We wanted to leave early, but since it became so late yesterday, we are very late this morning, too. Our plan was to drive to the peninsula Applecross and then go to the south, in the direction of Skye. After telling our plans, Cathy knows to convince us to go around Applecross today, come back here and then leave tomorrow. When we check our maps again and the time, we realise that she is right. So, we will stay another night.
So we leave for Applecross, a beautiful peninsula on the west coast. The road to it leads us also through a magnificient region, with snowy mountains and sometimes bare, sometimes forested areas. We have driven around Applecross before, but this time we take the other way around.
We enter the peninsula going up the Bealach na Ba, the cattle pass; in the beginning the road is narrow and twisting, nut later it goes steep and straight on up to the highest point at about 700 meters. It is a breathtaking climb and it snows when we reach the summit. When we ahve descended a bit we see the misty island of Skye in the distance.In the town Applecross, at sealevel, we are happy to feel that it is much warmer, almost 10 degrees. But not warm enough to sit outside, so we go in for a cup of coffee. Most people are already having beer or even something stronger, but we still have a long way to drive.
And for driving on these twisting narrow roads one has to have a clear head; sometimes we have to bend our head over the steering wheel to see if there are any oncoming cars on the road. We often feel our necks after a long day driving on these roads with so many blind summits. But the wonderful views we see are worth a sore neck, we think!
Just posing for the camera with bare arms, but we are glad when we are back in our warm car. At least it is dry and very sunny, which is more important than the temperature. We realise every time again that it is the sky that makes the country so pretty: it colours the land with different shades all the time, so it look different every time. There is no country we have been to, where we have noticed this effect so strongly as here. Maybe it is because the sky is changing all the time, or is it the reflection of the sea and the lochs, we don't know exactly. One of the mysterious charmes of Scotland.
A lonely house at the bottom of a hill, ships that are stranded because of the low tide, those are the things we often see here and we find it extraordinary to see it; it is so different than Holland and whenever we are going to win the lottery we might consider moving to the Highlands of Scotland!
The coast, formed by the sea that seeks a way into the land in the shape of lochs and fjords, is another attractive sight. The west coast of Scotland has almost never a straight line, always again there are these whimsical shapes and islands or just rocks resisting the water. Personally, we like the west coast of Scotland better than the east coast, if only because of the mountains. There are cliffs, sometimes very impressive, but not as on the west coast where the warm sea water also brings more rain and therfore more vegetation.
From the villlage of Applecross we first drive southwards and then back to the north to leave the peninsula over less high mountains. Although the sun is shining, the sky looks hazy and misty in the distance, as if there is some sort of membrance hanging in the sky, covering the 'normal' clouds as well.
At Shieldaig we leave Applecross peninsula and drive to the east. A former single track road is being transformed into a wide two-lane road, with now and then even a third lane. We hope that not all single track roads will disappear in Scotland, because that is another charm of the country, especially of the Highlands!We get a warm welcome when we return to Beauly, but this time we are off to bed early, as we promised ourselves. We are not in a hurry tomorrow, but we want to leave a bit earlier than the last few days. Today was great, but tomorrow we have another great itinerary to go.