Applecross retains a sense of being apart and remote. The gaelic name A’Chomraich – the Sanctuary testifies to early Christianity with the Irish Monk Maelrubha founding this Christian settlement in 673 AD settlement on the land between the river and Beinn A’Chlachain.
The Bealach Na Ba (Way of the Cattle) is perhaps the best known single track road in Scotland. It crosses the Applecross Peninsula and is the highest pass in Scotland rising to 2053 ft (626m) and until 1975 was the only land route into the Applecross settlements. Visitors may like to arrive via the Ba and drive a loop along the north road rather than retracing their steps.
More information from http://www.applecross.info
From Varis, the trip starts by heading east on the A87 and then taking the A890 north towards Stromeferry and Strathcarron. Do stop at the viewpoint above Stromeferry to take in the views. The next section of road runs alongside the railway to Strathcarron station. After heavy rain, there are several gushing waterfalls along the roadside and when there was a serious landslide in 2014, the old route with a ferry across Loch Carron at Stromeferry was reinstated to avoid the 133 mile long diversion round by Loch Ness.
After Strathcarron, turn left onto A986 towards Lochcarron. Lovers of tartan and Scottish weaving might wish a short divert to Lochcarron Weavers at North Strome.
Otherwise, follow the A986 taking in the views along Loch Kishorn until you reach the turning to the Bealach Na Ba at Tornapress.
The road is spectacular even in poor weather conditions with progress requiring strict adherence to the etiquette of single track road with passing places. Do take careful note of the warnings on the road signs before setting off. There are a number of hairpin bends and steep edges so confident drivers and trusting passengers are required.
Once back down to the coast, there are a series of settlements along the Applecross coast from Toscraig in the south to Applecross bay and beyond.
The road continue then north along the west and north east coast of the peninsula along Loch Torridon to Sheildaig and then rejoins the A896 to complete the circuit to Tornapress and then back home via Lochcarron.
The Applecross Inn is renowned for its seafood and while you may need to wait for a table, it is worth it. In busy periods, the Inn opens up its retro food-truck.
The Walled Garden by Applecross House grows lots of its own vegetables and raises its own wild boar/Tamworth crosses.
At Sheildig, Nannys Cafe is lovely (rhubarb jam with scone recommended) and there are some artisan smoke houses.
Half a mile north of Cuaig, look out for Croft Wools and Weaver. Tom Kilbride uses a hand loom and natural dyed wool to create beautiful textiles. He and his partner Lesley also sell other locally created crafts of high quality and lovely wool. Tom runs courses in weaving ranging for 2 hour tester sessions to a two day course.
North of Applecross look out for Applecross seafood and smokehouse and you’ll also find some artisan smokehouses in Sheildaig.
You’ll also find a stained glass workshop and Angora Escosse.
And lots of lovely scenery.