If you love remote places, open moorland, spectacular mountains and a long coastline, this walking tour has it all. You'll walk in Wester Ross and Assynt with three nights in Torridon and four nights in Lochinver.
Torridon is a mecca for lovers of wild places. The sandstone mountains that give this district its reputation, are huge, brooding monoliths. The impressively gouged glacial trench Glen Torridon and Loch Torridon runs between these magnificent peaks, bordered by pinewoods and beautiful vistas, offering great coastal and mountain walks.
The Applecross peninsula is famous for Britain's most spectacular pass, the Bealach Na Ba. To the east of the pass are a series of dramatic ice-scraped corries while to the west the mountains gently slope down to the coast with both coral white and red sand beaches.
Northwest Sutherland is one of the most sparsely populated and yet hauntingly beautiful landscapes in Britain. It has a stark, eerie landscape and strange isolated mountains and deserted sparkling sandy beaches. The vast, undulating moorland on Lewisian Gneiss that could be three billion years old, is studded with a maze of a thousand fresh-water lochans. Up from this rise a series of remarkable mountains. These peaks are very steep and completely separate from one another. They are eroded into fantastic, individual shapes, making this one of the most memorable landscapes in Scotland. According to Norse legend, this was where the gods practised mountain building. They did it on a grand scale. Each hill is a set piece, a stand-alone, an island amongst islands.
The moorland, mountains and coast support a large variation of wild flowers, birds and mammals to enjoy during the walks. It is a stronghold for white-tailed and golden eagles with golden plovers and deer on the moors and during our coastal walks there is a chance to see dolphins and even whales.
The programme will be subject to variables such as weather and the abilities of the group and changes may also be made to take account of lambing, deer stalking, etc. Any such alterations will always take into account the need to maintain the overall character of the holiday.
We'll meet in Glasgow around midday and take the train to Inverness. From there we'll go by minibus to Torridon, our base for the the first 3 days.
We start our holiday with a very scenic walk south of Loch Torridon offering stunning views across the loch to the Torridon mountains and down to the sea. The walk starts with going round a peninsula covered in Scots Pine forest. We continue inland along the river Balgy to the Falls of Balgy where the river drops down in a powerful cascade. Our route continues upstream to Loch Damh, surrounded by mountains. From here we will walk down a track back to the road.
We'll visit Shieldaig after the walk, one of the most picturesque villages in the Highlands. We can either potter around the village or go for a short clifftop walk on the peninsula north of Shieldaig.
4.75 miles/7.5 km, 575ft/175m of ascent
2.75 miles/4.5 km, 540ft/165m of ascent
Falls of Balgy, Torridon
Today we drive south along the coast and onto Britain's most spectacular pass, the Bealach Na Ba. Weather permitting, our first hike on the peninsula will be from the highest point of the pass into the Applecross peninsula. From here we'll walk up Sgurr a' Chaorachain 2600ft/792m. Our walk starts at 2000ft/600m, so it is a nice short hill walk with spectacular views into the surrounding corries and mountains, getting better with every step. On a clear day the views are all the way to the Isles of Raasay, Skye and Rum.
We will visit Applecross after the walk, another pretty village, where we’ll have a number of walks to choose from, including the a walk to the Coral beaches.
4.5 miles/7 km, 1230ft/375m of ascent
2.25 miles/6 km and 558ft/170m of ascent
We'll travel north to Sutherland. Our journey will take us along the scenic coastal route with spectacular mountain and coastal scenery. Suilven, the showpiece of Assynt dominates the landscape north of Ullapool. This is a hill of many shapes. From the south it is a long, drawn-out sugarloaf, with an obvious depression in the middle, from the east it can look like the Matterhorn, rising from its bedrock plinth of Lewisian Gneiss to a narrowing spire. From the north it forms a huge rounded bastion of quartzite capped sandstone.
There will be short walks along the way and since we will be in the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark some of the walks during the second half of the tour are geology themed, starting with the Knockan Crag interpretative geology trail on our way north.
Up to 4.5 miles/7 km, 770ft/235m
This varied walk following the coast to three beautiful sandy bays with rough headlands and sea stacks in between. Most of it is managed by the John Muir Trust. The machair, beaches and the coastal cliffs we'll walk across are designated a Special Area of Conservation. Machair (Gaelic for a low-lying fertile plain) is one of Europe's rarest habitats and unique to the north western fringes of Scotland and Ireland. The machair between Sheigra and Oldshoremore is one of the best examples of this habitat on the mainland and contains more than 200 different species of plant, including eight orchids.
Our second walk of today will be along Loch Stack, offering great views of the mountains Arkle and Foinaven.
5 miles/8 km, 575ft/175m of ascent
2 miles/3.5 km and 328ft/100m of ascent
Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt
Gleann Dubh east of Lochinver is an area with limestone, with caves similar to the bone caves a little south of it, but not yet discovered by most tourists. The caves are named after the river Traligill running through the glen and it is the largest cave system in Britain. We'll walk up the glen to visit a couple of entrances to the caves. From the caves there are fine views down the glen towards Loch Assynt and Quinag.
We'll then visit the ruins of the fifteenth century Ardvreck Castle on the shore of Loch Assynt, built by the MacLeods of Assynt.
The afternoon walk will be in Little Assynt, a little visited wild landscape of rough and rocky moorland, speckled with crags and hillocks and dotted with hundreds of lochans.
4.5 miles/7km, 795ft/242m of ascent
2.75 miles/4.5 km, 495ft/150m of ascent
On our last day, we’ll travel to the north coast to explore the Durness area visiting the Ceannabeinne Township, which residents resisted being cleared by their landlord. We then continue to Smoo Cave, one of the largest sea caves in Britain. It is a series of three caves, the first made by the sea and the other two by the river Allt Smoo.
We’ll fiinsh our northwest Highlands walking tour with another coastal walk with great beaches and views of Cape Wrath.
5.5 miles/9 km, 395ft/120m of ascent
We'll drive back to Inverness from where we'll take the train to Glasgow, arriving in the late afternoon.
This is in a carefully selected mansion house in Torridon and hotel accommodation in Sutherland. You can rely on the quality of the accommodation that we find for you - its comfort, its food and the professionalism and welcoming nature of those who run it. The type of the accommodation means that all the rooms are different in size and facilities. In the accommodation in Torridon the single rooms have shared bathrooms.
Details of where you will be staying will be sent to you with further details of your holiday.
Dinner is not included in the price for the first two nights, but your guide will take you out for supper every evening. We usually eat in a different place each evening, giving you the opportunity to try a range of Scottish dishes and ambiences. Dinner is included the remaining five nights.
This walking tour requires a good basic fitness. The holiday combines walking with visits to places of interest. Daily distances will be up to 7.5 miles/12 km plus varying amounts of ascent. Most of the hiking will be on paths, tracks or quiet roads, although the surfaces can be wet and rough. There will be some steep sections along the way, but no climbs greater than 1300 feet/390m, even in total.
If you're still not sure whether or not you can cope after you've read this along with the details of the week's programme, please get in touch to discuss it further.
|Description||8 days (Saturday to Saturday), accommodation in Torridon (3 nights) and Assynt (4 nights) in carefully selected guest houses.|
|Walking||An attractive, well thought out walking programme; up to 6 miles (10 km) in a day, and mostly on paths or tracks - though paths may be wet and/or rough in places. An equally attractive programme of visits to places of interest will complement the walks.|
|NH202||5-12 September 2020||£1360||Single room: £285 extra|
|NH211||8-15 May 2021||£1560||Single room: £315 extra|
|NH212||4-11 September 2021|
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