September 2016

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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