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Via Applecross to Craig near Plockton

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 21 June 2008

Saturday 21 June, via Applecross to Craig near Plockton

Click here for the route and our photographs in Google Earth.
Today we go to Craig Highland Farm where we have rented a cottage on the beach of Loch Carron, but first we have a nice sleep and continue to talk for a long time with Iain and Cathy, our hotel owners. Outside it is raining and we do not leave until noon. We do not have such a long drive ahead, although it is going through a fantastic area.
View on Loch MareeThe west coast of Scotland is really our favorite area, the views are beautiful, there are mountains and it is inhospitable and deserted except for the many sheep and sometimes some game. First we have a beautiful view of Loch Maree, a freshwater lake in which of course also a monster is told to live, the Muc-sheilch (pronounced Moek-Helluch). Well, a little self respecting loch must have a monster of course ... Loch Maree is considered by many people the most beautiful lake in Scotland and we have to admit that the view is fantastic as we drive by, but believe us, there are still much nicer (smaller) lochs.
Inveralligin View at InveralliginAt Torridon we take a dead-end road to the northwest where a number of small villages lie along the coast on Upper Loch Torridon. It is a wonderfully quiet on the road and the views are great. I often try to capture such an image in my memory, but in Scotland we see so many of these beautiful areas that it is difficult to separate them all.
Selfservice at InveralliginIt becomes easier when you see such a stall, which is less overwhelming than the vast nature, but very telling: people are still relying on the honesty of the people. Take what you want, weigh it and then put the required money in a jar. In the Netherlands the money jar probably would disappear within minutes, but not here. Inver Alligin used to be a real smugglers' village where illegal whiskey was brewed and shipped.
Loch Torridon at Alligin Shuas Loch Torridon at Lower DiabaigWe drive down the road until we can not go any further to Lower Diabaig and we wonder, as so often in the remote areas in Scotland, where all the people who live here make their money. There will not be much well-paid work except livestock farming and fishing. Yet the houses look prosperous and well maintained. From conversations with people we know that most Scots are very enterprising and accept any job they can get.
Building in TorridonWe are not such long-distance hikers ourselves, but if we wanted to make longer trips it would certainly be here. Around Torridon nature is really amazing even though in Scotland you always have to take into account sudden weather changes. One moment it can be sunny and warm, the next moment you are in the mist and the temperature drops quickly. Somebody once said of Scotland: 'bad weather in Scotland? That is not so bad, rather people who are badly dressed for the weather'.
House along Loch TorridonAfter this detour (which takes an hour and a half) we drive south of Loch Torridon onto the peninsula Applecross. Large warning signs tell you to be very careful if you want to go on the road with a caravan. Applecross is not the easiest place to come, but worth it. Only a few hundred people live in this vast area and it offers views that we are not able to grasp in the photographs.
Sheep near Ardheslaig Beach at ApplecrossSmall settlements, harbors, mountains, sea and sandy beaches, Applecross has it all. It sounds like advertising, but we are happy that it is fairly quiet. In the town of Applecross we visit the small supermarket so at least we have something to eat for the weekend, but there is not much there. Where does the Applecross Inn get all that tasty food, served by beautiful red-haired Scottish ladies who all belong to the family business?
Bealach na Ba, Pass of the CattleFrom the village of Applecross we drive into the mountains over the Bealach Na Ba or the Pass of the cattle. This is probably the most impressive mountain pass in Scotland with sharp hairpin bends and only one lane in most places. We have already driven the road twice from both directions and this way you probably get the most beautiful with a view of Loch Kishorn when you drive down. But there is not much time to enjoy since you also carefully have to wacth the road and at a single parking place everybody stops for a picture. The photo shows the pass from the other side of loch Kishorn.
Our holiday cottage, Craig Our holiday cottage, CraigAnd then we arrive soon at Craig Highland Farm where we have reserved a house. People who have already been there have emailed how beautiful it should be and we are certainly not disappointed. We are told that the key is in the door and where we have to park. Then we have to walk another 100 meters, over an unguarded railway crossing to reach a characteristic stone building. The right half is ours.
View from our cottage, Craig Highland Farm Our holiday cottage, CraigInside it is all small and cuddly, but oh so nice! And how surprised we are when 2 llamas show up for the door to see which strange guys are coming by. The stoves inside are already on, unfortunately it is necessary because it is getting very cold.
Island before Craig Highland Farm Island before Craig Highland FarmOur view is on Loch Carron, with two small islands in front and a stone beach. Add a few more llamas, some mountains in the background and you have an idyllic spot. We have made so many pictures tonight that we do not know which ones to choose to show here.
Elisabeth before our cottageAfter we have installed ourselves in the house we go to the beach and there is a lot to see and to find. Soon we have our hands full of shells and beautiful stones. Elisabeth does have a strange collision with the smallest lama: it comes running towards her and stops right in front of her nose, about 10 centimeters away, looking at her cheekily. Elisabeth can not laugh about it and takes a step back. And that while I am usually the scared when it comes to assertive animals!.
Our holiday cottage, Craig Our holiday cottage, CraigOutside it is dry but cold, but inside the thick walls of the house with the heaters it is lovely. But I like to be outside when we are on holiday and have a garden or balcony. So I wear a thick winter coat and walk around a bit. At the back of the house is a wide window sill (those walls must be a meter thick!) Where I can sit and read. I do not know it yet, but I'll be there a lot more often to shelter from the rain in the coming days.
It may be cold, but this is one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed! It gives a wonderful feeling to know that we still have a whole week here. And also nice to be on ourselves again; we love to be in Beauly but after a few days we also have enough of all those contacts with people. Now we have our little world for ourselves.


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