Looking along a long straight road amidst lush green farmland

Home 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.

A small stone table with a few names and poppy wreaths to remember those who dies in the wars
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!

A narrow lane winds across hardy moorlands with a clump of mountains in the far distance
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.

The calm sea and sunshine next to small white highland houses and thick lush grasses
Kenmore sheltered hamlet
tea pot, cup, bench, andy's gs1200, the loch and the hills at the cafe
Nanny’s in Shieldaig
Simple hand printed wallpaper with a plaque describing who makes it and their details
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.

A large round hill above which we can just make out a large bird
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!

A stunning mixture of mountains, hills, sea, skies and landscapes in The Highlands
Gorgeous
A very wide angle shot of the wild and vast highland scenery
And more

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.

Looking through thick pine trees to a loch and angular hillside
A walk in the pine forest
tall pines and a narrow path overlook a loch
A tall pine tree naked lower down against the rugged highland backdrop
Tall trees and short trees, a loch and the browns of the hardy scottish grasses
mushrooms in the grass have a pinkish hue

I’m guessing these are poisonous
A thick clump of trees and flowers and ferns and grasses

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.

Wide andlge shot of a loch with the angular hills and mountains beyond the stoney beach
Loch Maree
Again more hills, mountains, trees, hard grass and calm coastal lochs in the north west of Scotland

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.

A broad swathe of golden sand in a bay on the western coast
Achnasheen beach

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.

A large sea loch with a few small boats at moor and the angular highland mountains
The view at the back of Ardmair Point campsite
The sun is low in the sky reflecting off the water with rocks and seaweed and mountains
The view at the front of Ardmair Point campsite
A logn pebble beach curves away into the distance, just inland we can see a campervan or two
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.


Contact Bikes And Travels via ren@bikesandtravels.com

Llangollen Andy starts his trip to Scotland... by going to Wales! It is a long way from London Village to The Highlands though, give the man a break.
Friends And Finally Scotland Day 2 and 3 of Andy's Scottish expedition - and he's only just reached the borders. He's having way too much fun and should be focused on heading North.
Bad Weather, Brilliant Roads Andy's first proper ride into Scotland is proving to be a cracker even if the weather is dire.
Exploring Arran and The Mull Of Kintyre There's wildlife and scenery aplenty for Andy as he explores Arran and The Kintyre Peninsula. "Mixed" weather is keeping him on his toes though.
Easy Onto Mull Andy is taking in the splendid West Coast of Scotland at a sensible pace. From the Kintyre Peninsula to the Isle Of Mull there's a lot to take in.
Walking On Iona Andy is using Shank's Pony to get himself around the small island of Iona. Thing is the island isn't quite as small as Andy's feet had hoped for.
Mulling Around To The Mainland When Tobermory is a major town you know you've been somewhere remote. Andy is making his way up the West Coast of Scotland now.
Bealach na Bà Ain't So Bad Andy is making his excuses for a late start today, but it's all self-inflicted. It's time to be overwhelmed by the not really scary Applecross road.
The Wonder Of The West Coast Andy is up on the West Coast of The Scottish Highlands now, and it shows with his achingly beautiful pictures.
The Wonder Of Even More West Coast Andy is exploring the remote and lonesome shores of the North West of Scotland. Geology, beauty and single track, all in another day's ride in The Highlands.
Out Of The Good Stuff, Into The Weather After The splendour of The Highlands and West Coast of Scotland Andy is now at the top of the country. Is there much to report?
The Scottish North East Coast Andy after reaching the tip of the UK is now meandering his way south along the east coast. Being back in civilisation means proper food in solid buildings.
No Nessie And Wet Cairngorms Andy looks at Loch Ness and The Cairngorms, well, when the weather allows at least.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North said :-
Stunning, just stunning.
The Torridons are something else aren't they.
Did I say Stunning.
Upt'North.
10/02/2020 10:57:21 UTC
ROD said :-
The west coast looks great!
Lovely pics.
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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