240. Ardheslaig to Applecross

Finally back to Applecross after my slight mishap some 6 weeks ago. On this trip I was hoping to ‘plug the gap’ left by my previous trip being cut short by an injury and also to further advance my progress around the Applecross Peninsular.

I drove up the day before and reached Inverness by 20:00. I popped into Aldi to get some provisions and continued onto Applecross. I had been hoping to park the car  at Coulags again, but I could see most of the parking space was occupied by a camper van. I continued on the road towards the Bealach na Ba as I knew the location of a number of parking spots lower down. I found a great parking spot by a burn. Only a single car passed by all night. I was in for a bit of a surprise at about 1 in the morning, as a stag very, close to the car, let out a roaring sound akin something that Zombies would make! Scared the living daylights out of me!

At 06:00 I continued onto Applecross. Because it was a Wednesday I had opted to use the weekly bus service around the northern tip of Applecross. I had booked a seat on the minibus a few day before and arranged to be picked up at the Applecross Inn at 08:00. I was the only passenger on the bus which meant I could have a good chat to the driver, who was also a mechanic at Lochcarron Garage, who run the service.

I got dropped off at the road-end to Ardheslaig and began walking back to Applecross along the old road which was well-preserved in this area. The road around the northern part of Applecross is quite new, well 1976, which is quite new in road terms.  I could see why the new road was needed, with the only other way into Applecross over the Bealach na Ba, which could be impassable sometimes in Winter. I stayed on the old road for a couple of miles, climbing steadily and giving a great view back towards Loch Torridon. Most of the Torridon ‘giants’ were still in cloud, but I had great views across the loch out towards Red Point, which will feature on my next visit to the area.

After a couple of miles the old road joined the new road, which I would remain on all the way back to Applecross. The road was very quiet to start with, but as the morning wore on the traffic picked-up. However, the road was still pleasant to walk along and after passing through the small hamlets of Arrina, Fearnbeg and Fearnmore outstanding views emerged over  The Inner Sound across to Rona, Raasay and Skye beyond. Although the sun was out, the odd rain shower appeared, but not for long. With the road being very straight  it was possible to make rapid progress.  I continued on and passed through the small hamlets of Cuaig, Callakillie, Lonbain and Salacher.

At Ardheslaig with the minibus just setting off back to Lochcarron
Looking north to Red Point across Loch Torridon from the old road.
Near Kenmore and the road ahead
Not sure about this, as I can find no reference to it – local knowledge or local grafitti?
Looking back up Loch Torridon
Entering Cuaig with Rona and The Storr on Skye in the distance
Looking south down the Inner Sound towards the Red Cuillin and the Isle of Raasay on the right

Near Meallabhan I could see a  road veering to the right down to a MOD submarine testing station. Close by was a small car park and a sandy beach, with a number of people enjoying the autumn sunshine strolling along the sand. Sitting below the small crags high above the beach was a huge sand dune which appeared to have been created by unique aeolian processes in this small bay.

The road eventually turned east into Applecross Bay and I could pick out the village of Applecross across the bay, which was still three miles away. As I entered the village I passed the site of the Four Trees of Applecross. Although the original trees had disappeared just after the Second World War, four Sweet Chesnuts were recently planted to commemorate the original trees planted in a square formation. Various stories, myths and superstition surround the trees, one of which was  do with a race to claim Applecross with one of the claimants cutting off his hand to throw ahead to claim the prize and the trees planted to commemorate the event. Hmmm yes….After 6 hours of continuous walking I arrived back in Applecross.

Large sand dune above Meallabhan beach
Looking across Applecross Bay to Applecross village
One of the four recently planted Four Trees of Applecross

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24367

 

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 4,352 miles

 

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2 thoughts on “240. Ardheslaig to Applecross”

  1. Applecross looks an interesting place. I do remember reading the road to Applecross is a difficult drive, particularly in winter, I think there used to be a ferry too (perhaps there still is?). I think the village often gets cut off by snow in the winter.

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    1. Yes Jon they have snow gates for the Bealach na Ba route, perhaps one of the most iconic road sections in the UK. It was one of the main reasons they built the northern road to the village, although a lot lower than the mountain route it is the long way round.

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