Gairloch to Kinlochbervie
Leaving Gairloch we head for Poolewe passing the Red Smiddy, remains of a 1700 Iron Furnace and an opportunity to visit Inverewe Gardens, where the mild climate of the gulf stream allows plants and shrubs to thrive.
A couple of beaches in this area which shouldn’t be missed, Mellon Charles and a visit to the Perfume Studio and Mellon Ugrigle and the deserted village at Slaggan and Slaggan Bay. We pass Gruinard island where until recently access was banned due to chemical experiments undertaken in the 1940s.
At Ardessie we have the Ardessie Falls , a walk of 2 miles from the road , but views over little loch broom. A stop at Antellach Brewery perhaps. Continuing we reach Dundonnell canyon, and further on the Falls of Mesach and the Corrieshalloch Gorge. We rejoin the A835 and head towards Ullapool.
Ullapool, established as a fishing station, has scenic boat trips, traditional music and is the ferry port to the western isles. Visit Ullapool Museum for the history of the area. A busseling place with lots of places for food and drink.
Continue through the village taking the A835 at Drumrunie there is the option of taking a detour following the road to InverKirkaig or even to the aptly named Achiltiebuie and passing the impressive mountain Stac Pollaich (stac polly) and Suilven through the Inverpolly Estate and onto Lochinver and perhaps a visit to Highland Stoneware Pottery. Fishing is another attraction - trout lochs, salmon rivers and sea fishing are all available locally. Boats from the lochinver harbour also offer wildlife sea cruises around the coastline.
Leaving Lochinver, on the B869 a visit to Achmelvich or Clachtoil beaches are a must do experience, white sand and clear blue water. Take the road to Stoer Lighthouse where you can walk over rough moorland to the Old Man of Stoer sea stack rising 200 feet out of the sea and be rewarded with views of seabirds nesting on the cliffs.
Views beyond the stac show the north coast. The 24-mile-long single track road that follows the coast from Lochinver to Kylesku may be narrow, twisting and in places very steep, but the visitor should not be put off as it is also arguably one of the most scenic routes in Sutherland.
As the road twists and turns you get spectacular views out to sea over Clashnessie and Edrachillis Bays or inland to the mountains of Quinag and Suilven. The communities of Drumbeg and Nedd are next along the road. The viewpoint car park has stunning views out over the islands in the bay. Despite being small, Drumbeg boasts a general store and a greengrocers as well as a craft shop and artist's studio. Tourists can be accommodated in a number of bed & breakfasts and the village also has its own hotel.
This is an ideal spot for bathing and water sports. Wildlife enthusiasts may be lucky enough to spot the dolphins and whales that often frequent these waters.
Alternatively -Assynt is a particularly historic part of the northern Highlands, but at this one location towards the eastern end of Loch Assynt you will find a number of historic monuments.
Situated on a peninsula is Ardvreck Castle. Built by the MacLeod’s of Assynt towards the end of the fifteenth century, Continue until the road joins the A894 and head north to the impressive Kylesku bridge. Stop and take in the views and perhaps take a boat trip to the end of the loch where Britain’s highest water fall is located. 3 times higher than those famous American ones.
Continuing we come to Scourie and just north there is a ferry which runs to Handa Island, a bird sanctuary with over 200000 birds
At Laxford bridge we take the A838 heading towards Durness. Another detour, head for Blairmore and park up. Then it’s a 4 miles (6.4 km) path leading from the gravel car park. Sandwood Bay is part of the Sandwood Estate which is run by the John Muir Trust. The beach is considered to be one of the cleanest and most unspoilt beaches in the whole of mainland Britain.
Perhaps stop of in Kinlochbervie for the night