The Far-Flung Place…
19th August 2020.
As we begin to tour around Scotland discovering our beautiful country, it is perhaps, surprising to some, that there is so much to offer! During 2020 and possibly 2021 too, a lot of Scots and others from within the UK will be moving around the British Isles exploring and digging into our history and culture. There really is very little we can thank Covid-19 for, except for maybe one thing – discovering what is on our doorstep (or within the boundaries of our Island nation). This trend will be repeated the world over with local people jumping into their cars to take that long overdue road trip to discover the beauty of their own country. And why not? It has become so easy to get on a plane and visit anywhere across the world these days, and I must be honest and say I can’t wait to visit some of my favourite places – northern green Spain, New York, California and Italy and also places I still wish to discover – Canada, South America, Australia, Scandinavia, the list goes on… But for now, we have the wonders of home…
We are lucky to live in Scotland, a country which was recently voted as one of the most beautiful in the world by Lonely Planet Travel Magazine. I am also lucky to be operating a tour company in this stunning part of the world! Our base is Edinburgh and we take our guests on private tours to all corners of Scotland and its islands as well as city tours of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and St Andrews. Our Local Flavours themed tours takes us off the beaten track to find those hidden gems whether it is historical, cultural, or tasting the best food and drink. However, we also love the far-flung place…
To travel to the remote parts of any country really is quite special and it is where, I feel, you get back to basics. A kind of where it all began, whether geologically or culturally speaking
The north west and north highlands of Scotland has some of the most remote areas in Western Europe, yet they are still reachable if you have your own transport and a spirit of adventure. For this blog I am going to focus on the areas around Torridon in Wester Ross.
Torridon; while this area can easily be reached from Inverness, you still feel like you are going to the end of the earth with that 10-mile drive down Glen Torridon on a single-track road! The mountain views on this road are breath-taking with the Quartzite peak of Ben Eighe (pronounced, eh) stealing the show as the most epic of mountains on this approach. If you are staying in this area there is the rustic elegance of the Torridon Hotel www.thetorridon.com The Torridon Hotel also offers excellent less expensive accommodation at The Torridon Inn. There are also nice Guest Houses in Shieldaig, which is just a few miles from Torridon.
The area of Torridon takes its name from the type of sandstone that makes up large parts of the landscape here – Torridonian Sandstone. This sandstone is 800 million years old and was created when Scotland lay south of the equator and was of the same landmass as Greenland and Canada. The epic isolated dramatic mountains of Canisp and Suilven are brilliant examples of exposed Torridonian Sandstones. This sandstone lies on even older rock, Lewisian Gneiss, 3000 million – 1200 million years old.
If you are staying in Torridon (the village sits at the bottom of the famous Liathach peaks, also Torridonian Sandstone) or Shieldaig area, then you are staying in serious mountain and sea country. The Lochs here are sea lochs and cut into the mountain lands in a fjord like way. A walk on any path here will have you feeling you are in a far far-flung place. You know the great thing here is you don’t feel like you are out in the wilderness even if you don’t see another soul all day.
A stunning but easy walk is the Loch Claire / Loch Coulin route (halfway down Glen Torridon). I have walked this route many times and it is an easy meander around two beautiful highland lochs. The views to Ben Eighe and Liathach are simply outstanding and you will enjoy this, and everything else on this burst of remote nature, all to yourself. Allow anything from 3 to 5 hours if walking slowly and you are having a picnic lunch.
Another easy get-away-from-it-all walk is the Diabaig to Craig route (return). This is a stunning coastal walk with views over the water to the Isle of Skye. The walk is around 3 ½ hours and one of the best coastal routes in Scotland.
There are many paths around Torridon and Shieldaig and to wander them in the shadows of such beautiful mountains, breathing the freshest of air, will invigorate you and bring a feeling of wellness to your soul.
The mountain walks in this area are of a strenuous grade and should be done after consultation with local mountain and guide experts.
Sea Eagles nest on the Scots Pine-clad of Shieldaig Island and there is nothing nicer than sitting on the seafront of Shieldaig watching nature unfold before your very eyes.
Food and Drink
Tigh an Eilean is a lovely 4-star hotel in Shieldaig http://www.tighaneilean.co.uk/ The hotel also has a fabulous restaurant. The Shieldaig Bar and Coastal Kitchen is another favourite highland restaurant of ours. http://www.shieldaigbarcoastalkitchen.co.uk/
The Torridon Stores and cafe in the village of Torridon serves freshly made lunches, soup, baking and snacks and has lovely fresh coffee. http://www.torridonstoresandcafe.co.uk/
The Gille-Brighde Restaurant in Diabaig www.gille-brighde.com is a real treat and one of the best restaurants in the highlands.
The Torridon Inn serves good quality pub style food in a very convivial atmosphere. They have a well-stocked bar with local ales too. The restaurant in the Torridon Hotel is fine dining. The hotel also offers one of the best whisky bars in all of Scotland! www.thetorridon.com
This small corner of Wester Ross will leave a big impression on you. A visit here will more than fulfil any staycation, in fact I guarantee, you will come back…
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