429 Cuaig viewpoint to Kenmore

[This walk was completed on the 13th August, 2019]

This morning, I park my van (The Beast) near the hamlet of Kenmore, and cycle back to the Cuaig viewpoint, where I stow my Scooty bike behind a boulder. Looking ahead at the road, I can see it leaves the shoreline and heads northwards in a series of swinging curves. 

01 view to Fearnmore, Ruth hiking the coastal road from Cuaig to Kenmore, Applecross

Shame about the haze, which obscures the distance and makes my photography dull. Oh well, as long as it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy.

Onwards. The first place I will come to is Cuaig. Is that it? Just one house?

02 Cuaig, Ruth hiking the coastal road from Cuaig to Kenmore, Applecross

The road rises and I come over the brow of a hill. There’s only a little traffic this morning, and the occasional cyclist.

03 inland road from Cuaig, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I cross over a little river – the Abhainn Chuaig – and stop to admire the view. Oh, that’s Cuaig, just upstream. A bigger place than I first imagined, and set in the middle of nowhere. 

04 Cuaig buildings, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

Below me, the river slides downwards through a little valley, and empties into the sea. That bay is called Sgeir an Oba, which means, I believe, Rock of the Bay.

05 Ob Chuaig, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

At this point, I could take a path which runs inland, cutting across the top of the Applecross peninsula and re-joining the road at a place called Arrina. 

footpath to Arrina, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Arrina? I check my map, which shows a place called Arrisa, but no Arrina. These Scottish names are certainly fluid!

Anyway, I’m sticking to the road today, because it offers the closest walking route to the coast. 

Nearby is a sign with information about the North Applecross Woodlands. I saw a similar sign yesterday, but with no evidence of any trees. Now, I stare across another treeless landscape. Where are these wonderful new woodlands? 

06 North Applecross Woodland project, Ruth hiking around coast of Applecross, Scotland

Are those a couple of new trees – just peeking over the top of the hill?

Onwards. When the road rises, I get a wonderful view looking towards Skye, where the sun is lighting up patches of greenery. Must make the most of this view, because I will soon be heading eastwards, and away from Skye.

07 view across to Skye, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

A large lorry thunders by, carrying logs. I guess it must have come from Applecross, where there is logging underway on one of the hills. It’s the first one I’ve seen on the road, and I’m glad I’m walking, not driving. I would hate to meet such a huge truck while driving my little Beast along these narrow lanes.

08 logging lorry, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I’m not very happy to see the logging lorry, to be honest. This landscape could be covered in trees. In fact, it should be covered in trees. I really hope the replanting scheme is successful.

Climbing the next hill, I come across a minor traffic jam. The cause? A recalcitrant sheep, who can’t understand why she shouldn’t be walking in the middle of the road. A black sheep. I raise my arms, and shoo her to the side of the road.

09 sheep on the road, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

Funny how she isn’t scared of the cars, but gives me a nervous look, and moves away when I approach. 

I reach the top of the rise. Around me, a number of little lochs lie scattered in the grassy landscape. To see them better, I must leave the road and climb higher up the slope, where the views are wonderful.

10 pools and coastline, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I perch the camera on a piece of rock, and set up the timer for a self-portrait. On the first attempt, I miss myself out of the photo completely.

first self-portrait, Ruth walking the coast of Applecross, Scottish Highlands

The second attempt is better, but I don’t quite manage to turn around before the timer comes to an end and the shutter clicks. Never mind. I quite like this photo of my back. It’s my best side!

11 self portrait, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I rejoin the road. When I drove through here earlier, in The Beast, I christened this area “The Valley of the Lochs”.  It’s a lovely, open landscape, filled with pools of bright water, surrounded by outcrops of rocks and rolling grassland.

12 valley of the lakes, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I’ve been overtaken by several cyclists already, and now two young women whizz by and shout a cheery “Hello”. They’re carrying luggage and I wonder if they’re planning to cycle the whole NC500 in one go. 

13 touring cyclists, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The road dips and rises. Just love this landscape. Ah, here’s my first good view of the sea ahead to the north. This must be the beginning of Loch Torridon, and look at that lovely bright beach across the water. 

14 first view Loch Torridon, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I check my map, but the golden beach isn’t visible on my current OS map. [Later, I discover the bright sands I can see are at a place called Red Point.]

I’m approaching the northernmost tip of the Applecross peninsula. A sailing boat – a solitary white triangle – is sailing across an empty expanse of sea. I wonder if it is the same lonely boat I saw yesterday?

15 rain clouds and sailing boat, Rubha na Fearna, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The next hamlet is called Fearnmore. When I drove through here on my first trip to Applecross, as the light was fading, and the coastal road seemed to wind on and on forever, I misread the sign as Fearmore. It seemed a very ominous name at the time!

But in the gentle light of day, Fearnmore is just another cluster of houses. This one, with it’s balcony overlooking Loch Torridon, looks as if it has been renovated recently. It’s for sale too!

