Heady Heights at Corrieshalloch Gorge

September 28, 2016 by Keith Savage
Corrieshalloch Gorge, Wester Ross, Scotland

Scotland’s northwest highlands are basically one huge natural wonder, but there are certain sites within this gorgeous expanse that even the Scots refer to as natural wonders. Case in point: Scotland’s “Grand Canyon,” Corrieshalloch Gorge, which can be found in the highlands of Wester Ross a dozen miles southeast of Ullapool. Comparing anything to the Grand Canyon is a dubious exercise, but Corrieshalloch Gorge is as close as anything in Scotland to a viable comparison.

Corrieshalloch is a slot gorge or box-canyon created by glacial meltwater possibly from as far back as 2.6 million years ago… Read more...

Eat Here Now: Badachro Inn

September 22, 2016 by Keith Savage
Badachro Inn, Badachro, Wester Ross, Scotland

Scotland’s northern highlands are a gorgeous wilderness filled with high mountains, sea-scoured cliffs, vacant beaches, and secretive wildlife. There are some humans, too, but the largest town on the northwest coast, Ullapool, has all of 1,500 people. As visitors to this special region we need to calibrate our expectations in the realms of tourism infrastructure and services. There’s just not much out here — that’s a large part of why those of us who like such places like them — so when I find a pub or restaurant out on the edge of Scotland I usually tamp down my expectations. Such was the situation I found myself in after a journey out to isolated Red Point Beach southwest of Gairloch. Read more...

Hiking Beinn Eighe, Britain’s Oldest Nature Reserve

September 14, 2016 by Keith Savage
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, Wester Ross, Scotland

Driving through Scotland’s northern highlands, you’d be forgiven if you thought the entire region was a protected nature reserve. It’s really just that beautiful. But such is not the case, and over time and subsequent visits you’d find that forests you once hiked through have been clearcut for timber. The reality is that the beautiful forest prominent in your memory was a plantation designed for that ending, but not all of Scotland’s forests and wild areas have such a fate. There are close to 50 National Nature Reserves spanning more than 370 square miles around Scotland where wildlife, natural habitats, and indigenous plant species are protected and managed to ensure their continued thriving.

These are places where nature comes first. I had the opportunity to visit Beinn Eighe… Read more...

Picture This: The Pull of Loch Maree

September 7, 2016 by Keith Savage
Loch Maree from Glen Docherty

Following the sun west from Achnasheen through glens gouged by glaciers, the road to Wester Ross flutters like a ribbon lofted from a child’s hand. Sweeping slopes of earth and forest leap toward the powder blue sky where lavender-tinged clouds break upon the peaks. Then, crossing Glen Docherty’s ramparts, a vision. The moments fragment, for I am now standing in the wind with this view in my eyes, Loch Maree hung like a sapphire between the oaks of Letterewe and Slioch’s eminence.

That is not electricity I feel. It is the resonant signal of the sixth stirring beneath the five, awoken by this magnetic beauty. There is perfection in the natural world… Read more...

Pilgrimage to the Beach at Redpoint

August 31, 2016 by Keith Savage
Red Point Beach, Wester Ross, Scotland

Beautiful, pristine beaches aren’t the first things that come to mind when the topic of Scotland arises. It’s too cold, too wet, too windy for it to be a beach-goer’s destination, so says common wisdom, and if your goal is to lay on a steamy beach and work on your tan, then yes, those are all valid points. If, however, you can divorce the quality of the weather from an enjoyable time at the beach, you will find Scotland is a paradise of beaches. From fine white- and red-sand beaches to stony shores littered with seaglass, Scotland hides these coves up and down its coastline from Dumfries & Galloway to Shetland. The most amazing part is that by and large you will have these beaches to yourself. Read more...