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 Sutherland with three nights in Torridon and four nights in Scourie.
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 travel to Inverness. From there we'll continue 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
Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt
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. We'll also visit the ruins of the fifteenth century Ardvreck Castle on the shore of Loch Assynt, built by the MacLeods of Assynt.
Up to 4.5 miles/7 km, 770ft/235m
Two walks today, starting with hiking up along the river Kirkaig to spectacular falls and beyond them for another great view of Suilven. The walk starts in a beautiful wooded glen with hazel and birches. We soon leave the woodland and continue on open moorland. As height is gained mountains begin to come in view. The falls plunges 20 meter down the gorge. After having admired the falls we continue along the glen for even better views of the Assynt mountains.
Back in Lochinver we’ll walk through mixed woodland beside the fast-flowing River Inver which rushes over rocks with many small waterfalls.
5 miles/8 km, 575ft/175m of ascent
Up to 2 miles/3.5 km, 195ft/60m of ascent
We'll travel further north for a short boat ride to Handa Island. The north west coast of Handa Island has magnificient Torridonian sandstone cliffs rising from the Atlantic. Each summer, nearly 100,000 seabirds breed here, including internationally important numbers of puffins, guillemots, razorbills and great skuas. People lived on the island until 1847 and the remains of their houses are still visible. We will walk around the island watching the seabirds and having great views back to the mountains of Assynt.
Depending on how long we'll spend on Handa Island, we'll have a walk 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 miles/6.5 km, 395ft/120m of ascent
2.75 miles/4.5 km, 495ft/150m of ascent
On our last day, we’ll do a rough walk to the Old Man of Stoer, a spectacular sea-stack. The return walk is across the moor and a low hill with fantastic views in clear weather up the Sutherland coast backed by the mountain Foinaven and inland the mountains of Assynt - Quinag, Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor, Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh.
On our way back we will stop at Clachtoll for a short walk to the beach and the remains of Clachtoll Broch.
4.5 miles/7 km, 1180ft/360m of ascent
2 miles/3 km, 130ft/40m of ascent
We'll drive back to Inverness then on to Glasgow, arriving in the late afternoon.
This is in a carefully selected mansion house in Torridon and guest house 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 except from the last night in Torridon, 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.
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 Sutherland (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.|
|NH231||27 May-3 June 2023||£1640||Single room: £215 extra|
|NH232||19-26 August 2023|
and most especially
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