In far-flung Ross, experience some of Scotland’s most dramatic peaks, best beaches and direct access to the isles.
If Wester Ross evokes images of a certain fantasy continent in your mind, you’re not far off. In this western section of Ross the geography of Scotland dramatically changes. Surrounded by strange, new mountains, adventure spreads out in every direction. Camping can be found all along the snaking coast and inland. In the southwest, a direct train service from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh provides easy access to the Isle of Skye if you’re without a set of wheels. In the eastern half of Ross, the landscape is more mellow but still beautiful, with stretches of golden sand bordering the North Sea and beckoning you further into the northland.
The Black Isle is no island at all but a peninsula jutting out above Inverness between the Cromarty and Moray Firths. At its tip, the lively village of Cromarty stands at the edge of the North Sea. At its base, visit the county town of Dingwall for its museum, cafes, and shops featuring the area’s artisan wares. Further north, Tain is a picturesque jumping-off point to explore the countryside, nearby castles, and the renowned Glenmorangie Distillery.
Traverse the hairpin bends of the infamous Bealach na Bà mountain pass, the steepest road ascent in the UK, then descend into the other-worldy Applecross Peninsula. You’ll feel far removed from the rest of Scotland and enjoy stunning views out to Skye and the Isle of Raasay. Beware of rogue sheep as you continue north along the stunning coastal road, and be sure to make a pit-stop for some of the best seafood in Scotland.
The town of Torridon also gives name to the entire area, a dream destination for outdoor purists. The Torridon Hills drop straight into the sea and are excellent for hillwalking and climbing. Beinn Eighe was Scotland’s first National Nature Reserve and walking the remote trails that circle its monolith namesake and surrounding mountains is an awe-inspiring experience.
The seaside town of Ullapool, tucked into the north shore of Loch Broom is a perfect base for the Hipcamper. It’s a gateway to the Western Isles, with ferries running to Stornoway on Lewis. It also provides easy access to the mountains and coast of Ross to the south and Sutherland to the north. You don’t have to get far out of town for adventure, though. The Ullapool Hills that surround the town and the sea offer a lovely walk to a hidden loch.