Life in the slow lane Applecross and a visit to the Coral Beach at Ard Ban

It was hard to believe it’s December the Torridon hills were snow covered the weather was stunning and my friend Kalie was showing me some new places that I had never visited. It was not the classic Alpine start instead a leisurely wander to Applecross. The NC 500 madness is gone the roads were quite as we passed through Applecross. All the way Kalie was telling me the local tales of this incredible area. This was all missed by me in the past as I had always been chasing hills on my every increasing mountain madness over the years. The journey from Arrina past Sand was stunning the December light Skye, Rhona and many other amazing landmarks came into view. This wee walk was done many years ago by Tom Weir and more recently by David Hayman it’s a wonderful place to wander.

The great light

This time last week I was on the Cairngorms after an early start it was bitter cold but today there was no wind, it was clear and for December so warm.

We travelled through Applecross on the Westc Coast its so quiet now and followed the wee road out to the peninsula. There were no other cars about we had the walk to ourselves and what a great wander. We had Islay the collie with us and from the start the path is good the views and changes in scenery exceptional. Kalie explained the children walked from the two villages to School in Applecross in the past. Access is by foot or boat. Sadly no one lives here in Ardbain or Collie Ghillidh now but the walk is full of history and folklore. The path goes by some lovely Silver birch trees and the coastline is stunning. Kalie spotted an otter on our travels. It’s only short walk to each village but it was so warm we just took it easy enjoying the views.

From Visit Applecross “The Applecross Peninsula boasts a variety of habitats that are home to an awe-inspiring range of animals, flora and fauna.”

Start of the walk.

Along the coastline are rocky shores, sandy beaches, sea caves and sand dunes. Of particular interest is the white ‘coral’ beach at Ard Ban. The ‘coral’ sand is actually the calcareous remains of several species of red seaweed which make up the so called maerl beds. This unusual habitat is only found in 1% of the UK’s inshore waters. Coastal plants of the area include scurvy grasses, oraches, thrift and storkbills.

The mat of many colours at the Coral Sand we had lunch here.

It was hard to believe it was December Kalie loves this walk and was organised for lunch with her “mat of many colours” Sitting on a coral beach in December and the views of Skye to me it was perfect after a crazy week. We met one other soul on the beach at Ardbain. Even though the tide was in it was still stunning.

We had a wander round the deserted village I think one house is still used as a private holiday home now. It must have been a hard life here.

View from the ruins

I was shown the local well hidden near the shore the sea was so still I had a scramble and we followed the other path after lunch to the next village.

You can at low tide follow the coast but we took the path. It was a bit wet but again what a place to be.

Skye in the background

Again it was a short wander about 1 k along the coast. Past the natural woodland and down to the next village at Collie Ghillidh.

Sadly the tide was in the beach covered but what a place to be. Yet sad that no one lives anymore here now. It’s only 2 and a half Kilometres from the road but a hard place to live but so beautiful. Skye looked superb as always the sea so still we stopped again and drank it all in.

For all on the wee walk we took our time there was no rush no folk about and the madness and sadness of a busy week forgotten.

We wandered back taking the main track it was warm no wind and such a day . The day ended with a meal in the Applecross Inn lovely local fish despite the Covid Restrictions it was a grand end to the day.

Applecross Inn.

It was then back to the house a stunning drive as the sunset. We stopped I got more pictures the road was quite we were so lucky to have had such a day.

Sand in the evening light

The temperature had dropped but I could not help trying to take it all in but can you? I rush about to much still but needed that weekend off.

The war memorial at Applecross.

How do you finish such a day. We watched the film “Local Hero”’ after “Kalie’s Strictly finals” what a film Local Hero is. We both laughed and laughed that’s what we needed.

You have to watch this !!

Thanks Kalie and Islay for a great day. For reminding me of how little of this country I know.


About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Health, Mountaineering, People, Plants, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Life in the slow lane Applecross and a visit to the Coral Beach at Ard Ban

  1. Pingback: Life in the slow lane Applecross and a visit to the Coral Beach at Ard Ban | heavywhalley

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