Day Two 2018
 


   


 

Day Two

  It is 6am and we are up and the coffee is on the make.

 

We have showered and the sun is rising on another beautiful day in the Scottish Highlands as we get ready to commence Day Two.  

 

We have camped overnight at the Wee Campsite where we give it a 5 star rating, it gives you what you expect and nothing more.

It is a wee site with basic facilities and that is all we need, and that Hot cup O Coffee to start the Day.

So if your in the Lochcarron area and in need of just a wee basic campsite, then this is the one.  

As we leave Lochcarron along the A896 towards Tornapress and pass the shore over looking Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron with the Isle of Skye piercing the Horizon in all its glory, we feel we have the perfect start of a day in the Highlands.

The Scenery has changed and all around us we are staring at new views, new hills, new sights, new everything and it is becoming more than we had thought. Scotland is such a Wondrous Country.  

 

THE BEALACH Na Ba

 

 

 

  Once we get near Tornapress its a left turn on to the Bealach Na Ba, one of the steepest roads in Britain.

 

So, this is IT, this is the Creme de la Creme of the North Coast 500, this is what people awe about, let's see if they are right, it is now time to climb that road.  

As we drive closer and head upwards we notice that there are low clouds hanging close to the Bealach Na Ba summit and suddenly, possibly like many other people are dreading the thought of our possible highlight of the trip being ruined by the great Scottish weather.  

For weeks the sun has shone like never before over the Highlands, and now today, just because we are here it decides to teach us a lesson never to trust the weather in these parts.

Luckily for us we are well aware of this and we never give up hope of the Low Cloud being burnt off by the sun above.

The drive and the view is something to witness, it is simply awesome, it is a drive that is just a once in a lifetime for most, so if you have the time, drive it both ways, you will not be disappointed.  

 

 

CLICK FOR AN EXPERIENCE OF THE BEALACH-NA-BA

 

      After reaching the summit which was covered by Low cloud we decided, 1, We were not happy at the Weather, 2, we were hungry as we had passed on breakfast, 3, we wanted an excuse to do it again.

 

So with low cloud and hunger in mind we heading back down the Bealach-Na-Ba towards the Bealach-NA-Ba Cafe and Gallery which lies at thesouthern most end of the road.

 

 

 

 

  We entered this very Clean and fabulous Cafe and with kindly and friendly staff our experience was enhanced even more.

We order a couple of healthy Bacon Butties and a couple of coffees.

They duly arrived and were to say the least exceedingly scrumptious and scored a good 10/10.

The staff were so efficient that even when I started to cough for no apparent reason and I struggled to stop they came across and duly delivered a nice glass of fresh water which did the trick.

We had a wee look around their Gallery which was nice and at a nice price, but not being arty folk who are we to pass judgement.

Overall, this was only Day two and this place kept up the good " Welcome Mr Tourist " work and easily gets full marks in all aspects, even for there spotless and lovely toilets.

After we got back outside stuffed and watered we headed up the road again, which after the early morning low cloud was now starting to get bathed in Sunshine. 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

The road was built in 1822.

And the original road was rough gravel and very difficult to clear in winter months, meaning it could be blocked for weeks on end.

It was eventually asphalted in 1950.

It’s not advised for learner drivers, or very large vehicles or caravans after the first mile.

The name is Gaelic for 'Pass of the Cattle'. It is also one of the most challenging drives in Scotland.

As we reached the summit for a 2nd time, but this time we can now see for miles, and the views are spectacular with one exception.

At the summit all I could see initially were ugly stone towers built by bored or stupid folk with nothing better to do than ruin a habitat that has stood the test of time.

This craze is just ridiculous as we are to find out the further round the NC500 we go.

If you feel you should build one, I think you need to read exactly what harm it can do before you do.

Finally we move back to the road and head down the other side towards the now famous Applecross Inn  

 

 

 

The views from the carpark are something else, and the area as a whole just made you feel at peace with the World, so quiet, so beautiful.

The Inn looked very appealing and if time allowed this would be one place that would be worth staying for a few days, not just for all that there is to see and do in the area, but I could just do with one night in the Inn, with a wee Dram listening to some good Auld Scottish Music, imagine, what a way to end your day.

But it's onwards for us, now with the area that is supposed to be the best of the Route, we start to think, is it all going to be downhill……Lets drive on and. find out.  

Heading further round the peninsula we reach places like FearnmoreArdheslaig, and the list goes on, the whole area is just too stunning for words, it is simply awesome and if you haven't been, you are really in for a treat of a lifetime, no where on earth is there beauty like this.

Not just the views of the Hills but also with the sunshine the views across to Loch Torridon and Shieldaig are just jaw dropping.  

Driving and stopping for numerous photographs we head past Sheildaig towards Kinlochewe and the appearance of the glorious mountains of Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe are just stupendous.

