The Applecross Peninsula lies between the mainland mountain masses and the Islands of Skye and Raasay and is accessed by only two roads, one over a high mountain pass and the other longer route round the beautiful coastline from Sheildaig. The Gaelic name for the area, ‘a Chomraich’, means ‘The Sanctuary’ , a name which dates from the important role played by Applecross in the early history of the Christian Church in Scotland. It’s not the easiest place to get to but you’ll never forget the journey or the time you spend here. Applecross has been compared to Heaven, very difficult to get to, but once there you do not want to leave!
Driving over the mountain pass called the Bealach na Ba is spectacular if not terrifying with a number of hairpin bends to negotiate with steep inclines and declines on a single track road. It is well worth the drive as on a clear day you’ll see the kind of views you could only dream about, West to the Outer Hebrides and South to the Kintail Mountains and beyond. A viewpoint on the summit gives information on the spectacular panorama all around you.
Held on the 4th Saturday in July, the games are organised and run by the local community. The Games take place on the Applecross camp-site which is situated above the village of Applecross. The very attractively located camp-site occupies over six acres of open field camping space, offering fantastic views across the Inner Sound towards the islands of Raasay, Rona and the Black Cuillins of Skye.
Games have taken place in Applecross every year and prove to be a great family day out. Rather lower key than the very commercial Highland Games of larger towns, it provides a fun packed day for locals and visitors alike. There are traditional events including Tossing the Caber and Hammer, a Hill Race, Tug o’ War and wonderful displays of country dancing as well as more recent additions such as the Bungee Run and Sumo wrestling!
For the children there is face painting, bouncy castles and inflatable slides, lots of room to run around apart from their own sports events, and also the recently excavated Broch to explore.
A range of stalls offering merchandise from local businesses including jewellery, stained glass and local Arts & Crafts. Food stalls offer delicious home baking, fresh local produce including seafood , Tombolas, Competitions such as guess the weight of the lobster, Lucky Dip, Bottle Stall, etc. The Beer Tent offers refreshment especially welcome on a hot sunny day. Teas, coffees, soft drinks and ice creams are also readily available in the licensed Flower Tunnel Restaurant.
A Pipe Band usually provides musical entertainment at intervals during the day and the day ends with a Marquee Dance at the Camp-site.
The Bealach na Ba ( Pass of the Cattle) mountain pass is an utterly spectacular mountain pass in Wester Ross leading to the beautiful Applecross Peninsula with its string of pretty hamlets dotted along the coast facing onto the Inner Sound and the islands of Skye, Raasay and Rona.
No matter what the weather, the road is dramatic at its worst and breathtakingly beautiful at its best.
This is the UK's biggest mountain climb taking the cyclist from sea level at Tornapress to 626m in under 10km. The Bealach na Ba road is single track with passing places and is frequently impassable in winter.The summit may also be swathed in cloud and mist at any time of the year, but on a clear day the views from the top are outstanding. This single track road climbs to a pass between Sgurr a' Chaorachain and Meall Gorm. Near the summit there is a series of three hairpin bends providing the final climb and the nearest thing to a Tour de France mountain stage that you will find in Britain. A more gentle incline will take you to the Viewpoint where, on a good day, a panorama awaits you offering views toward the outer and more southerly isles.
The non stop 8 km descent now begins, this time with one single hairpin, which can take only 15mins, but you would miss all the views at this speed. Also not advisable in the mist!
It is also wise to keep an eye out for deer especially on approaching the Home Farm where you will find the Campsite and Flower Tunnel Restaurant. At sea level you will reach 'The Street' as the main village in Applecross is known with the renowned Applecross Inn, famed for seafood.
The next 6km of coastal road heading round the North coast of the peninsula provides much easier cycling, at least until you round the northern tip of the peninsula after Cuaig. Views are spectacular across the Inner Sound towards Rona and later across Loch Torridon towards The Torridonian Mountains. There is a fast descent followed by a very tight corner leading by Loch Beag, followed by a rollercoaster ride through remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forest for the remaining ride to the main road. The Village of Sheildaig is worth a 1 km detour for hotel, campsite and shops as well as a possible glimpse of the sea eagles of Sheildaig Island. If not, head south to meet up with you starting point at Tornapress. Better still, stay in Applecross and try the route from this side of the mountain!
There are two famed annual Cycle events, Bealach Beag and Bealach Mor.
