Scotland North Coast 500: Ullapool to Lochinver

The bright morning we woke to soon turned to be torrential rain as we progressed north.

The journey time was to be short due to the long one yesterday, but we had a number of walks planned so it fitted together well.

That was until the weather decided different for us!

We sat in the car park at Knocken Crag waiting in the hope the rain would pass over, it didn’t, so after a while we continued our journey. The Bone Caves was another walk, and we nearly missed the small sign, but no one was going to walk in the heavy rain and driving winds so on we went!

The clouds cleared somewhat as we arrived at the ruins of Ardvreck Castle on Loch Assynt,

so we could have a short walk around to view the ruins which were now located on a small island with a fast flowing channel of water between it and the shore. It looked lost and lonely but lit up when the sunlight shone on it.

Across the road was a small but pretty waterfall which I just had to go and have a look as the the other two sat in the car waiting!

In what seemed no time at all we arrived in Lochinver, way too early to take possession of our apartment for a couple of nights. So, as usual, hunger drove us into the local pie shop! And what a find it was. The aroma of the homemade pies hit us as we entered the door. The menu had us wanting to try everything on it, and it was a substantial menu with way too many choices! Eventually Amr and Sally went for the haggis pie and I the poached salmon pie.

Both came with a huge salad, and were polished off in no time as they were absolutely delicious. We were already planning our return in the evening for dinner when we realised they closed at five, such a disappointment!

After lunch we decided to drive the narrow single track road to the Falls of Kirkaig. What a beautiful rugged, winding road.

We never did find the falls, but thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, the views, the hairy moments when a car would hurtle towards us round a blind corner!

We seemed to circumnavigate the Stac Pollaidh which looked different from every angle,

and my fingers could not stop taking pictures.

The road eventually brought us back on the main 837 road we had travelled from Ullapool.

By now the sun had joined us and as we were passing Knockan Crag again we stopped and this time could follow the trail. Information boards at the beginning explained the strange phenomena of younger rocks being located above older ones, in terms of hundreds of millions of years!

The trail took us sharply up the steep side of the crag,

I began to wish I had legs like the mountain sheep to negotiate the steps up.

We were pleased the wind was blowing us into the mountain not away from it as the drop to the side of the narrow path was almost sheer in parts.

After a challenging climb we reached the viewpoint which gave us 360 degree view so the mountains and valleys below us

, while we almost got blown away physically as well as mentally.

Of course with every climb that goes up…. yep, you have to come down,

but fortunately the gradient on the way down was not quite as severe as up.

We returned to our apartment exhausted but delighted that we had managed to get so much out of a day that had showed so little promise earlier.

Lochinver

After the exertions of the last few days we decided that a relaxing day was required. So after a leisurely breakfast we set off to explore the village of Lochinver.

Our luck was in there was a market on in the village hall so of course it would be rude not to visit.

There was quite a variety of arts and crafts on display, we picked up jars of jam and chutney, then had a chat with the lady selling seaweed, turns out she owns the company. Of course we had to make a purchase, which we tried as we walked, Sally now concocting recipes which she could try with kelp. As she walked it was obvious we would have to return on our way back to get another pack of wrack!

We walked round the bay (resisting the urge to go into the pie shop) and visited the Highland Stoneware pottery.

Watching the potters and painters as they worked was fascinating, we resisted the urge to make purchases, mainly due to the exorbitant cost!

After another delicious lunch at the pie shop,

trying out the local scallops this time,

we spent the rest of the day utilising the decent internet!

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