Taking the soft option

Applecross Travel Blog

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A view from the road before the mist really set in.
The drive from Kyle of Lochalsch to Applecross is quite the white knuckle ride, it is the highest road in the United Kingdom it snakes it's was through the hills, it is pretty narrow most of the way, with a couple of places with a 'view' over the side.  Overtaking or allowing oncoming vehicles to get by is facillitated by use of 'passing places' which punctuate the road.  The higher I drove up into the mist, the more the visibility decreased eventually becoming almost non-existant, which added to the sense of isolation on this road to nowhere.

It could be argued that there is only really one reason to visit Applecross, and that is to have a meal at the Applecross Inn, which has such a reputation that it is almost legendary.
The same view the next day on the way back!
  The village itself consists of the inn, a post office/shop, a campsite and a string of what I assumed to be holiday cottages.  I arrived late afternoon and had a stroll around, which took me nearly ten whole minutes!  I then popped into the inn for a drink and had a chat with the landlady Judy, a shrewd woman from Yorkshire, who has been running the inn for over ten years now.  As I'd slept in a tent for the last couple of nights I had a sudden urge to sleep in a comfy bed with clean sheets, so I enquired if she knew of a bed and breakfast which might have a vacancy.  She advised me that the owners of the campsite Clive and Maureen might have a spare bed.

Without further ado, I jumped into the car and drove around to seek out my potential saviours.  The campsite reception was not at all what I had expected being a modern, bright coffee shop serving 'posh' coffees, pastries and light bites.  It is here I found Clive, enjoying a pastry from the shop, a perk of ownership he informed me proudly.  He turned out to be a very amusing guy, if not a little eccentric, but he did confirm that they had a spare room, and directed me across to the house which was located at the far side of the campsite.  His wife Maureen showed me around and explained where I would get breakfast, but I was a bit distracted as there was a delicious smell of home baking throughout the whole house, I don't know what she was making but if it tasted half as good as it smelled I definately envied Clive. She also explained  that I wouldn't need a key as they never locked the door anyway!  They were extremely pleasant and accommodating, even allowing me to hang my wet tent to dry in the drying room overnight.

I lazed around for the rest of the afternoon, read a bit of my book and had a shower before heading across to the inn early to make sure I got some space at a table.  The inn is a very narrow long room, a bit quaint with the menu written out on large chalkboards hanging on the walls.  I was extremely lucky as a couple vacated a table by a window just as I arrived, I ordered my meal and settled down to look out onto the loch and wait for the food to arrive.

In the meantime I sat and chatted to a couple from New Zealand, they had also been to Chanonry Point just a day or two before, they had headed up the east coast and were now traveling down the west and then on into England.  We had a good chinwag whilst I enjoyed a Guinness, and was pretty tempted when they offered me some of their red wine, but managed to resist, demonstrating my huge reserves of willpower!

Our food arrived promptly, I had a bowl of prawns freshly caught in the bay as a starter, it was a bit messy but well worth any embarrassment I may have caused myself.  I followed this with king scallops again caught locally. The lady also had the scallops, her comment on their arrival was 'We don't get scallops this big back home!'  They were simply to die for, total gastronomic heaven, and I was totally satisfied with my decison to make the detour to sample the delights of this cosy little inn.  I even managed to squeeze a pudding in, which was another delight, but unfortunately I can't remember what Judy called it!

I chatted to the couple for awhile longer and when they left, made a move towards the bar to allow somebody else the pleasure of the fine food with an equally splendid view.  The European Football Championships were on and I settled down in front of the television to hug my second  Guiness and watch the game between Germany and Turkey.  I soon got chatting to a couple of bikers, contrary to appearances I am not some sort of biker magnet, there are merely a lot of them touring around Scotland in the Summer and they usually have a few good stories to pass on.  These two were no exception and I enjoyed a pleasant evening setting the world to right and cheering on the Turks          (apologies to any of my German friends reading this).  I also had a chat with a guy called Monty who owned a unfeasibly huge dog called Ruebens, he was staying in a local cottage which he had renovated with his limited (his words) DIY skills and was attempting to experience the original crofters life, keeping chickens and pigs and growing his own vegetables.  Interesting idea, interesting guy, we had a few laughs, I think his dog was crazy, they only thing that spoilt the night was the Germans went through! (Apologies again).

Eventually though all good things have to come to an end and I had to head back to the bed and breakfast, so taking my leave, a short walk later, cutting through the woods and I was tucked up in bed with my book.  I think I made it to the end of the page I was reading before I fell into a deep and restful sleep, not waking till around 8am.  I showered quickly, packed ready to leave and headed down for breakfast, almost setting off for the coffee shop, not having understood Maureen's instructions fully the day before, may have had something to do with my sensory torment at the time!  Breakfast was served in a cosy little room next to the kitchen.  There was one other guest staying and we chatted through a very enjoyable full breakfast, he had of course also eaten at the inn the night before with his parents who were staying in the accommodation there as part of his fathers's 75th birthday celebrations.

After paying Clive for my stay and witnessing him get quite animated about the estate owners, I collected my tent and set off to take the high road again, this time continuing straight across the bridge and onto Skye.  The weather was a bit better this time and I enjoyed the drive a great deal more.
Real_PeaceWarrior says:
Just let me know when you're on your way ............ they don't serve guinea pig though!
Posted on: Aug 20, 2008
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photo by: Real_PeaceWarrior