NC500 – Applecross and Eilean Donan Castle Tour – Itinerary
Applecross is the most southerly portion of any North Coast 500 (NC500) tour and as a result, it makes sense to couple it with Eilean Donan Castle. We travel along Loch Ness, and then west past the mountain range called the Five Sisters of Kintail. Our Eilean Donan Castle stop is for your choice of visit or photos. Some time later we take the famous, exhilarating and spectacular Bealach na Ba to Applecross. This road has its own name because it is, by far and away, the most extraordinary road in the UK. Our return takes us through the fantastic mountain scenery of Torridon and the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve.
Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle make a great stop because you can capture two icons in one photo. One of the great castles of Scotland, Urquhart was first held by Pictish tribal chiefs, later becoming a mighty royal castle, and finally a Clan Grant stronghold. It saw 1,000 years of continuous occupation before its fall, in 1692. It overlooks the dark waters of Loch Ness – the largest lake in the country. This is more than enough water to hide its most famous inhabitant – Nessie!
The Five Sisters of Kintail
The mountains known as the Five Sisters of Kintail are very popular with photographers and hikers due to their five jagged peaks. Jacobites and Redcoats fought the Battle of Glen Shiel on the lower slopes in 1719. Legends and tales abound in the Kintail area.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is called the “most romantic castle in the Highlands” due to the number of weddings it hosts. A Clan Macrae stronghold, it has a great exhibition, shop and café and has been in movies like Highlander, James Bond and Made of Honor. It is a favourite with photographers, and as a result appears on many postcards and calendar pictures.
Bealach na Ba and Applecross
The most spectacular road in the country, the Bealach, climbs from sea level to over 2,000 feet in under 6 miles. It hairpins and switchbacks its way up through a mountain pass at gradiants of 20%. This has led to its being used as a setting in films and TV series. On the other side of the pass we find the seaside village of Applecross (ancient religious sanctuary) and the picturesque Applecross Inn.
Torridon and Beinn Eighe
The mountain landscapes here are incredible, built from sandstones that are 750 million years old. Great Peaks like Liathach (the Grey One) and Beinn Alligan (Jewel Mountain) rear skyward, and Beinn Eighe (File Mountain) lies just up the valley. The National Nature Reserve here is cloaked in Caledonian Pine and supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, including important plant colonies, rare mosses and lichens, and the elusive pine marten and golden eagle.
NC500 – Applecross and Eilean Donan Castle Tour – Price
£650 for the tour.
NC500 – Applecross and Eilean Donan Castle Tour – Departure
The tour departs from your Inverness accommodation, or any transport hub, such as bus station, train station or airport. You tell us, and we’ll be there.