428: Torridon

OS Explorer map 428, Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton & Applecross – I do not own this map, and have not visited it before starting this blog. [1] Visited for this post 27th December 2017.

This post continues straight on from the previous one, with my and the Dearest Progenitors in the car as we travel in Scotland. From Grantown-on-Spey, we didn’t stop again until we reached our destination for the day, namely Loch Torridon in this map, where we were staying for the next two nights. We were on the A9 for a good while, up to, through, and beyond Inverness, which was a relief to Father Dearest as he drove, since the road was, being so major, clear of snow and well gritted.

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At some point we saw some cows, leading us to wonder about how well cows deal with cold – near us they seem to always be put away in sheds for winter, but here these ones were out. Are Scottish cows more resilient? Or is the reason for putting them away not actually to do with cold?

We left the A9 to get the A835 towards Ullapool, and left that for the A832 to Achnasheen, following the Kyle of Lochalsh railway line. As the roads got smaller, the snow got heavier, but unfortunately I fell asleep somewhere between Achnasheen and Kinlochewe and so, I am told, missed the worst part!

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A snowy road (after I woke up, so not the worst it got)

In any case, we arrived at our hotel on Loch Torridon, and in this map area, by about 5pm, in the not-quite-dark.

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Pleasantly, the Dearest Progenitors’ hotel room had a Christmas tree in it!

Rooms were sought, dinner was had, sleep was entered. For dinner Father Dearest and I decided to dress up even though there wasn’t a dress code, because it’s just fun, isn’t it? However Father Dearest had only brought a shirt that was too tight around the collar to do up the top button, so we dressed fully only for this one photo and then went tie-less – and, in my case, waistcoatless – for dinner.

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The next day we went for a little walk in the wood along the shores of Loch Torridon.  (I’d left my raincoat in Cambridge when coming home for Christmas, and although I have another one in the Harris cottage, we weren’t there yet.) It was raining a little when we left, so the Dearest Progenitors took umbrellas, but I have a severe hatred of umbrellas so, as always, preferred just to get a little damp. However, this time I didn’t even have my raincoat with me and so had to wear my long brown wool coat, which was less than ideal.

Partway along the walk it started to snow rather heavily, and another notable happening was that we saw a couple of deer really quite close by. Unfortunately the clouds were too low for us to see the full height of the mountains across the loch.

We went for dinner that day to Shieldaig further down the loch.

The next morning, we arose early, bought an amusing little highland cow doorstop called Angus that the hotel were selling, got into the car, and departed. Our final destination was our holiday cottage on the Isle of Harris, but to get there we’d have to get the bridge to Skye from Kyle of Lochalsh first, then drive to the ferry port on Uig, and we had a stop planned on the way too.

From Torridon we drove down the A896 and A890 to Kyle of Lochalsh, again seeing plenty of snow. I lamented as we passed the turning for the Bealach na Bà to Applecross that, it being winter, we weren’t able to go over that slightly-famous pass this trip. That road is the third highest paved road in Scotland (and so Great Britain), and we’d done the first and second earlier on the trip, the A93 between Glenshee and Braemar, and the A939 at the Lecht. We marvelled at the two snow-covered football pitches we passed at Lochcarron, on that drive where we rejoined, left, and rejoined the Kyle railway line again. And at Kyle of Lochalsh, we left behind this map as we crossed the Skye Bridge!

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[1] Well, I have been to Kyle of Lochalsh before, but that is in the overlapping area with map 413, which I’ve been to before in areas that don’t overlap, so I’m going to count that for that map. Also, I’m (probably) going to go to map 413 on Tuesday (2nd), so I’ll be posting about it soon anyway!

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