Far North Roadtrip 2014
The trip to the Far North of Scotland in February 2014.
A mad dash chasing the sunshine around the northern Highlands, whilst trying to avoid the rain and getting frostbite in the freezing cold winds!
Day 1 - Rannoch Moor, Loch Awe and Appin
Haydn Arrived at Robs almost an hour ahead of schedule, after spending the previous evening with fellow Sabristi in Dundee. Glen managed to arrive about an hour late, but no matter, we headed up Glen Coe and onto Rannoch Moor for a brief exploration of Upper Glen Etive, before heading for the B8074 and Glen Orchy. Sadly, the volume of rain in the previous 24 hours meant that in both glens, the normally spectacular falls and rapids were literally swamped, the mid-river boulders lost a metre below the torrents of water flooding the glens. It was so bad in Glen Orchy that the road itself was flooded, requiring us to retrace our steps and detour via Tyndrum onto the A85.
Heading west once more, we took the B8077, before turning south to Kilchurn Castle. Sadly, the path out to the castle at the head of Loch Awe was also flooded, but next stop, the curious St Conans Church at Lochawe was not! A brief stop at the old Bridge of Awe, and out and back on the B845 through Taynuilt before reaching Connel Bridge. Then north on the A828, around Loch Creran, so avoiding the Creagan Bridge and then the unclassified roads around Appin to Port Appin and back to the A828. The sunset evaded us at Castle Stalker, and again at Cuil Bay, so it was back to the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe for tea.
Day 2 - Wester Ross
With Glen heading home for work on Monday, it was just Rob and Haydn left to head north up the Great Glen, and out on the A87 through the snowy Glen Shiel to Eilean Donan Castle. Then north on the A890 to Lochcarron, and out to Strome Castle next to the Strome Ferry. A quick blast up to the summit of the Bealach na Ba, and then onto Shieldaig along the A896. Onwards to Torridon, and out on the minor road to Diabaig, before picking up the A832 at Kinlochewe, and heading west for Gairloch, taking in the B8056 to Redpoint and the B8021 to Melvaig, and indeed the minor road (is it even a public road?) out to the Lighthouse at Rubha Reidh, before returning to a B&B in Gairloch.
Day 3 - Northwards to Durness, and Thurso
The next morning, it was north to Poolewe, where we took the B8057 to Cove, and the minor road to the end with the remnants of WW2 fortifications - this was one of the assembly points for the Arctic Convoys. Then back to the A832, ignoring the side roads now to get to the A835 and so Ullapool for lunch. North again, A835, A837 and A894, with stops here and there which we had missed in 2012. From Laxford Bridge, we took the A838 and B801 out to Kinlochbervie, and then the spectacular minor road out to the beach at Sheigra, not fancying the walk to Sandwood Bay with the icy gales blowing in!
Back to Rhichonich, and north once more on the now single track A838 to Durness, taking in some minor roads before starting to look for somewhere to stay. Sadly, Durness was closed, and so were Tongue and the other villages along the North Coast, so instead Haydn played 'beat the satnav', to get to Thurso for 6pm and a very nice B&B!
Day 4 - All the way back again
From Thurso, many people would have simply taken the A9 and A82 to get home again, but not us! After a short detour to Dunnet Head on the B855, with no fog this time and clear views of the Old Man of Hoy on Orkney, it was back west, before heading south on the rather dull A897. Down the A9, then west again on the A839 and A837, the scenery improving all the time! Lunch in Ullapool again, and then out to Achiltibuie for some stunning views of the Summer Isles, before Haydn once again played beat the satnav, shaving off nearly an hour on the long journey home to Robs!
|Far North Roadtrip 2014|