From Talmine, we continued on themotorbike northwards and turned off to Port Vasgo. This was an unusual place, there being a natual channel cut between the amazingly strata'd rocks, then we think levelled out on by man the bottom to enable boats to be launched. I guess the locals knew what they were doing but to us, the coastline here looked totally unnavigable, wth rocks everywhere and so wild!!
There was the ruin of a croft here that I have disovered is up for sale. A mere £75,000 for a ruin..... (Have a look at the website!) It was just such a beautiful peaceful place. We were glad we had made the effort to take a look.
This beautiful beach we discovered whilst on a trip on the motorbike, north of Talmine. It has to be one of myall time favourites. It is truly spectacular, rolling waves, white sand breached by the Strath Meiness Burn and absolutely deserted.
The sun was out and the sea was so blue, I fell in love with the place and we rather fancied the ruined croft above the beach. I guess this was part of the Clearances, the re-location to the coast. Presumably survival was hard, fighting the elements of nature in this, to us, idyllic spot.
If you fancy staying in this spectacular area, there is a basic youth hostel.
Talmine has a pretty beach, a jetty, a couple more small beaches further on, a basic campsite and a shop. It has a remote feeling although it's not that far frm Tongue with it's massive facilities of pub, hostel, shop, petrol etc.
The village of Talmine sits bove the beach, with Talmine's camsite just behind the pretty beach. Not so pretty on our visit as it was drizzling and dreary!! It's fairly sheltered here and there were a few boats pulled onshore, awaiting better weather, perhaps.
From the pier, their is a rough track northwards which takes you to more little coves and spectacular views to Rabbit Islands.
I was amused to watch a group of boys happily constructing in the sand completely oblivious to the rain!!
If you don't cross the bridge at the Kyle of Tongue, the alternative route is a scenic, narrow road of around 8 miles that meanders along the loch on the west side, offering some nice views and heads inland a little as you turn to the east and proceed along this side, finally coming out at Tongue village before you join the main route once again. Take your time and enjoy the views.
I seem to remember the west side was more interesting, with some lovely views to Ben Loyal
Until 1971, the vast stretch of water known as the Kyle of Tongue, had to be crossed by ferry or circumnavigated by a winding, narrow road south of the Kyle. The bridge and substantial causeway replaced the ferry although the southerly route still remains and is a scenic gem on a clear day, offering wonderful views to Ben Loyal.
The low bridge is 201 yards long and then is linked to the causeway.On a windy day, I was a little concerned crossing on the motorbike but was reassured when a pedal cyclist rode past.
There are a few places to pull in to take inthe breath-taking views, one with picnic tables. That is what is so nice about Scotland, when there's room, they will allow parking, and at no charge! I did notice in a couple of pull offs the "no overnight parking" signs.
Fishing seemed poplar from the bridge, I guess the main rivers flows under here, those bing the Kinloch and Allt Ach an Strathain.
The village of Tongue is just south of the bridge, on the eastern side of the Kyle.
After our hot and long walk from Castle Varrich it was time to cool off and visit the beach at Tongue. You can choose from the two sides of the Kyle from both sides of the bridge. We chose the left side where we encountered a wide pale golden sweep of sand so soft your feet just sunk in deeper and deeper making walking a bit of a challenge but also a great delight. There were few people to share the beach with, just a couple and a family with two children. The dogs had a great time splashing in and out of the cool sea and running the length of this pristine beach. It was quite windy but this does add to the atmosphere of these isolated places. I did enjoy the ever changing light conditions here, the endless sky and the hug of Ben Loyal and his brothers as the mountains stood in blue hues to welcome the coast.
Just before we drove into the Village of Tongue there was a great look off point just before the end of the single track road. As usual my Husband didn't stop and I really thought we had missed out on a great photo opportunity of the views of the Kyle of Tongue. However, when we later wandered through the village we came upon a walk way which led to Castle Varrich up a winding steep path which led to a broad buff which overlooked the scenic Kyle. Castle Varrich was not really a castle in the true sense of the word - more a lookout tower given its advantageious position. Some say this ruin was a Norse stronghold going by the name of Caisteal Bharraigh which was mentioned in the Norse Orkneying's Saga. Others date it to 1500 and claim the Bishop of Caithess had it build. The last claim and most probably the nearest in truth is it was built by the Clan Mackay so they could keep watch over the land and sea to look out for fueding clans. The walk was long and hot, the views well worth the climb, but after our decent my husband clearly wished he had stopped from the comfort of the car.