The superb west coast of Scotland and Speyside
Day 1 Depart Inverness (we can design a longer tour to include this wee trip) heading west, with full details on your tour notes PDF. Crossing the Kessock bridge, At Tore Roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A835 – without stops – but who can resist – it will take approx. 1 hour 20 minutes to reach Ullapool. Upon reaching the town, continue north for a scenic drive to Clachtoll Broch one of the most spectacular Iron Age settlements in NW Scotland. Situated near the beach at Clachtoll, numerous in the north Iron Age Scotland, built by around 500 BC. What a start! From here to Ardvreck Castle, dating from the 16th century, featured in the movie Highlander, built 1590 by the Clan MacLeod. But Clan MacKenzie attacked and captured Ardvreck in 1672, the siege lasted 14 days and ended with the MacKenzies victorious. Returning south stop at Inchnadamph a wee place where you can visit the famous caves that lie under the northern crags of Beinn an Fhuarain. There are three main cave entrances, badger, reindeer and bone cave, take a torch with you, at the car park a few miles south of Inchnadamph go through the gate and follow the path that passes a waterfall and winds along the river, take the right hand path across the dry river bed and up the steep slope to Creag nan Uamh (crag of the caves). Back to Ullapool for your accommodation. With some great places to eat and drink here, we will show you these to end your first historic day.
Day 2 A two hour drive takes you to Redpoint at the end of the single track, which branches off the main road south of Gairloch’s harbour. Redpoint is a small settlement overlooking a beach of reddish sand, there is parking at Redpoint giving access to a path leading to the beach, and what to do after the beach you ask? Visit the Badachro Inn & Restaurant by Gairloch, time for lunch then select the afternoon activities; there are several small boats operating which offer half or full day fishing or sight seeing trips. All highly recommended. Visit the local museum, Gairloch Leisure Centre. Gairloch Marine Life Cruises. Hebridean Whale Cruises. Return to Ullapool for the night.
Day 3 A three hour drive (with stops) to Applecross via Garve. Home to just a couple of hundred people and accessed by only two roads, the Bealach pass road which we take, a stunning scary route not for the light hearted this is a haven from the noise and clutter of modern life. It’s not the easiest place to get to but you’ll never forget the journey. Over the 2053’ road called the Bealach na Ba, if the cloud has lifted, you’ll see the kind of views normally reserved only for mountaineers. Panoramas to the Outer Hebrides and south to the Kintail mountains will keep you gazing until you need to descend to the village. Shore Street, Applecross Inn is famous for its’ quality, multiple award-winning, dining and bar with daily seafood specials. Take a much easier but equally scenic route via Sheildaig, a two and a half hour drive to Inverness. Your tour does not end, here you travel on to Brodie on the Moray coast stay in a local pub this evening.
Day 4 A day trip starting at Brodie Castle, ancestral home of the Brodie clan for over 400 years, although their family seat has been here since the 12th century on land confirmed to the Brodies by Robert the Bruce. The impenetrable 16th-century guard chamber is flanked on one side by a 17th-century wing. The castle houses a collection of furniture, ceramics and artwork, including 17th-century Dutch masters and 20th-century Scottish Colourists. It also boasts an impressive library containing over 6,000 volumes. Further along the A96 we’ll come to Elgin Cathedral dating back to the 13th Century – now in ruins. The building was burned down by the Earl of Buchan, the Wolf of Badenoch, as the Bishop refused to pay protection money. There are more than fifty whisky distilleries in Speyside where you are now. If you wish we can include one to visit and taste the drams. Lossiemouth, Spynie Palace – the largest surviving medieval bishop’s house in Scotland – residence of the bishops of Moray from the 14th century to 1686. For nearly 500 years, the bishops of Moray relaxed in this majestic building a short distance from their cathedral at Elgin. Then we hit Duffus Castle, a fortress–residence for more than 500 years, from the 1100s to the 1700s. The stone castle we see today was built in the 1300s, once one of the strongest castles in Scotland. A great day out, returning to Brodie overnight, sadly your tour ends here and your driver departs.
From £795 per person sharing, the tour is for a wee group of four guests.
This brief tour can be extended if you wish, Paul would stay there weeks if we let him! Based for three nights in Ullapool with a start/end in Inverness, just over an hour away. The history of Ullapool is long and violent. Brochs (old stone forts) can be found at Dun Logie and Rhiroy on Lochside and further north at Strathkanaird, Coigach and Assynt. A large fort called Dun Canna lies just north of the village.