Yet again, another rainy interlude!!!
Applecross Estate walled garden isn't actually advertised, there are just directions to the Potting Shed, the restaurant inside the garden. No admission and to be honest, not a lot to look at except a huge amount of varying types of lettuces gone to seed, mainly. There were herbs and other vegetables hidden amongst the weeds. This is what they called an organic garden, to me, it just looked like it needed a good old weeding!!! Still, I like looking round vegetable gardens and it was interesting to see rye growing for the bread that's baked on the restaurant premises.
From the garden, there are various walks throughout the Estate. I thought it was a nice touch that the grounds were open and managed for people to enjoy the simple pleasures of walking. So many places these days are NOT accessible to the public.
2009 UPDATE: HAVE HAD A COMMENT FROM THE OWNERS WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:
"We would love you to update your description of the Walled Garden. It is now two years since you visited us and we have been accepted for Scotlands Gardens for next year."
A real get away from it all place!!! Take the road along the north shore of Loch Torridon and travel the eight miles to Lower Diabaig. It's another spectacular single track road, climbing steeply up the Bealach na Gaoithe pass, passing the inland loch of Diabaigas Airde and upper Diabaig (a couple of cottages) and then descending extremely steeply into Lower Diabaig.
The village consists of a row of pretty cottages on the shore of Loch Diabaig with a few more back up on the steep road in. I think I noticed drinks and snacks advertised at a house on this road. There's a salmon farm run from a white building on the shore and an old pier. There's also the obligatory red phone box and a notice was just being pinned to a boat shed door about boat trips.
Jagged cliffs seem to hem the village in to the south and west, whilst to the north the land is more gentle and green whilst still being very steep. From here you can walk to the point where the road meets Redpoint, seven miles away. By car, an amazing 45 miles!!!
Plenty of small boats bobbed about in the water and we thought the place simply beautiful. So peaceful and picturesque with only the odd tourist car appearing every once in a while.
This seemed to actually be two places, Alligin Shuas and Inveralligin. Very much off the beaten track but an interesting little place to visit. No facilities whatsoever although you are allowed to camp by the River Alligin which flows into Loch Torridon here.
Just a few cottages, a phone box, post box,village notice board, bus shelter and a dig your own veg field. Ironically, we decided to phone home from here and used the old red phone box facility. Close by, a BT man was up a telegraph pole fixing something or other. Anyway, it didn't interfere with our call.
For slightly more info, read local customs tips.
Head away from Torridon Loch towards Diabaig. A couple of miles further on, there is a carpark for hikers tackling some of the bigger walks around here. It's the start of the path up Bein Alligin and the Torridon mountains. Opposite the car park is a reasonable wayterfall. We tried walking to it but couldn't get a better view than from the road as the ground was just so waterlogged.
Back to the carpark and there is a gate, open, that leads down the river. I presume this is all part of the estate at the bottom, by the loch. I had a wander downstream, passing a couple more falls and some pools good enough for swimming in and eventually found myself by a little loch.It was quite picturesque, with water lillies growing and some wonderful reflections. I didn't dilly dally too long, the midges were beginning to seriously annoy me!!
This path was extremely wet and rough, it seemed to disappear in parts. I also noticed many trees had been uprooted .
This was quite an interesting place. There are two parts to it, the first part is the new jetty where the fishing boats load and unload. We went down on the motorbike to have a look but there was no action other than a sailing boat passing on it's way out of the creek. Not what you would call pretty, but a work-a-day place where I took a couple of reasonable photos.
Continue along the road to it's end and you arrive at a row of old fishing cottages, set on top of the shelving beach and here are remains of a much older harbour. We also saw evidence of fishing methods from a different era, rows of stones leading into the water which were used to trap the fish by. A few cottages are scattered about, some looking pretty derelict. Sheep grazed amongst them and I thought I bet they taste good!!!
Definitely an end of the world feel here. I could almost imagine the people still wearing the attire of long ago.
From Applecross, the narrow road continues southwards, through Milton, where there was a mill but the only remains are the pond and a grinding stone or two in people's gardens. The road passes the tiny creeks of Camusteel and Camusterrach, both fairly tatty backwaters that dry out at low tide, by-passes Ard Dhubh and ends at Toscaig Pier. The village is a short way inland and lies at the north end of the south facing Loch Toscaig. The pier is the end of the road and is no longer used, owing to the fact that the harbour is only with water so many hours a day and a new harbour was built at Ard Dhubh, not so prone to drying out. At one time, during the 1950's, a motorboat service ran from Toscaig to the Kyle of Lochalsh but ceased in the 70's for one reason or another. Shame.
