From Kyle to Lochinver - 240 miles approx

Wester Ross is the hidden gem of Scotland. Remote, sparsely populated yet rich in some of the finest mountain and coastal loch scenery to be experienced. Driving is mostly single track, although excellent condition single track with lots of passing spaces. 

Leaving Skye and entering Kyle ignore all the signs directing you through town to pick up a Northbound road. Instead turn left just before the Indian restaurant with the gruesome neon blue sign, continue past the chinese restaurant and head along a small narrow road that goes nowhere except to Plockton.

A cold and wet Plockton but nothing can diminish the stunning location

Plockton sits in a bay at the seaward end of loch carron in a stunning position. The sheltered location and the warming effects of a branch of the gulf stream bestows upon it a very mild climate. So much so that they grow palm trees along the waterfront.

However the gulf stream must have been taking a day off. A biting cold wind, frequent snow squalls and below zero temperatures did not make me want to linger, as beautiful as the location is. Even the palms looked miserable.

Onward MacAlbert. Retracing steps we joined with the road that all signs in Kyle want you to take, the main 896 to Strathcarron. 



The descent to lock Kishorn

In true west highland style it is now necessary to go inland again, along the southern shores of Loch Carron before descending to the shores of Loch Kishorn. The road then crosses the neck of the Applecross peninsular to Loch torridon. This is glorious, glorious scenery, the peaks of Torridon rising dramatically in front.

To reach the coast of the Applecross peninsuar it is necessary to cross over the neck then effectively go backwards back along the coast.

However there is another way and it is called Bealach na ba ... pass of the cattle, an infamous mountain road. 

They were right

I was quite confident in Albert, his 4 wheel drive capabilities,  winter tyres and snow socks in the boot just in case. Sadly the authorities did not share my confidence and posted a big sign.

As the road climbed even my confidence began to wane, it climbed, got narrower... climbed a bit more ...

Then the bright sunshine disappeared ...

A snow squall came in obscuring the road ahead..

The start of Bealach na ba ...pass of the cattle. The road bends to the left in the distance. Within a few minutes of taking this photograph a snow squall blew in turning day to night and obscuring the road.

It was not to be. By the time my lust for adventure was waning to zero so the police and authorities saved me from elevated blood pressure. A big locked orange gate barred further progress. The police had closed the road. Time to beat a retreat and go the long way round to Loch torridon.

Crossing over the neck of the Applecross peninsular and Loch Torridon is worth it which ever way it is approached.

The sea loch of Torridon looking towards the sea

Torridon village

From Torridon another inland journey is necessary to skirt the shores of Loch Maree, a strikingly beautiful place to be, before emerging at another jewel, Gairloch. This is Northwest Scotland at it's finest, mountain, loch and sea. Totally breathtaking.

The northern end of Gairloch bay is a peninsular that equally forms the southern boundary of the next Jewel, Loch Ewe.


Reminders of a more dangerous past.

Sometimes beauty can hide brutality and here, in Poolewe harbour, during wartime, was the assembly point for the convoys that would make the long, desperately arduous and dangerous journeys through the arctic to the russian port of Murmansk.

Here, on the North Western coast of Scotland, as far from enemy spotter planes as possible, the harsh brutality of war was prepared for.

To defend them were gun emplacements on the sounthern boundary,the headland of Am faithir mor. Today at the extreme tip of the headland reminders remain.

Loch Ewe, still used by NATo today. In the foreground a refuelling platform for warships.

Now it's inland again, through more striking mountain scenery, to arrive at the small port of Ullapool, where the Isle of Lewis ferries to stornoway depart from. Ullapool is a lovely little town, quite a metropolis by Wester Ross standards.

Towards Ullapool looking down the corryshalloch gorge

A wintery Ullapool, the ferries going nowhere because of High winds.

Ullapool is a lovely place to stay but it was not to be for Albert and myself. We were heading to the extreme end of the pensinsular that lies North of Ullapool, to the small hamlet of Altadhu and in the bay the group of Islands known as the summer islands.

At Altadhu we stopped for the night at the beautiful and spectacular beachside campsite of port a braighe , a stop enhanced by the warmth of the hospitality extended by Catriona and her family who also own the am fuaran bar just over the road. Albert wasn't allowed in the bar though, he had to stop outside.

Our last night in Wester Ross was expected to be the quietest for bad weather. After a trip that was to be trial by severe weather warning none was thought necessary for this night, the bad storm predicted to pass well North of Scotland.

The weathermen got it wrong. By 6pm the winds were gusting to gale force and a belated severe weather warning was posted. by 9pm the yellow warning was uprated to Amber. By 3am and 90 mile an hour winds were battering Albert and playing havoc with my nerves trying to sleep through it all.

The camp site of port a braighe at Altadhu where Albert and I spent our last inght in Wester ross. The summer isles in the distance.

We survived.

The next morning we set off for the small town of Lochinver and the most northerly counties of  Sutherland and Caithess. We saw Wester Ross in the foulest weather imaginable and it was enchanting and beautiful. I must come back.


Towards Lochinver. I think Albert needs to go on a diet.

Onwards MacAlbert! 

The North awaits!


Next Section of drama, mystery and passion ...Furthest North