I had to visit the Opticians yesterday in Inverness so I wanted to visit two pals and may be have a short walk after. The forecast was okay but temperatures were rising and we fancied a look at the West and decided to go to Applecross and make use of the road up to Bealach na Ba if it was open. It is a fair drive but we had no rush and I had a great bacon and black pudding roll ( the new super food)at Mary and Johns and we left about 1000. It was mild but as we approached the big hills they look plastered with snow but the outside temperature was just above freezing.
It was an easy drive and the road was clear just the odd snow plough about, Loch Carron was empty shut for the winter but we had great views. The Bealach na Ba is a famous road an in summer full of tourists as the views are incredible to Skye and the sea. The road carves it way up between steep cliffs very Welsh like to me and is a place of great beauty. It also means that you can get fairly high in good weather and enjoy a leisurely stroll in a mountain environment.
Bealach na Bà – Applecross
The Bealach na Ba (“Pass of the cattle”) is not a single attraction, it doesn’t have a visitor centre, and there are no visitor facilities as such.
But the Bealach is an unforgettable drive up and along one of the most dramatic roads on mainland UK, rivalling many a Swiss mountain pass and with terrific views across much of Wester Ross, the whole of Skye, and the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides. You will NOT forget this drive as long as you live! Having turned off towards the Bealach and Applecross, the road is single track ALL the way, and goes steadily uphill through a dramatic mix of mountain scenery to the summit at 2053ft (625.7 metres)
Once we reached the car park we were the only car there and at just over 2000 feet it has a weather station near the summit very handy for conditions in the area and worth a look at if climbing or waking in the area. The snow was soft and the remains of the ice we were after were diminishing so we lightened the hill bags and had a wander. Poor Mary was looking forward to trying out her new axes! The snow was wet and deep and it was warm there was a thaw on and we wandered along the ridge the views of on to Meal Gorm and of Skye and the Islands. It is amazing how easy it was to get away from the road and into the hills
It was the usual take some of the clothes off after you start walking and we followed some old footprints which made the going easier. It must have been a big group and yet it was still hard going. We soon reached the high point and John and myself went over to the gullies and cliffs and the views to the road were magic. There were a few steps coming out the gullies but they were not the place to today and there were only a few bits of ice about on the buttress but still a wild place just a few minutes from the road.
Mary left us for our wander along the cliff edges after a short lunch and home made cake. She had a pilates class at 1800! We located the top of Wedge Buttress and the cable which eventually gave us a bearing. The cable/pipe was for the old Kishorn Yard put up by some of the many climbers for TV reception? Or so the story goes? I wandered round the cliffs and John headed back and caught up with Mary. I was on steep ground and with the wet snow on rock I had to take care. When John and Mary lost sight of me I got a lecture about not staying with the party I am always in trouble these days!
We were soon back at the car and the sun came out and we got a glimpse of the amazing light that you get only on the West Coast wonderful. It was an easy drive back with the glimpse of an Eagle about Kishorn soaring above Beinn Bhan and its 5 huge corries. An easy drive back then more cake at tea and John and Marys then home. Another short walk but a grand day out.
Meal Gorm from the Excellent Northern Highlands South Guide Book!
Map reference NG779409 Altitude 710 metres. The Northern side of Meall Gorm presents a broken line of cliffs leading up to the valley of Beallach na Ba.
Scotland’s most accessible winter cliff!!