Wester Ross

The view from the Brochs of Coigach, Wester Ross, Scotland

The yearning for adventure fills the hearts of many people (and even some hobbits), but the dream of a trip rarely includes the nasty logistical bits that cast one down to the mundane, earthly realm of the modern travel experience. I can’t tell you how many trips to Scotland have begun with some whisky and bright-eyed romanticism: Galloping across the hills and through the glens, my vision somehow from a drone’s point of view, as the skirling notes of a bagpiper’s air fade on the swirling wind. I’m laughing because it’s true. Invariably, the reality of that dream starts in endless lines, stale airports, cramped cabins, and distinct physical discomfort. The thought of “roughing it” with your accommodations suddenly turns from adventurous to foolhardy. Read more...

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The mountains of Wester Ross, Scotland

I’m returning to a series of articles that has become the most popular source of information on Traveling Savage. These Itinerary Ideas highlight different regions of Scotland and provide a handy batch of activities, sights, and experiences I’ve drummed up during my explorations. It always feels good to craft another entry in this series. I look at it as an homage to the area, one I plan to make for every corner of Scotland. Today I’m highlighting Wester Ross, a region whose landscapes are the dreams of gods and whose very name sounds like something out of a fantasy novel. If you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, you’d know Westeros sounds damningly similar. Read more...

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Coigach is a land of emerald and sapphire set in ephemeral bands of golden light. Dusk falls high upon the clock at midsummer in these glimmering, northerly latitudes. It is long past bed, but I am waiting with the rabbit kits and lambs for the darkness. The Summer Isles drift from Loch Broom’s mouth, wild and vacant, drown mountains, as two red deer descend to the water to stare at the archipelago’s titans, Tanera Mòr and Tanera Beag.

Night never quite arrives. The clouds stretch their purple fingers and the air turns to a gloaming nether where we become shades of ourselves, flickering between ages…
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The Brochs of Coigach, Achiltibuie, Wester Ross, Scotland

The beauty of Scotland’s northern highlands is a beauty largely untrammeled by mankind: Hills slope into the sea, mountains rear up from the moor, and islands heave across the horizon. Humans have lived in these parts for millennia, however, and seeing their remarkable stewardship of the land in person fills one with a desire to honor their stunning landscape and history. Out here you won’t find strip malls, Wal-Marts, parking structures, or hideous billboards. You’ll find small homes, farmsteads, and even a surprise or two.

I’m certainly not the only person inspired by this gorgeous stretch of highland coastline. Read more...

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Corriness House, Poolewe, Wester Ross, Scotland

The beauty of Wester Ross cannot be shackled by language. It must be viewed. And in that great Scottish wilderness of mountain and sea loch you gather a sense of what the most northerly parts of this island must have looked like in days of yore. There is much to explore here, many narrow roads to follow, empty beaches to kick across, and heather-shrouded hills to ascend. All you need is some time and a decent base from which to venture out. The towns of Gairloch and Poolewe serve admirably in this regard. I spent a pair of nights at the homey Corriness House on the edge of Poolewe this past summer, and it was a great location from which to explore the heart of Wester Ross. Read more...

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