Through Scotland on the North Coast 500

Part 2 of my road trip through Northern Scotland

This second part of the trip on the North Coast 500 brings my husband and me from Gairloch to Bettyhill. For me this is the most beautiful part of the trip, I only hope the weather will do it´s best… (Zum deutschen Blog.)

In Gairloch we have to to get up early, because we want to make a speedboat trip for  whale watching. We booked the seats weeks in advance. So we get into the water-proof suits provided by the organizer, which are life jackets at the same time.

Gairloch, Scotland
whale watching outfit

The weather is kind to us, we race across the water with a stopp now and then. We have a great view of the coast, but unfortunately no whales sightings today. We are not in a zoo.

On the way to Ullapool, our next overnight stop, we visit the famous Inverewe Gardens. We stroll through the park that is laid out in different themes, we admire the rhododendrons and are even lucky enough to be able to observe breeding herons at close range.

Scotland, Inverewe Gardens
Inverewe Gardens
breeding birds in Scotland
breeding heron in Inverewe Gardens

Ullapool

With many photo stops on the way we reach Ullapool and our next accommodation, the Tanglewood House. A lovely B & B decorated with antiques, located directly at Loch Broom and offering a wonderful view and a fantastic sunset on the Loch. Robert McKenzie, our host offers us a cup of tea and takes a lot of time to give us tips for dinner and trips.

B & B Ullapool, Tanglewood House
Lounge in Tanglewood House

Ullapool is a larger place with lots of restaurants, but we still have trouble to get a table without reservation. Many tourists are on the road and stop here. Ferries depart from here and even a few fishing boats have their home port here.

sunset in Ullapool
view from Tanglewood House

We’ll go on a boat trip to the Summer Isles in the morning. These islands, which are located in front of the mainland, some are little more than a rock in the sea. Only very few are inhabited at all.

IIn exchange there are more birds and some seals.

Summer Isles, Scotland
seals near Ullapool

In the afternoon we will take a look at the peninsula we saw from the boat, and of course the famous beach of Achnahaird. From afar we see it, more is not worth it, it pours out of all clouds. Scottish weather …

Scotland, near Achnahaird Bay
view near Achnahaird Bay

Our two nights at the Tanglewood House are over, today it´s going to be a long way ahead of us. There is a lot to see, we leave it to our mood, and above all to the weather, what we can manage.

To Bettyhill

I would definitely like to visit the Knocken Crag trail, a geological educational trail that excellently explains the faults and rock layers. So we leave the coastal area and drive into the highlands.

The landscape here is rough, as always we drive over many cattle grids, because the sheep herds are widely scattered and need a huge area to find enough food.

Scotland, highlands
near Tongue Bay

On our way, at a very lonesome place, we pass Ardvreck Castle. That´s how I always imagined a clan house should look alike. Could I have lived here? The scenery is gorgeous, but there is nobody else. I don´t think so….

clan house, Ardvreck
Ardvreck Castle

At some point, Dirk turns off the already narrow road to get on an even narrower one. He does not want to say where we are going, so I let myself be surprised. And it really is a surprise! We are back by the sea, the dunes are blocking the view of what I am going to see.

We are at the Bay of Achmelvich and what I am now offered, fits much better into the Caribbean. Wow! A white, almost deserted beach and turquoise blue sea, framed by rocks. The sun laughs from the blue sky! Oh, why do we have to drive so much further today … Here I would like to have a picnic!

Scotish beach
Dirk at Achmelvich Bay, a beach like in the Caribbean

Over narrow streets we also visit the Stoer Lighthouse, here on the cliffs the wind blows strong again.

Unfortunately, we have to go on, again and again we pass similar beautiful bays, then again we drive through the mountains and suddenly the weather totally changes. Gray, almost menacing clouds move quickly, and the sky re-opens its locks. The rain pours almost horizontally on our car. No, Smoo Cave, the huge cave directly at the sea I am not going to visit during that downpour. Of course, we have our raincoats and trousers, but that is no longer a pleasure.

Bettyhill Hotel
our room at the Bettyhill Hotel

Just before Bettyhill, it finally clears up again. We did not get a B & B anymore, so we prebooked a room at the Bettyhill hotel. And this is a good choice! We get the most beautiful room in the whole house. A corner room, with a view of a white sandy beach and a great sunset. The food is absolutely delicious and after a small whiskey tasting we sleep really well.

Schaf in Schottland
Showdown, you or me?

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beach in Scotland
Gruinard Bay

To part one and to part three of my road trip.

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