16 house with a view, Fearnmore, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

My surname (Livingstone) is Scottish, although the clan history is confusing, and nobody in my immediate family has ever lived here. I’ve loved my visits to Scotland, but I’m not sure if I could live here permanently. The winters must be dark and dismal, and the summer is full of midges and ticks.

I’m just not tough enough to be a Highlander. 

I leave Fearnmore behind, turning to take a photograph of the sign that gave me such a bad feeling when I first drove through here.

17 Fearnmore sign, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The road has curved round, and I’ve left the sea and the view of Skye behind. Heading eastwards now, along the southern shore of Loch Torridon.

At the top of a rise, a gated track seems to lead towards a group of standing stones. Of course, I have to explore…

18 old gate, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

… although, sadly, the standing stones turn out to be just a couple of old gate posts.

The view from this vantage point is wonderful. I sit down on a piece of flat rock, and pull out my packed lunch. Watch the storm clouds hurling rain down over the other side of the loch.

19 storm clouds over Loch Torridon, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

Luckily the sun is shining over here.

I make slow progress along this stretch of road, mainly because I keep leaving the tarmac to climb up the bank and stare at the views. Look at this lovely little cove – such crystal clear waters. And there are remnants of some old structure on the shore – maybe something to do with fishing? 

20 rocky coves and crystal clear water, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The road doesn’t seem in any hurry to get anywhere either. It curls and twists around, only loosely following the coast. The rain has soon cleared from Loch Torridon. What a lovely view.

21 clearing skies, Loch Torridon, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

I look inland, squinting into the sun, and see young trees sprouting across the landscape. Aha! This must be the newly-planted North Applecross woodland. It really does exist!

22 possible young trees, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

Onwards, along an undulating road which makes its lazy way across the landscape.

23 heading towards Fearnbeg, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The road twists closer towards the shore, and I climb up a hillside to get another beautiful view of another pretty cove.

24 view over Loch Torridon to Redpoint, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

… and then I reach Fearnbeg, Fearnmore’s little brother. Here the bins are lined up along the main road, and someone has drawn a picture on one of them. There’s a clear illustration of what to do with “General Waste”, just in case of any confusion. Makes me smile.

25 waste bin drawing, Fearnbeg, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

Onwards. A seagull watches me from a rock above the road…

26 watched by seagull, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

… and further along a group of sheep are grazing, with one sentient ewe keeping a wary eye on me.

27 watched by sheep, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The road is gently drifting downhill now. The sun disappears behind the clouds and the air gets gloomier. Ahead, the dark green of a forest fills one of the glens. More trees, but not new woodland, because these seem very well established.

28 woodland, near Arrisa, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

As I approach the trees, the first rain drops begin to fall. I stop under the shelter of some overhanging branches. Here is the beginning (or end) of the footpath to Cuaig. 

29 footpath sign to Cuaig, Arrisa, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

The rain falls around me.  I’ve still got a rash in my right groin from cycling in my waterproofs yesterday. Luckily it doesn’t itch, and it isn’t sore, but I don’t want to make it worse. What is most likely to aggravate it – wet trousers from rain, or wet trousers from sweat?

The rain gets even heavier. Reluctantly, I shrug off my back pack and pull out my waterproof trousers.

While I’m doing this, I notice I’m standing opposite the turn off to Arrisa (or is it Arrina?) The house on the corner has a row of orange gas bottles lined up outside, next to a well-used car, and… what’s that on the far right of the gate? A Zimmer frame?

30 turnoff to Arrisa, Ruth hiking around the north of Applecross, Scotland

There’s something very poignant about seeing a walking frame outside the gate of an isolated house. I’m so glad that I don’t have any problems with mobility – not yet anyway.

By the time I’ve pulled on my waterproof trousers, adjusted my boots, and taken a few photographs… the rain stops! Oh well. Off come the trousers again, and I march off down the road.

31 wet road to Kenmore, Ruth walking the coast North Applecross, Scotland

A few minutes later the sun comes out. I turn round and see Arrisa (or Arrina). It’s a tiny village, just a collection of white cottages tucked into a the slope of the hillside. Very pretty in the sunshine. I wish I’d gone down and taken a better look at the place.

32 Arrisa from the road, Ruth's coastal walk north coast of Applecross, Scotland

Oh well, too late now. Next stop is Kenmore.

The road curves around the edge of the forest, and slides down a steep slope. A couple of cyclist whizz past me. Hope their brakes work.

33 cyclists on the way to Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

As I approach Kenmore, the rain clouds are gathering once more. I take a quick look at my map… there is a footpath off here… somewhere. Aha – I spot the first walker I’ve seen all day – a lady in a red jacket is striding up a field towards the road. 

34 rainclouds over Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

I ask her if she has come up from Kenmore, and she says, yes, this is the right path. She can’t stop, because she’s hurrying to finish her walk before the rain starts again. Her cat is accompanying her.

