A Highland Tour: (2) Plockton and Applecross
I’d make the suggestion of Plockton as a lunch stop on the way to Ullapool perhaps. This is one of the most attractive villages one is likely to see anywhere – indeed it is often billed as Scotland’s prettiest village. Plockton is basically a long curving bay lined with palm trees due to the temperate climate provided by the Gulf Stream that this area of Scotland benefits from. Out in the bay sits an island which adds to the visual appeal. Plockton was renowned as the setting for a British comedy drama series called ‘Hamish Macbeth’ – the comedic and wry tales of a Highland policeman which was highly rated a few years back.
Applecross takes a little effort to get to but is well worth it. It’s a possibility as a visit on your way to Ullapool but probably more practical to take a day out from Ullapool and perhaps combine it with a visit to Gairloch (more of later). The road over to the peninsula is most memorable and known as ‘The Pass of the Cattle. It’s an old droving road over the mountains where Highland farmers would have their livestock taken to lowland markets, much like the spectacular Mam Ratagan Pass over to Glenelg. The pass is narrow, steep and has sharp switchbacks, it’s unlikely that you’ll forget this journey!
Once past the viewpoint at the hilltop with fantastic views over the bay, one drops down into the small village tucked neatly in by the waterside. There’s a lovely old inn here to take lunch.
From the village of Applecross I’d suggest a drive north around the peninsula. There really are wonderful views as you take the road which hugs the bay. Along the road can be seen ancient ruined crofts as the migrants to Canada left them in the 1800s’, a very touching and humbling experience as you imagine what went through those poor people’s minds before they left their homeland for ever.
Further on are some quite spectacular, wide sweeping beaches of white sand. You can have them practically to yourself too!