For more favourite villages please see: SCOTLAND’S LOVELIEST VILLAGES
Situated within the magnificent Wester Ross area , the village’s Gaelic name ‘A’ Chomraich’ translates as The Sanctuary and it certainly feels like that after a drive over the Bealach na Ba – the Pass of the Cattle – Britain’s 3rd highest road , travelling through scenes of raw mountain grandeur.It’s rated one of the world’s Top 10 drives.The peaceful softness of the village’s setting is in stark contrast to what has gone before.
I can’t resist the Applecross Inn for lunch – or for a change occasionally, the excellent Walled Garden restaurant in the grounds of Applecross House.The Inn calls me most often because it’s by the wild sea, with a tiny terrace where – on warm sunny days – langoustines never tasted better.
In winter there’s always a cosy fire going.
At the far side of the turquoise bay, the 7th century saint, Maelrubha, is buried in the grounds of pretty Clachan Church though his grave is unmarked. The kirk is well worth a look for its austere stone and white washed interior as well as its important history.
There is a great sense of peace inside the church, given its simplicity.
The Irish saint founded a monastery here and declared the 6 mile radius around it to be a ‘sanctuary.’ It was part of the advance of Celtic Christianity across Pictland and continued the work begun by St Columba on Iona.There are the remains of a 15th century chapel still visible in the graveyard and an 8th century carved stone.
Sunsets from Applecross over the Black Cuillin mountains of Skye are stunning.
Look out for sea eagles in the area too as they hunt here regularly. Often the first signs are the gulls or other birds making a racket because a major predator is in their midst.I love seeing these amazing birds of prey, truly majestic.
Sand beach is a short drive round the bay and a glorious place for a stroll.The sharp outline of Skye sits impressively across the sea.The light up here changes by the minute, a photographer’s dream, as the huge skies change with the next brief weather system coming in.
The Bealach na Ba drive is not to be missed! It means the ‘Pass of the Cattle’ and is literally where stock was walked over the mountains to the markets of the south.It’s pronounced ‘Byalach nam Bo’ with the ‘y’ sound as in yacht.The winding, single track road rises above the village quite benignly at first as the road climbs over 2,000 feet into the mountains in a short distance.The views from the top, where there is plenty parking, are out of this world.If you can manage around sunset, all the better.
Then it’s a sharp plunge over the other side of the corrie headwall – and a heart-in – the mouth- moment as the land seems to disappear beneath the car! But it’s a mirage, the road is there and well barriered, totally safe and the sharp hairpin bends are soon over!
I could never tire of this drive, no matter the countless times we have done it – both ways – taking us through inspiring, wild country. Only 15 mins or so up and the same time down to sea level again, so quite short, but we have taken an age to do it, so good are the views.In summer, it can take longer given how popular the route is and the fact that it is single track with passing places. But winter or summer, it’s a stunner, even if you don’t get the views at the top because of mist or rain.Gothic grandeur all around.
Skye and Rum from the top.
There is a lovely waterfall near the start of the road on the Kishorn side where red deer stags often graze.A nice place for a picnic or a break.
Great mountain walks everywhere of course but there are less strenuous options too.A new one we discovered in February, on a very wintry day when the hills were out because of high winds, was the 1.5 hour (uphill certainly) boggy walk on a deer track to the stunningly beautiful Lochan Coire nan Poite. Some photos of it below but I need to write it up in more detail.It starts at the base of the Bealach na Ba road on the Kishorn side and I highly recommend it if you are well clad and have a map.It will look much more benign in summer and of course, very green!
For more on the stunning Torridon and Applecross area please see: torridon