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" Scotland - 1 - Cumbria To Applecross "

Date & start time:     Saturday and Sunday, 17th & 18th September 2016

Location of Start :   Cruinn-leum Roundhouse, Toscaig. ( NG 714 390 )

Stayed at :                 Cruinn-leum Roundhouse, Toscaig, Applecross. Scotland, UK.        

Places visited :        Toscaig Pier, Camusteel, Applecross and The Walled Garden walk.

Walk details :           Local walks, Toscaig 2 miles, Applecross House about the same.

With :                         Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather :                  Overcast and changeable but generally okay.

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Our first full day at the cottage in Toscaig so time to start exploring yet relax into our holiday.

The cottage is actually more akin to the old medieval stone brochs, in that it was a tall, round tower with internal steps and big round rooms,

but there the similarity ends as it is just a few years old and all the rooms have been fitted out to the highest standard.

This will a prefect home for us for the coming week.

Where shall we walk to start our holiday ?

With Harry not getting any younger, shorter walks are the order of the day at the moment.

The moorland and surrounding hills are extremely rough going if there isn't a path, but there are plenty of local routes for us to explore.

This morning we'll start with a short walk down to the pier at Toscaig.

There are plenty of houses in the valley but as becomes clearer as the week progresses,

the number of people actually living here full time is limited.  Those that do seem to enjoy a little market gardening

and there are sheep about in many of the fields, but there is a lot of land that has been left to return to nature.

Many of the old croft houses and barns have seen better days.

I wouldn't like to walk on the old wooden bridge that crosses the stream in front of this one !

The ones that are lived in are in well loved and well looked after.  This is their view down the road towards the jetty. 

Sadly the phone box had a closure notice as it is very little used now despite no local mobile signal.

[ We converted ours here in Loweswater . . . if you want to see how click here ]

Another barn further down is in better condition . . . a local boat owner making good use of it.

Ann uses the passing place to let the bikes past !

The house ahead is undergoing renovation and will have a great view out across the salt flats at the head of the bay.

Down at the pier . . . the end of the road.

Ann and Harry take five and are probably willing that rain shower across the way to keep moving left rather than head up into our area.

We have been to Toscaig before and this is a picture from our 1996 family archive.

We had cycled down from the caravan site at Applecross Village and were taking a rest at the pier.

Full marks to our dogs, Layla and Holly as it was a five mile run down for them and a five mile run back.

Zooming in down the loch there were two boats, one sailing well before the wind

and the other, we presume, was an inshore fishery boat (mussels or fish farms) as we're not aware of a local ferry service.

The rain stayed away and it was sunshine all the way back up to the house . . .

. . . waiting for us at the top of the rise.

- - - o o o - - -

We often get asked about our accommodation . . . so here's a few pictures.

Starting on the ground floor in our 'round' bedroom.

The room was designed originally as a recording studio.  The desk doubles up as bedroom table and console desk (hence the speakers) !

Dylan seems to have moved so as to be in two photos . . . maybe it was next day ?

The wall on the right separates off a lovely walk-in shower room and toilet with under-floor heating and it's own music speakers.


Upstairs to the rest of the house


Local artwork with inspiration . . .

. . . from the local hills and sea cliffs.

The upstairs room is a combined lounge, dining room and kitchen with lovely views from the big windows.

The furniture is built around the shaped walls, the chrome chimney warms the room from the downstairs log burner.


Harry has a problem.

He can't cope with shiny floors.

When he walks on floors like this he puts his claws out to grip

which just makes the matter worse.  Knowing we would find

this type of floor a problem we made him some slippers

before we left home.


He now had super-grip feet and the problem went away.

After a few days he got the hang of it and managed without.

It's a dogs life as they say !


It turns out that the owners, Derek and Catherine Maclennan who live next door, have been instrumental in this whole project.

Derek, a joiner by trade, tried his hand at dry stone walling . . . one thing led to another and he ended up building the whole house himself.

