Before I even knew about the North Coast 500, I'd watched an episode of Weir's Way with David Hayman which was set in Applecross. I'd never heard of the place before, despite the fact it's actually a full peninsula in Scotland, but I immediately wanted to visit. I wanted to stay in the Applecross Inn (sadly I am not organised enough or forward-planning enough to actually make that one happen - maybe next time) and the boyfriend really wanted to drive the Bealach na Bà road, one of the highest roads in the UK. Winding amongst the mountains, it rises over 2000 feet above sea level at its tallest point, and features steep gradients and sharp bends.
And I was terrified. I don't particularly like heights. I was told by other people who had went over the road that I should be terrified. And people on trip advisor who claimed to have been hanging on to the edge of their seats the whole time (thankfully passengers. And how is clinging on to the edge of their seats going to help them anyway?).
However, I do like pretty scenery, and the fella is an excellent driver, so despite my fears (and the fact we had almost been squished into a wall by a speeding lorry at Loch Lomond on the drive up to Northern Scotland the day before, which hadn't helped my nerves much), and the scary sign at the start of the road, I actually kind of enjoyed it in the end.
Of course, getting to stop and pop out for some pictures and the odd poser moment also helped with matters. ..
|Starting to climb . . .|
The road is single-track with passing places... definitely not ideal for larger vehicles or drivers of a nervous disposition...
|But check out these views and the road winding back behind us . . .|
|And once you get to near the top, the view starts to get even better!|
|This guide at the viewpoint shows you what you're looking at... if you can see the view! ;-)|
We may not have been staying there (our next stay was to be in Ullapool later that day), but we decided to have a drink at the Applecross Inn to celebrate surviving the Bealach na Bà... and then the sun came out, as if to welcome us to Applecross!It would have been rude not to, frankly.
|The Applecross Inn|
Have you been on it? Would you go on it? And would you dare to be the driver?