35 cat on the walk, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

She warns me the path is a little boggy, but it turns out to be fine. I head down, following the vague trail through the grass, towards the shore of Loch Torridon. 

36 footpath to Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

After crossing a strangely bumpy field, I skirt around a raised mound, and then walk through a grove of midge-infested trees, before reaching the beginning of a grassy track, lined either side by fences.

37 path down to the road, Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

Running along the border of the garden of a private house, the track joins the road. I turn right – no choice really, because the road has come to a dead end beside the track – and walk past a collection of sweet little cottages. This is Kenmore. 

38 walking through Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

No shops. No sign of life. I walk past the Old Post Office, now a private house. As I leave the buildings behind, the sun comes out, and I turn round to take a photo. Kenmore a pretty place indeed, but also a dead place. 

kenmore, ruth's coastal walk around the Applecross Peninsula, Scottish Highlands

The last mile of any walk is always the longest. It doesn’t help that there is a steep climb out of the village towards the main road. I keep stopping to rest take photographs. A salmon farm lies out in Loch Torridon, while grey rain clouds drape the mountains on the other side. 

39 Salmon farm, Kenmore, Loch Torridon, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

I look at the far shore. It seems very remote. One day I’ll be walking over there, but not on this trip. I’ve extended my stay at the Applecross camp site several times already, but now I’m ready to go home. Tomorrow will be my last day.

41 dramatic light, Loch Torridon from Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

My lovely Beast is parked at the top of the lane, at the junction with the main road.

42 The parked Beast, Kenmore, Ruth hiking the north coast of Applecross, Scotland

Well, it was another short walk today. But I am steadily making progress, and tomorrow I should finish the Applecross Peninsula. Most people do it in one or two days, but it’s taken me all week!


The house at Fearnmore was still for sale at the time of posting this. A bargain if you want to buy it. Details here.

Miles walked today = 7.5 miles (and another 7.5 miles on the bike!)

Total around coast = 4,432 miles

Route:

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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22 Responses to 429 Cuaig viewpoint to Kenmore

  1. Was that cat really out for a day’s walk?

  2. Eunice says:

    Lovely scenery and too many nice views to mention. I love the cat 🙂

  3. Russell White says:

    Hi Ruth – again beautiful photography. I think that view of North Applecross could be Mordor !! Cheers Russ😎

  4. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – about 15 years ago I nearly bought a cottage in Fearnmore. In those days the recently converted house that you saw for sale was just a pile of rocks. When I first visited Fearnmore I decided it was too remote so didn’t buy. When I walked through it on my coastal walk I was so disappointed to see how ‘developed’ it was by comparison to previously. It’s funny how one’s perceptions change, because it isn’t really developed at all. I’m really looking forward to reading your first posts for 2020, and discovering how you are getting on now.

  5. jcombe says:

    Lovely photos again and mostly good weather other than the brief rainy periods. I followed that path between Cuaig and Arrina and then walked back along the road, rather than cycle for this walk. That was the path that confused me when the map shows it goes through woodlands that don’t seem to exist! Still I made it through anyway.

    I also tried to get down to the beach at Cuaig but the stepping stones were partly underwater so had to give up with that idea. I did follow the rocks to the western end of the beach but with the stream between me and the sands I decided not to stop and take my shoes off and wade through as I could at least see the beach from where I was.

    • Yes, I remember you said you did the circular walk, Jon. I considered it, but the convenience of my electric bike was just too tempting. I did consider visiting that beach, but the tide was in, and the sands were covered, so didn’t seem much point. Also I was too lazy 😀

  6. Jayne says:

    Ruth, thank you so much for another wonderful blog post. As I’ve not been able to get to Scotland this year, I cannot tell you how much I look forward to each instalment of your trip in 2019. As always, you never disappoint 🙂

    • Oh Jayne, thank you for your kind words. It’s been a difficult year for all of us, and I’m actually glad I’m so behind with my write ups, and so I’ve got a chance to relive last year’s adventures.

  7. Bill Wilson says:

    An incredible walk. So many great photos. I’m inspired.

  8. JayP says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I really like the watch sheep peering at you through the heather. And the cat, too. You always say that photography in dull weather gives worse results, but I think that often it shows the landscape in another mood, atmospheric and sometimes mysterious.
    Thanks for your posts this year – I am so glad you had some places still to write about even if you haven’t been able to get out and about this year.

  9. Tudor Brown says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I have some interesting updates on Kingswood. Can we discuss offline? Thanks

    Tudor Brown

    >

  10. Karen White says:

    Scotland is very beautiful but I wouldn’t be tough enough to live there either. Midges make a beeline for me and I react badly to their bites.
    We used to have some people locally whose cats always accompanied them on their daily walks – quite comical to see.

  11. Gordon Bloodworth says:

    Hi Ruth Just to say a big thank you for all your Scotland Coastal Walk posts. This year we were unable to visit Scotland so your posts have been very welcome, and the photographs have helped to keep me sand 😃. Thank you once again Gordon

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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