Strolling Around Applecross House

by Keith Savage · 2 comments

The view from above Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland

The Applecross Peninsula in northwest Scotland is a terrestrial dream. It’s the perfect place to go on a long drive and stop to admire the breath-taking scenery. As it happens, it’s also a wonderful place to go for a hike, and the one I’m writing about today is an easy one (for Scotland) that encompasses varied landscapes at the seaward edge of the peninsula. A lot of effort is required to find your way to Applecross town, and this hike is a good reason to stretch out your time here, get a feel for the area, and have an excuse to visit the Applecross Inn for a pint.

As with many hikes I undertake in Scotland, the handy Pocketwalks guides provided me the inspiration for this jaunt. If you happen to have the Wester Ross: Southern Area book, this post is about walk number 12. For the record, I have no affiliation with Pocketwalks. I simply find their books incredibly useful and beautifully designed. Sarah and I chose this hike because we needed something relatively quick while my parents rested at the Applecross Walled Garden. In total, the hike was to be three miles with only 50m of climbing.

After a light lunch at the Walled Garden we bid my parents adieu and returned to the car park. A small path leads uphill from there to a four-way signpost which marks the beginning (and end) of the walk. We turned right and quickly entered a lightly forested hillside full of hardwoods. The weather was great with the sun shining through the trees, and soon we had partial views out to Applecross Bay where the tide was out, revealing soggy red sand.

The path then led downhill toward the road leading to the Applecross Walled Garden and we walked along its length past pastures where highlands cows with great horns browsed in the shade. We dodged a few cars as the path took us north and looked toward the white eminence of Applecross House, the centerpoint of this walk and a beautiful, not ostentatious, farm house. This initial span of the walk spent a fair amount of time along roads — including the main road into town — but as soon as we turned off the road through a small gate prospects improved.

A rough path led off the road and clove to the banks of the pretty River Applecross. This was a magical span of the walk that continually reminded us of the Shire’s peacefulness (I apologize for yet another Tolkien reference). Tall trees loomed over the river where tiny fish jumped at insects. This section of the walk was so idyllic that I really wanted to hunker down with my back against a tree and simply watch the day pass. Perhaps on another trip, for I was quickly realizing I’d like to spend a few days in this area.

The path began trailing away from the river through older forest where the ground showed the moss-shrouded remains of old trees in the filtering light, just the kind of view I long for on hikes. Eventually, as the path led forward into a climbing, narrow glen, we left the riverside forest behind. This section is where you’ll find most of the elevation, but it’s not too strenuous. We quickly found ourselves above the trees with views out to the bay and the hills surrounding town. At the highest point on the hike we found a rickety old viewpoint tower whose steps were damp and failing. We braved it, however, and enjoyed a beautiful view (the small image at the top of this post).

Winds harried us across the hilltop, but soon the path led us back into the woods and I could tell the Walled Garden was not too far below. This section was quite lush with mixed deciduous and coniferous trees towering above soft grasses. The path zig-zagged through the woods and we were knocking on our car’s windows, notifying my parents we’d returned, in short order.

Honestly, the walk felt a bit longer than three miles, but it was great to explore Applecross’s natural side in the cool wind and warm sunlight. We both really enjoyed this hike, and there are other hiking options both long and short in the immediate vicinity. First thing’s first, though, and we found ourselves in the Applecross Inn where some of us enjoyed half-pints before braving the Bealach na Ba. I can’t wait to return and dedicate more time to this beautiful corner of Scotland!

MartinaNo Gravatar October 21, 2016 at 3:38 AM

hey Keith, you’re one hell of a writer! always make me forget that I am sitting behind my desk at work while reading your posts. wishing time goes faster as i cannot wait till july when we are off to this incredibly part of the world. thank you! m.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 21, 2016 at 9:33 AM

Hi Martina, thanks! Anticipation is half the enjoyment. Well, maybe a quarter 😉

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