Keith Savage

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, the handy Pocketwalks guides provided me the inspiration for this jaunt. Read more...


Up the serpent’s back from Applecross, twisting, turning, ascending into lofted realms of rare light and old wonder. From where have these wolverine winds come? Hailing from no compass point but down from the overworld, they plummet on rays of light lancing the distant, smudged hills. I stagger across the lifted landscape and gaze from the crown of Bealach na Bà, confident that here stands another lightbridge, a close cousin of Bifröst, hewing the clouds into glimmering runes.

It is a speechless language drawn only on the iris, for such vistas are mirrors. We see what calls to be seen — beauty, awe, wonder, fear, anxiety, loneliness… Read more...


Driving around the Applecross Peninsula, Wester Ross, Scotland

Applecross. I can’t tell you how many times people said that word when I told them I was going north. The Scottish highlands are a vast place with seemingly endless coastline, sea lochs, and peninsulas of all shapes and sizes, so why did almost everyone keep suggesting the Applecross Peninsula? The Bealach na Bà, a Gaelic phrase meaning “pass of the cattle,” usually followed that question. Sarah and I had intended to visit back in 2011 when we were holed up on Black Isle, but the worst weather you can imagine aborted that attempt. This isn’t the type of mystery I leave unsolved. When I began hashing out a trip to encompass the North Coast 500 I knew I’d found my opportunity. Read more...


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...


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...