning south-east towards Shieldaig. On the left we look south and can see Scalpay,
the western end of the Red Cuillin and the southernmost tip of Raasay.
The second picture on the left looks west, straight across the Inner Sound; Raasay on the left,
Rona on the right and Skye in the background.|
The third picture looks across the Inner Sound to the island of Rona, and beyond it to the Trotternish peninsular on Skye; and the final picture gives a closer view of Rona and the northern end of Trotternish; the high cliffs of Sgurr Mór and Sron Vourlinn being clearly visible.
Left: View across Loch Torridon from A' Bhainlir towards An Ruadh-mheallan (672m, centre), Sgurr Mhór (986m, mid-right), and Tom na Graugail (922m, right). The last two can also be see in the second picture, with snow capped Mullach nan Rathain (1023m) stands proud in the distance with the beginning of Upper Loch Torridon at its foot. The remaining two pictures were taken from the same spot, the first showing more detail of Mullach nan Rathain while the second opens up the vista howing more of the Torridon peaks and, on the right, Loch Sieldaig, with Shieldaig iself on the far shore, and, extreme right, Ben Shieldaig.
That is the end of this tour round Applecross peninsular. At the end of the road you can turn left onto the A896 and left again into the pretty village Shieldaig and have a meal, or turn right and drive along Glen Shieldaig back to Lochcarron and return home to Skye.
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