070. Photo Essay: Applecross, Scotland

The answer is yes.

Yes, you should visit Scotland. And you should go to Applecross.

If you enjoy beautiful, rugged scenery, and if you enjoy camping, either in a tent or in an adorable wooden hut, or even a B&B or hotel, you will find a comfy place to lie your head in Applecross.

It's one of the most beautiful places to explore, and the switchback road that leads you there travels over the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), one of the highest roads in the UK. (It's also part of the Northcoast 500 route)

Like most of Scotland, the diversity in landscape is astounding. You can enjoy a mossy woodland hike next to a babbling brook, and moments later, listen to the ocean waves crashing into the rocks below your feet. There is something for everyone there. I have now visited Applecross twice, and each time was a new experience.

Here are some photos from autumn 2016, and towards the end of the post, I'll share some photos from this weekend (April 2017).

As you can see, Autumn was incredible gorgeous, and offers a variety of colors and textures within the scenery. So when I headed back there this weekend, I was very excited to see what Spring time would hold!
I wasn't disappointed, and in fact, the moody weather gave the trip a very dramatic tone. We experienced everything from stormy, foggy weather to beautiful sunshine!

In terms of wildlife, you will find herds of red deer, sheep, "Highland Cows" and many other critters. As for weather, wear layers!! Since weather changes so quickly, you have to be prepared for anything. 

I also recommend booking your campsite far in advance. Since space is limited, you want to make sure you have a place to sleep!

If you enjoy art, I highly recommend the gallery/cafe at the "bottom of the hill" - it's called the Bealach Cafe & Gallery. Stop here on your way in or out of Applecross. Enjoy a delicious cuppa and fresh scone with jam/butter, and peruse the beautiful fine art selection. I was actually shocked the first time I walked in. It's full of Scotland artists, and the work is absolutely breathtaking.

Applecross has gained quite a reputation, so in the summer (high tourist season) be prepared for a lot of traffic and busy campsites. I can HIGHLY recommend late autumn and spring time if you have the option to visit then! It's much less crowded.

If you're looking for things to do in Applecross, your main activity will be camping/hill walking and site-seeing. Let's face it, you go there to get away and you want to enjoy nature!
My favorite hikes are easy to get to from the Applecross campsite. 
The first one is a woodland walk, that follows the River Applecross. From the Applecross Campsite, go north on Shore Street towards the "Applecross Walled Garden & Restaurant," (but don't turn into there) and before you get to the bridge that crosses the river, there's a small area to park on the left side of the road near the water. Park the car and walk towards the bridge. At the bridge you will see a small gate and a sign for "River Walk" (Roes Walk). Many of the woodland photos above are from this trail. The trail hangs by the right side of the river most of the way.

I also love the Coral beaches trail (near Culduie), which is more remote. Follow the road south to Ard-dhubh from Culdie. On your way here, keep an eye out for seals when it's sunny. They like to lay on the rocks! There's roadside parking near a small sign and trailhead that says "Coral Beaches." The trail crosses the moors and curves around the peninsula, following a trail through some beautiful birch trees. Stay on the path towards Ard Ban when you see the sign. It leads to a beautiful small beach near three old cottages (one is in ruins). There's a beautiful view towards Raasay and beyond.

At the end of the day, enjoy a pint on the water at the Applecross Inn, and try their AMAZING homemade sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream. 

Happy camping!