Travel StoriesAndy's Scottish Expedition
The Wonder Of The West Coast
By Andy Gray
Day 9: Applecross to Ardmair Point 126 miles
Today feels like a really long day of riding but I don’t appear to have travelled that far. Anyway this is a long blog - does anybody read to the end?
The major miracle of the day was that all the gear is dry due to the wind blowing last night and very little rain. Not even any condensation inside the flysheet.
Applecross war memorial
Left around 10:00 heading round the Applecross peninsula. This road mainly follows the coast which turns into moorland with ferns, heather, burns, sheep & highland cattle. Saw signs for road improvements for logging traffic but there only seemed to be one small forest. Met one empty logging truck which was interesting on the single track as he wasn’t going to reverse luckily there was a small border on my side with no big drop!
There’s mountains in the distance
Found a lovely little hamlet called Kenmore in a bay with excellent views. I’ve been to its namesake in Eire as well. Stopped at Nanny’s in Shieldaig for tea and an excellent bacon & black pudding roll.
Kenmore sheltered hamlet
Nanny’s in Shieldaig
Hand printed bespoke wall paper
I stopped just up the road to take more photos and then turned to the cliff behind me and I could see an eagle patrolling the ridge. It was much too big to be a buzzard.
To the left of the biggest cloud in the middle above the ridge is an eagle, I think.
The views across Upper Loch Torridon were superb taking in The Little Red mountain, The Jewelled mountain, The Red mountain & the grey one!
This road finally ends up in Torridon where it heads inland with the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve on the left. This is an impressive set of mountains & road. The single track ends in Kinlochewe where I filled up with fuel, bought some NC500 stickers for the bike and rode the short distance to the Beinn Eighe visitor centre.
After chatting to the guy on duty, I headed 2 miles up the road to the start of a couple of trails - the 1.6km woodland trail & the 6.5km mountain trail.As I was in the bike trousers (now with winter lining), I was planning on the shorter one. There is a free guide to each of the walks which gives information about what to look out for at various points. The shorter on says strenuous and “Mostly a narrow hill path with 550 metre steep ascent & 700 metre descent”. Not sure how that works as they start & finish at the same point and I walked 1.5 miles. Great views through the various ages pine forest with fern & heather sections. I was a little warm at the end despite the morning sun hiding in the cloud.
A walk in the pine forest
I’m guessing these are poisonous
Back on the bike, I headed alone the side of Loch Maree and on to Gairloch. This was mainly two land road so it was nice to build up some speed.
Torridon, Kinlochewe & Gairloch were all planned options for an overnight stay if I’d gone to Skye. Due to the change of plans, I’d have to find somewhere later in the day.
This was all the A832 which works it’s was through some beautiful places, it forms part of the Wester Ross Coastal Trail. After Dundonnel, the road climbs through the Dundonnell Gorge to the moors at over 1000 ft. This part is called Destitution Road as it was built during the 1846/7 Highland Potato Famine to provide work & rations for crofters. You’ve got various high peaks in front of you and this is where the rain started until I descended down to the Corrieshalloch gorge and the A835 down to Ullapool.
It was getting on for 4pm when I arrived so I thought I’d take a look at the campsite in town. Unluckily it was a locked up for winter. The one a few miles north at Ardmair Point looked closed from the website. I found another which was 35 miles away but seemed tiny. As there would be no facilities nearby I went to Tesco’s to get some dinner and headed north.
When I came round the headland and could see Ardmair Point, it looked pretty open to me with plenty of campervans facing Loch Canaird, the first of the Summer Isles & the falling sun. I joined the sole tent in the large camping field and we were later joined by two more intrepid souls.
The view at the back of Ardmair Point campsite
The view at the front of Ardmair Point campsite
The view at the side of Ardmair Point campsite
It has been getting colder over the last couple of days as I’ve headed further north. Daytime temps have ranged from 9-14 C today bug it feels like it’s dropping a bit more at night with the clear skies. There’s a strong Easterly wind blowing this evening which makes it feel really cold.
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Upt'North said :-
Stunning, just stunning.
The Torridons are something else aren't they.
Did I say Stunning.
10/02/2020 10:57:21 UTC
ROD said :-
The west coast looks great!
10/02/2020 06:37:01 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Brilliant! It's about time I headed back to the Scottish highlands again, it's good for the soul...
11/02/2020 01:25:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
It is a helluva place and seeing Andy's images just makes me ache to be there once more.
12/02/2020 09:27:15 UTC
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Travel StoriesAndy's Scottish Expedition