People say that the Bealach-Na-Ba is the best part of the entire trip, but for one, I certainly disagree, this part of Wester Ross is just stunning in everyday.

We have a glorious day to spend here and given my time again I for one would use this area as a base to allow for days of exploring this wondrous area.

 

 

 

 

  As we approach Kinlochewe we turn onto the A832 heading to the Beinn Eighe Visitors centre.

Now this is a place where you could spend days with the family, kids would love the sheer openness that there is around here.

You could walk for miles, see wildlife like you have always dreamed of, even the glorious Golden Eagle is very common in this area.  

 

The Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre

 

 

 

    The visitors centre is one of the best you will visit on the entire route.  

The Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre contains a display of the geography, geology, natural history and its conservation on the nature reserve which is in the care of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Beinn Eighe was also the first National Nature Reserve in Britain.

Wildlife in this area includes Golden Eagles, Scottish Wildcat, Pine Marten, Dragonflies, and many rare birds.

This whole area is just perfect for a family holiday with too many attractions and things to do to list here.

They can offer a wide variety of activities including canoeing, golf, guided walks, rock climbing, wildlife safaris, boat trips, sea angling, diving, pony trekking and lots more.

Sadly we are limited to an exceedingly too short a time, but just seeing the visitors centre makes you want to see and taste much more of this region of the Highlands.  

So I will return even if it is just to this area.  

 

   

   

  Here is a Wee Video from the Talented Andy Campbell.

Check out his full list of fascinating videos from all over Scotland, it is like travelling with a friend as he narrates his steps as he goes about his way.

  This one is of Torridon and the surrounding area, well worth a watch.

 

 

  Carrying along the A832 we head to Gairloch, a place I was last at about 45 years ago.

The road meanders along the shores of Loch Maree leaving it behind as you cross over at Slattadale which is where you can visit another set of falls, and this one is none other than the Victoria Falls although not 'THE' Victoria Falls that most people have heard of. 

These waterfalls are named after Queen Victoria, who visited them in 1877.

If you turn off at Slattadale where there is a car park.

This is a delightful place for a picnic, looking down Loch Maree with Slioch in the distance.

We carried on to Gairloch in hope that there were spaces at the local Caravan Site and on arrival we were in luck.

Again this site offered all we needed including a warm Welcome from the Chap at the Reception building.  

 

Gairloch Caravan Site

 

 

 

Gairloch is a great place to visit and of course plenty accommodation around if you wanted to use it as a base for an extended holiday allowing you to explore the area which again has just too much to offer.
 
We arrived at the campsite and was greeted by a great friendly chap in the reception bothy.
 
Again this was a campsite we would recommend to anyone be they a camper of caravan.
 
There are obviously improvements in the pipeline with showers and toilets and this will only add to the already great friendly place that is is.
 

At the GALE Centre in Gairloch, visitors can pick up free leaflets and guides on the area.

 

Open year-round, the centre also provides information on the weather forecast, public transport, details of local events and the leisure centre and swimming pool timetables, and also has a shop and exhibition space. a definite visit for any visitor.

 

 

 

Whilst here in Garloch we decided to pay a visit to Redpoint Beach after seeing so many photos and reading so much about it.  

Off we drove along yet another wee road to the beach, but without spade and bucket.

 

Red Point Beach

 

 

  Our trip in the evening sun to Red Point was back on the road we just came but only a short trip down the A832 then taking a right just after Kerrysdale.

Then we head along this wee road passing Shieldaig which itself is a pretty wee village.

Also in Shieldaig is the fab Tigh an Eilean Hotel which is worth a stay if not really worth a bite to eat, you won't be disappointed.

Carrying on we pass another great we place Badachro, then Port Henderson which is a fishing village with plenty accommodation dotted about if you fancy a stop over ion a brilliant picturesque area.

Finally we reach the Parking area at the Beach and it is a fine walk along the Sand Dunes and Beach with terrific view of the Isle of Skye

If you have the time and are lucky with the weather as we were, then this is a definite visit.  

 

 

 

   

 

After an hour of wandering and admiring the views it was back to Gairloch for the night.  

Once we were pitched up and ready for a bite to eat it was off to find what was on offer in the town.

And right on the doorstep of the Caravan Park was the Millcroft Hotel and pub.  

We had a couple of jars as you do and then left really disappointed in a way, not much of an atmosphere and really just a local, and not being local we best look for an alternative. It was one of those places that you felt not just welcome, but we didn't even receive one, but each to there own.

We had a wee look to find an alternative but decided on something to eat and bed ready for an early start on Day 3.

We visited about the only place open, the Beachcomber Fish and Chipper.  

We both had a hearty chipper and it was as good as you get these days.  Even had a seat out in their wee patio area, so it was a fine end to a superb Day.  

 

So Day Two was as much a success as Day one, every where we went was first class with The Millcroft Pub being the only disappointment.  

Now it was bed time and ready for an early start to beat the rush hour traffic as we await the start of Day Three