A weekend drive through Torridon and Applecross

By Pete Elliott

Scotland boasts some of the most remarkable landscapes with so much variety. It’s this variety that draws adventurers and photographers alike from all over the world to see Scotland’s raw beauty. Scotland has these landscapes in abundance, however on a recent road trip I travelled through Torridon a majestic mountain utopia for hikers, to Applecross and back over a weekend. It’s an incredible place with so much to see, and so many beautiful spots accessible near to the road.

The route through Torridon includes a number of significant lengths of single track road. We approached from the west to reach the base of Liatach. If you like your mountains on a striking scale then Torridon is the one for you, with some of the finest Munros in Scotland. Liatach is the name of the ridge and it’s a 5 mile ridge with eight tops of which two are classed as Munro’s. The weather was closing in as we started ascending so we weren’t too optimistic about our odds of a view from the top. It’s a pretty tough hike, you head straight up quite a steep path gaining elevation swiftly. However it doesn’t take much elevation from the valley floor before the views are enough to make you grab your camera out.

As we reached around 700m elevation we hit the snow line, the first snow of the year actually and our first taste of some authentic Scottish conditions. Nearly at the ridge we pressed on to see if any views awaited us. Unfortunately, aside from a few small breaks in the cloud making a few of the summits visible, we never made any of the notable peaks of the ridge. I still managed a few photos where my lens wasn’t completely covered with water. With wet camera gear and cold hands we beat a hasty retreat down the same path, opting for the warmth of our camper van.

After the long wet hike down we finally made the van just as it was pitch black. After drying off we headed for Applecross and Bealach Na Ba, which would be our sunrise spot for the next day of adventure on the Applecross Peninsula. After night in the van we awoke early to hit sunrise spot for the next day.

The Bealach Na Ba is a famous pass through the mountains on the Applecross Peninsula. It means pass of the cattle, and was used in previous times to drive cattle from Applecross to other parts of the Highlands. This single track road has some hairpin bends reminiscent of the Alps, and the looming cliffs that encompass the road from either side mean there are plenty of compositions to be had. We experienced so many different conditions that morning from rain, hail, and wind to finally some rays of sunshine bursting through the cloud. We spent 30 minutes or so shooting the road from the north, looking down towards Loch Kishorn.

After this we continued back towards Torridon, stopping off at a few classic spots along the way. The whole area is breath-taking so we spent a lot of time jumping in and out of the car to shoot various mountains, lochs and houses from the roadside. There is a new photo to be had around every corner. We stopped off at an abandoned cottage near Applecross first, before continuing on around the coastal path. Here we explored some of the most pristine beaches I’ve ever witnessed, something you may not normally associate with Scotland. After a brief stop we continued back towards Shieldag and back onto the road through Torridon.

Be sure to carry a telephoto to snipe some of the white house’s Scotland is famous for and distant mountains or wildlife you may encounter along the way. We finished at Loch Torridon that has the perfect backdrop of the Torridonian Mountains. Make sure you’re prepared for the weather in Scotland as often if you stay in the same place for long enough you’ll experience some incredible conditions. Playing by this rule, a double rainbow appeared over the Loch, with one being the strongest rainbow I’ve ever seen. As soon as it appeared it has disappeared and we hopped back in the car, ready to head further north and experience all Scotland has to offer.

  1. jackcairney August 6, 2020 12:10 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this Pete, and the photos are awesome, thanks.

    • ewan August 6, 2020 2:02 pm

      Great post, and lovely shots as always