We crossed over the spectacular Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) on a narrow single track road which was extremely winding with hair-pin bends. The weather was not in our favour as it was raining and making visibility a tad difficult. We made our way to Applecross and joined the coast road to Gairloch for the night. There was a very friendly fluffy cat waiting to greet us.
Next morning after devouring another cooked breakfast at our Gairloch Airbnb we headed for the world-famous historic Inverewe Gardens. It was amazing to think that this lush, tropical oasis perched on a peninsula at the edge of Loch Ewe amid the rugged landscape of Wester Ross exists. We could see why this garden is one of Scotland’s most popular botanical attractions.
Highlights included the most northerly planting of rare Wollemi pines, Himalayan blue poppies, olearia from New Zealand, Tasmanian eucalypts, and rhododendrons from China, Nepal and the Indian subcontinent. These plants flourish here, despite the northerly latitude, thanks to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream and the foresight of the original owners, who planted over 40 hectares of woodland to shelter the garden.
It was wonderful to walk around and see the different displays of the many flowering plants and succulents. Many we have in Australia and some of the succulents I actually have at home. Not too sure how they survive in the winter, but obviously they do.
We continued on, stopping at Corrieshalloch Gorge, a most spectacular gorge made over millions of years by glacial meltwater. The meltwater followed natural faults in the bedrock during several episodes of glaciation during the Quaternary ice ages, between 2.6 million and 11,500 years ago. Now that is a long time. We walked down to the suspension bridge which has a limit of six people at a time to view the water fall as the River Droma rushes through a mile-long box canyon below. Lucky neither of us suffer from vertigo as it is a very long way down...
We stopped at Ullapool for tea and cake and visited the Highland Pottery factory and saw the artisans at work. Even the seconds and thirds were way too expensive for us, but it is very beautiful pottery with lovely scottish landscapes and flora and fauna images.
We made our way to Lochinver for a night in someone's garden shed.