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.

It's hard to photograph the view from the Skye Bridge. Going up...
Going over and down...
The view from the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Hairy locals.
Plocton Station, with free range eggs....
Entering Plocton
The road along the waterfront
Local gardens with New Zealand Cabbage trees (Cordyline australis)
Looking back along the main road
There is a small island in the harbour.
with picnic table and escape boat...
Local tourist boat retunrs, the visitors look cold...
Taking the dogs for a walk..
in their tartan coats.
The local church was designed by Thomas Telford.

Lake Carron

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 Loch carron viewpoint
The view of Loch Carron..
A tunnel.. not many of these, too expensive..

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).

Fair warning at the turnoff at Tornapress
The road begins to climb. Yes that is a Sainsbury grocery delivery truck in front of us!
Looking back into the loch
The road climbs steeply.
Into the cloud.
The magnificent view from the top... We turned around at this point.
Even the river zigzags its way downhill.
Fish farms in the loch.
A welcome cafe. It was one of the better cafes we found in rural Scotland. Check it out here
The road through rural Scotland heading for Inverness.


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Last updated: 11/12/2017