The pier at Toscaig was derelict for many years and extremely unsafe. Now, it has been concreted in and you are able to park on it. We thought it would be a good place to spend the night in the motorhome but were put off by the lack of breeze, hence the midges arriving in droves. There is also a small picnic area here complete with tables.
In 1997, the Applecross Trust opened the land on the estate to the public, thus enabling locals and visitors to enjoy the glories of the landscape around them. From Applecross Estate, there are way-marked paths, heading along the riverside and up into the hills. They are all well sign posted and have information points along the way.
I opted to take in the Roe walk, simply because I like walking along river sides and I had read there was a tunnel made from the rhododendron roots. The walk was not too strenuous and took in some lovely countryside, initially following the river, where I learnt about the wild salmon from information boards. Before long I was climbing and then the path veered away from the river, through a couple of very dark tunnels formed by the rhododendron roots and out and up to a viwing platform. Unfortunately I didn't spot any wild life here but further down the hillside on the last leg of the walk there were roe deer on the hillsides, who apparently come down to the beach where we were camping, at night time. Never saw them on the beach but plenty of evidence!!!!!
The church is built on the site of a monastery built by an Irish monk, Maelrubha, in 671AD. The area was known as the Sanctuary. Today, nothing bar the odd stone remains of the monastery. The parish church was built in 1818 but is also now mainly and sadly, disused, apart from funerals or so I have read. Whatever, it has a beautifully simple interior and is very atmospheric. Outside, there are some interesting grave stones, one of which bears a skull and cross-bones image, and the remains of a bit of a cross from the monastery.
Also in the grounds are the remains of a pre-reformation chapel, close to where St. Maelrubha is purported to have been buried.
I always find it very emotional reading the epitaphs in a graveyard, especially when young people are involved.
Applecross has a fascinating, modern new Heritage Centre, opened in 2003.
As it was raining (once again) we decided we'd better pay the centre a visit. We weren't expecting anything very exciting but at least it would get us out of the van for a while.
It actually was a very interesting place and we learnt much about the area and why Applecross exists (down to Applecross House and Estate.)We also learnt about the two roads in, the coastal route only being completed in 1975. Some fascinating old photos of the Bealach na Ba Pass before any of it was widened. Wow!!What a road it must have beeb in those days. There were also some strange exhibits, the most peculiar I thought were the old fishing floats made from sheeps bladders!!!
There is also a reading room where archives and records are kept and a gift shop where local crafts are sold.
All in all, we gained quite a lot from our £2 admission. And it was still raining when we left!!!!
Open Easter to October, 12 noon - 4.00pm.
Shieldaig is picture postcard pretty and has an island feel about it with it's row of white washed houses running along the waterfront, looking out to Shieldaig Island.
It sits on Loch Shieldaig, an off-shoot of Upper Loch Torridon and is mainly by-passed by the main road. It's name derives from the Norse word for herring bay, which was originally how the town came about. People were attracted to the place by grants handed out for the building of boats and houses and the learning of the fishing trade.
Those who bother to visit will find easy parking in parking bays and a carpark, complete with recycling facilities and a public toilet. There is an excellent hotel serving good food (not that we tried it) and a village shop. Accommodation is available as well as an area above the village that is designated for camping, caravans and motorhomes. This is a basic facility with no toilets and an honesty box for the rent.
Shieldaig Island , in the bay across from the village, completes the picture. The island has been owned by the National Trust since 1970 and the Scots pines growing there are a protected species.
And last but not least, the annual fete is held in August, which attracts visitors and locals alike.
Applecross is one of the most tranquil, beautiful places in the world. Its been popular with travellers for over 30 years now, so I don't need to advertise its existence.
Shore Street is a street of terraced houses overlooking Applecross bay. Glorious in the summer when its sunny.
The Bhealich is the highest mountain road in UK which you take to get to Applecross from Loch Carron. Its an awesome car journey and well worth the rewards.
Sand is just that - a lovely stretch of sand(!) It is also on the coast road, which is the only other way for cars to access Applecross.
The Walled Garden on the Applecross Lodge estate is a lovely place to walk around. The flowers and trees inside are varied and lovely, and there's a small tea-shop where you can sit among the plants and munch on a sandwich.
There are excellent walks and hikes around the Applecross area. In the town of Applecross, there is a very helpful map of hikes along the seashore and around the peninsula. The paths are well signposted, making it easy to wander around. You can tramp along the beaches and rocky shores near the village, or walk a bit inland to take in the pretty countryside. In contrast to the barren landscapes that mark the approach to the town of Applecross, the area right around the village itself is very green and fertile. This photo shows the Applecross River, which empties into the sea just north of town.
having spoken of the applecross inn and its` views of spectacular sunsets over raasay and skye, I thought you should see an example