3/5 - Medium
Glen Urquhart Scottish Highlands, road trip to Bettyhill Leaving Glen Urquhart, from the end of the road turn right to the village of Cannich from Cannich take the route to Beauly about 18 miles through Mauld, struy, Eskadale, Aigas, Kilmorack, to Beauly, On the way you pass Erchless Castle, an L-plan castle near Struy. The current building was built in about 1600, by the River Beauly at the point where it forms from the confluence of the rivers Glass and Farrar. Today you can let The castle for self-catering holiday accommodation On this route you pass Aigas golf course, established in 1993 as a farm diversification project, with greens and wide undulating fairways that are popular feature of this 9 hole well manicured parkland golf course (par 33) is well known for it’s picturesque setting, surrounding Aigas At the junction take the left hand turn to Beauly, The village of Beauly is offers a range of excellent and varied shops, eating places, hotels and guest houses, and all just a 20 minute drive from Inverness. The River Beauly is a renowned salmon river, but also provides some of the gentler walks around the village. From Beauly to Muir Of Ord take the A862, through Marybank then the A835 to Dingwall the village sits south of the Cromarty Firth The ancient Dingwall Castle is well worth some time to discover It is an attractive and busy resort town of narrow streets and pink stone buildings set around its now disused harbour, today the harbour foreshore is a popular site for birdwatchers. Primarily renowned as the legendary birthplace of Macbeth, it retains some notable historic buildings, including the Fyrish Monument built in 1781, it is a good point for touring the Highlands. From Dingwall follow the route on the A862 to the A9 at the Ardullie roundabout, follow the A9 to Alness, From Alness take the B9176 to Ardgay Although a designated National Scenic Area, the Dornoch Firth is one of the least well known beauty spots in Sutherland, it is often known as the "quiet county" There are fine viewpoints from Newton Point, between Clashmore and Spinningdale, with great opportunities for fine photography. From Ardgay take the A836 to Bonnerbridge has a well-known iron bridge and a "stone circle" using a selection of Highland stone, with fine views of the Dornoch Firth the viewpoints from the road overlook the Dornoch Firth, please note this route needs to be driven with extra caution and is not recommended during the winter. From Bonnerbridge follow the A836 to Lairg enjoy the magnificent views of this beautiful and interesting area, explore this designated National Scenic Area,one of the most under-rated areas of the Highlands. It is advisable to exercise caution if using this route during the winter, spring and autumn, especially when it is dark or early morning, due to patches of ice, fog, and deer on the road. We recommend that you take the coast road via Tain instead under such conditions. From Lairg take the A863 to Altnaharra A small hamlet in the beautiful, rugged wilderness in the far north of Scotland on the A836 between Lairg and Tongue. Remote and beautiful, the local weather station sometimes records the coldest temperatures in the UK! The road that runs through Altnaharra would have originally been a drovers road used by crofters to take their livestock to market. Following the clearances of the early 1800s the local population fell dramatically, along with the number of crofters using the drove road. The landscape around Altnaharra includes Loch Naver and Loch Hope which, along with many other smaller lochs, attracting tourists to the area for its excellent salmon and trout fishing, the surrounding estates also offers opportunities for stalking deer and shooting game, Watch out for the Hairy Highland coo, they have long horns and long, wavy, woolly coats that are coloured black, brown, yellow, white, Gray, silver, or tan, From Altnaharra take the A836 to Tongue past Loch Loyal a freshwater loch, located near Lairg,it is about four miles long, it drops to a depth of two hundred feet. The Loch flows north through Loch Craggie and Loch Slaim into the River Borgie. Loch Loyal, very popular with bird watchers, surrounded by the mountain ranges of Beinn Stumanadh, Ben Hiel, and Cnoc nan Cuilean. The town of Tongue is close to Loch Loyal, it is a historic village situated 31 miles north of Lairg. There is evidence of ancient settlements in the area with various Bronze Age burial sites, Iron Age Brochs and early Christian stones, The area is thought to have been occupied by the Norse from the 900s-1200s with the name coming from 'tunga' describing the tongue-shaped land projecting into the water, the ruins of the tower Castle Varrich is about a mile to the west of the village dating back to Norse rule. Tongue lies on the east shore of the Kyle of Tongue with Ben Loyal standing at 2506ft high over shadowing the village on the south side, it is a popular destination with walkers, climbers and nature enthusiasts, From Tongue take the A836 to Coldbackie, it lies at the head of Tongue Bay, two miles north of Tongue, this small bay is dominated by a sheer conglomerate red sandstone cliff, looking north over it’s spectacular beach to the Rabbit Islands. It is one of series of crofting townships, running from Tongue, through Coldbackie, Strath Tongue, Dalharn, Blandy and Scullomie to the deserted township of Slettel that sit on the eastern fringes of the Kyle of Tongue. From Coldbackie, take the A836 to Invernaver this area has spectacular beaches, dunes, riverside and moorland, as well as visiting an iron-age broch with stunning views. It passes an area of Special Scientific Interest due to the rare plants and archaeological remains. Here you will find the Sandy Dun Broch perching high above the Invernaver Reserve (SSSI) at the mouth of the River Naver. Much of the area is remote and sparsely populated, with spectacular scenic views of ocean, beaches, hills, mountains, and rocky headlands along with crofting and fishing villages nestling in the hollows along the coastline. The finish is the village of Bettyhill where a local museum and a 17th century church. that tells the story of the Highland clearances, Smoo Cave and the sandy beaches of Balnakeil Bay and the 8th century church, with the tomb of the infamous Donald MacLeod. From here you can continue to Thurso and wick onto the east side of the North coast 500 to Inverness.
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