Scotland 2016 – Day 3

Seriously… Scotland is amazing! Around every bend in the road is something else I want to stop to take pictures of. Today I drove along the shores of Caribbean blue Loch Torridon and the Inner Sound, drove across the third highest road in Scotland, and visited one of the most photographed castles in the world.

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Applecross Peninsula

I slept until 6:30 and then decided I would head out for a walk before breakfast. I walked along Loch Torridon over to the boathouse and back before enjoying eggs Benedict for breakfast. Then it was off to drive around the Applecross Peninsula.

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The harbor in the tiny fishing village of Ardheslaig

I drove back through Shieldaig and then kept following the coastal road. In places, it hugged the coastline, but mostly it was precariously tucked higher up along the hillside. The road is single-track all the way to Applecross. There are passing places fairly often, but it’s a bit nerve-wracking to see another car coming straight at you and having to back up into one of the passing places. Also nerve-wracking is coming up a hill or around a corner and not being able to see if anyone’s coming. The water was a gorgeous shade of blue/green and frequently dotted with fishing boats. There were many tiny villages along the way (when I say tiny, I mean no more than a dozen houses) and I stopped at a few of them to take pictures.

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Applecross Peninsula

Once I got to Applecross, it was on to the next adventure: driving across the Bealach na Bà. The Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle) is the third highest road in Scotland and climbs to 2,054 feet at gradients close to 20%. The way down involved several hairpin turns (all single lane of course). But the views were incredible! From the top of the pass, you can climb a short way to views over the Inner Sound to the Isle of Skye and beyond. While I was admiring the view from the top, the clouds rolled in and soon the area was covered in fog. It was quite an experience!

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Bealach na Ba

I was planning to eat a scone at the cafe at Eilean Donan Castle, but I spotted the Carron Restaurant on the way, with a sign advertising homemade baked goods with a craft shop next door. How could I resist? Unfortunately, they only had butter for the scone (not cream), so that was a deal-breaker. (I know, I’ve become a scone snob!) Instead I had the apple crumble with custard. Delicious! Then it was on to Eilean Donan Castle. You’ve no doubt seen photos of this castle situated on a small tidal island and connected by a stone bridge. The castle dates back to the 13th century, and I took plenty of photos of the outside, but I decided against visiting the restored interior.

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Eilean Donan Castle

Then it was on to my home for the next four nights: the Isle of Skye. Skye has several iconic landmarks which I hope to visit over the next few days. I got settled in at the Cuillin Hills Hotel in Portree (complete with a room overlooking the harbor), and walked into town for dinner at No. 1 Bosville Terrace. I was up late last night, so I’m turning in early. I have two possible plans for tomorrow, and I’m going to decide in the morning which direction I will head in for the day.