If you have read my recent blog with some of the highlights from my week in Ullapool, you will know that I was waiting to reveal my stand out experience from the trip as I felt it deserved a blog post all to itself. Well, I am finally ready to share not only the top highlight from my week in Ullapool, but a corner of Scotland that has firmly entered my list of top places to visit in the country.
I wanted to take you on a photo journey of my road-trip which started at Ullapool and ventured towards Achiltibuie and around the Coigach peninsula, a region that I fell more than a little bit in love with. It really was one of those road-trips when I kept thinking that the views couldn't get any better until I turned the next corner!
The only way to reach Achiltibuie is by a long and winding single track road which means it remains free from mass tourism and the whole area still has a simple and rustic charm. I could easily spend way more than a thousand words rambling on about how magical this place is, but I thought on this occasion I would let the pictures do the talking instead...
Heading north from Ullapool it wasn't long before I got my first glimpse of the Coigach mountains as I followed the road towards Ardmair.
Abandoned stone buildings topped with red tin are a common sight in this part of the country.
As the sweep of Ardmair Bay came in to view, the white pebble beach was a stark contrast to the dark and brooding mountains in the distance.
Around the bend from Ardmair, the mountain and loch scene was completed by some colourful fishing boats.
A well positioned lay-by gave me the opportunity to get out and say hello to some of the local residents.
The main road began to rise as it entered mountain territory, with some of the well known peaks coming in to view including Beinn an Eoin, Stac Pollaidh and Cùl Beag.
Turning off the main road my journey continued along a single track. Thankfully I didn't meet too many other vehicles along the way and passing places made good photo stops.
A couple of picturesque lochs brightened up an otherwise bleak landscape.
Hidden bays looked like great wild camping spots.
The distinct form of Stac Pollaidh reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind...
...and as it drew closer I had an urge to get out the car and climb it! Next time...(update, I have since returned and climbed it!)
The landscape was unmistakably Scottish Highlands.
The sound of stags roaring during the autumn rut echoed around the mountains.
This is why I love road-trips through the Highlands of Scotland.
For most of my journey I saw more sheep than people!
Arriving in Achiltibuie I was welcomed by this gorgeous girl and we had a good long chat about life.
Abandoned crofts littered the landscape everywhere I looked.
I couldn't resist getting up close to explore the former homes and tumbled stones.
The whole area provided a window to the past...
...although nature was doing it's best to reclaim the land.
I can highly recommend the hand-made cakes and scones at Achiltibuie Piping School Cafe, just one of several recommended tea and cake spots that I have discovered in the area.
I followed the road all the way to its end at Achduart just to see what was there but all I found was this talking sheep.
As I travelled further around the coast of the peninsula, I found a hill with a perfect view of The Summer Isles.
As I reached Achnahaird the skies turned blue and the land turned golden.
The beach looked very tempting but it was time for me to embark on my return journey to Ullapool.
Eventually I was back on the main road, leaving behind the mountains, lochs, wildlife, history and deserted beaches. I had a real sense of discovering an authentic and magical part of Scotland that is still under the radar of most tourists. My road-trip from Ullapool to Coigach was the highlight of my week and an extremely rewarding Scottish adventure.
If you have more time in the area then I have written a west coast road-trip itinerary that includes a circular route around Ullapool, Skye, Harris and Lewis.
In case you are wondering, this is the route that I followed.
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