Scotland 2017 - Day 10
Mallaig to Inverness via Plocton and the road to Applecross
Today was planned to be a leisurely cruise around the "Small Isles" (Rum, Muck, Eigg, Coll) on a Calmac ferry, but the weather had been bad and the sea was still rough. Calmac advised that the sailing would probably be cancelled so we decided to take the scenic route to Inverness. We crossed back over to Skye (Its only £15 for car and two people) and headed for the (in)famous Skye Bridge. Although we had been to Skye twice before we had still not used the bridge. This was our chance, so over the bridge we went. We then turned off the main road and headed for Plocton. Apart from boasting a railway siation, there is little else to to Plocton, but it has become a tourist mecca due to its warm microclimate and subtropical trees and gardens.
From Plocton we headed further north then turned off onto the road to the small seaside settlement of Applecross. There is nothing at Applecross apart from a fish and chip shop to feed the visitors. It is the getting there that is important - the road is regarded as THE best (=challenging) drive in Scotland and probably the United Kingdom. But the weather closed in and by the time we reached the summit we were in dense cloud, so we turned around and drove back down. The views after we escaped the cloud were magnificent. It was an anti-climax to drive the sedate road through the glens to Inverness. We found our hotel on the banks of the River Ness, just cross from the Castle, so settled in and later walked across the bridge to find The Mustard Seed restaurant. We enjoyed the food and agrees that it lived up to its favourable online reviews.
Plocton, by the sea, faces south across a small bay on Loch Carron. It is sheltered from the prevailing winds and enjoys a mild climate. For some reason sub-tropical plants thrive, and the locals have taken to the NZ Cordyline or Cabbage tree.
Continuiing on from Plocton the road climbs and descends through forest. Eventually you come out at a viewpoint that gives a panorama of Lake Carron.
The road to Applecross
This road is well known to motoring enthusiasts for its steep climb and challenging corners. The view is not too bad either, but you need a clear day to be able to see it all. How could we drive past this motoring gem without taking on the challenge? There is a large warning sign at the start of the road: "This road rises 2053 feet with gadients of 1 in 5 and hairpin bends". Then the best part "Not advised for learner drivers"!! so off we went. The road is certainly a challenge, but judging by the limited driving ability of many of those we had to pass, they should have failed their MOTs (UK Driving Licence Test).
Last updated: 11/12/2017