They both enjoy their music and with neighbours set up the room as a recording studio (one of their CD's is in the rack)

The pictures downstairs were also painted by Catherine.

Now  Cruinn-leum Roundhouse is more often used as holiday accommodation and is busy most weeks of the year . . .we can see why.

- - - o o o - - -

Today was the day of the Applecross Duathalon . . . so we drove up into the village in the afternoon.

This is the Applecross Inn which fronts the main road around the bay.

No room for front gardens so many people have extended "over the road".

The challenge event and competition was to run ten miles across the peninsula to the hamlet of Kenmore

and then cycle the sixteen miles back . . . the winner's time was a very creditable one hour and forty eight minutes !

It looked to be a well organised event and was apparently one of several sporting highlights of the Applecross year.

Another competitor completes her successful journey around the peninsula.

Opposite the pub, the Inn's own "Inside Out" catering caravan was doing good business in drinks and refreshments.

- - - o o o - - -

On the way back the sun came out

and we stopped to look at an old boat that had been hauled up near the road.

It turned out to be an old Applecross fishing boat . . . the Isa.

It looked to be in a poor way but  had been repaired some time in the past.

Today there was a mini-digger in attendance but nobody about.

The following day it was looking a lot more ship-shape.

The mooring legs had been re-positioned, the boat was upright and all the clutter had been removed.

Information courtesy of the Applecross Estate tourist brochure.

I wonder what happened to this old craft that we spotted on the foreshore at Applecross some twenty years ago ?

- - - o o o - - -


The following day found us heading back up to Applecross.

A good set of tourist leaflets in the cottage encouraged us

to go on a combination of walks 1 and 3

around the extended grounds of Applecross House.

Firstly, driving up past Loch a' Mhuilinn (or lake of the mill).

The lake was enlarged by virtue of a small dam and used to feed a mill in the last century.

There's now a bird hide (in the foreground) but we didn't visit.

After parking on the foreshore we headed upstream, alongside the river, doing the walk in a clockwise direction.

Through the trees, and past the highland cattle we could see Applecross House.

The river is being managed to encourage the salmon and trout back . . . so no swimming please.

A lovely view of the rocky river bed through the trees.

The trails were very well marked.
We saw a red deer . . . even though it was made out of iron.
An estate run-about for the boggy moorland terrain.
(Accidental) Reflection in a potting shed window.
Raised beds of mixed vegetation.
Very Scottish . . . but not quite a thistle ?

The gardens were overgrown just a few years ago but with the concerted efforts of the Estate and volunteers it is fast coming back to life.

The greenhouse has been re-built and is now home a rather nice tea room and restaurant.

Well . . . you have to support local industry !
Don't leave by the back door.

The tea and cakes and the reputation for evening food were so good that we would return later in the week.

Continuing the walk we passed an underground ice house . . .
. . . which was filled with ice from a local pond each winter.

It supplied the main kitchens with ice for most of the year in the days before electricity and refrigeration.

On round the woodland walk.

. . . and back out to the head of Applecross Bay where we had parked the car.

Apparently the curved sandbank topped with stones in the middle distance was an old tidal fish trap.

- - - o o o - - -

On the way back to Toscaig we looked across the Inner Sound

and marvelled at the late afternoon sun shining through the broken cloud above the Isle of Rassay.

We called in at the local shop for milk and a few supplies then drove on through the villages of Camusteel and Camusterach.

A heron patrols the foreshore for his supper.
A group of shags, safe on the rocks in the harbour.


Basking on low tide rocks

were two grey seals


and further out a larger bull seal

balancing carefully on his rock.

In the inner harbour what could be taken for mooring buoys . . .

until the five seals all lined up and moved like a formation swimming team across the bay.

Not a bad start to our weeks holiday on the west coast of Scotland.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's new Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 Compact System Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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5. North to Gairloch

Previous report - 16th September 2016 - 1. The drive to Applecross

A previous time in the area - 8th to 18th May 2015 - Durness and Northern Scotland

Next walk - 19th September 2016 - 3. Airde Baine