Bealach Beag starts and ends in Sheildaig, climbing Bealach na Ba from Tornapress and returning by the coastal road. Distance 43.8 miles , ascent 6441 ft.
Bealach Mor is a longer event , starting at Kinlochewe, heading for Ashnasheen and then returning west towards Loch Carron, Kishorn and then tackling the Bealach na Ba before turning north along the coastal road, through Sheildaig returning to Kinlochewe, a total of 90 miles and an ascent of 9,600 ft.
The Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon will take place on June 23rd 2012 in Wester Ross.
Centered on the spectacular Torridon Mountains will take you on an adventure unlike any other.
The Celtman is a long distance Extreme triathlon. Please take note this race is tough. The distances are Iron like and the terrain severe. You will be expected to complete a sea-loch swim, an arduous road cycle and a mountainous run. This will require endurance, stamina, great bike handling skills and off-road running experience.
Please do not consider entering this race if you question your own ability to do anything mentioned above.
The route, for the moment, remains under wraps - but you will not be disappointed. Expect this to be one of the hardest days of your life.
Each athlete will require a support car/ crew. One of the crew must be fit and able enough to accompany the competitor during the last leg of the run over a large mountain! Mandatory safety kit will be required.
You will need to be in Torridon, Scotland at least the day before the race (June 22nd 2012). Torridon is remote village and is at least 5 hour’s drive from Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Celtman takes place in a remote part of Scotland known as Wester Ross. The race sign-on and HQ will be in Torridon itself, and the race will start near a small village called Shieldaig 8 miles (13km) away. The nearby towns and villages listed below will all have accommodation available but beware of limited supply! It would be wise to try and stay within 20 miles (32km) of Shieldaig as many of the roads are single track with passing places and this greatly increases driving times. It can take an hour to travel 30 miles (48km).
The Applecross Duathalon is a small locally run event which takes place over some of the most remarkable scenery in Scotland on the remote Applecross Peninsula in Wester Ross. The course is 9 miles on foot followed by a 15 mile bike race on road, a 3,300 feet ascent and descent.
The race starts near the Venture Trust building (signposted from the road round Applecross Bay) and follows an old track up a glen through wild and spectacular terrain across the Applecross peninsula to the north coast, close to the village of Kenmore, on Loch Torridon. The highest point on the path is 260m, 250m higher than the Start. At the final mile turn left and head to the Changeover, at Arrina. Entrants then collect their bikes and cycle back for 15 miles round the spectacular coast road to the finish line outside the Applecross Inn, in the main street. The cycling has fantastic views of Loch Torridon and across the Inner Sound to the Raasay and Skye with the Cuillin hills.
After the event there is a prize giving and tea with delicious home baking held in the Applecross Community Hall, The Entry Fee is just £6. All profit from the event goes to the Applecross Hall funds. In 2011 132 people entered and 96 took part on the day.
The Lochcarron Highland Games are held in stunning Wester Ross in the North West Highlands. The games take place in the beautiful Attadale estate across the bay from the main village of Lochcarron, and are organised by the local community.
The games feature the traditional mixture of competitor events including heavy events, like tossing the caber, shot put and the hammer. Track and field events include high jump, triple jump 400, 600 and 800 meters and also a hill race. There are also very entertaining events like the haggis hurl, tug O’ war and five aside football which are great fun. Wonderful displays of Highland dancing provide colour and entertainment and a traditional pipe band is always present.
The games are very traditional and capture the custom of those events from days gone by. There is something for everyone with children’s events and a wide selection of stalls to buy gifts and souvenirs. This provides a wonderful fun packed day out for voisitors and locals alike and not to be missed.
Nearby also not to be missed is the wonderful Attadale Gardens providing an oasis of peace and tranquility after, before or during the fun of the games!
In its' thirtieth year this year (2012), this is a popular community run fête, taking place in the picturesque village of Shieldaig on the shores of Loch Torridon overlooking the beautiful Shieldaig Island.
With plenty of activities to participate in including weight lifting, five-side-football, tug o’ war, an ardently competitive hill race, egg throwing, as well as the spectacularly funny and enthusiastic raft race.
The street is lined with a wide range of food stalls including Mexican food, a barbecue, fresh fish and shellfish and home baking for sale. There are also a lot of non food stalls including bric-a- brac, arts and crafts, and Jewellery.
The weekend's entertainment starts on the Friday night with the Sheep Shed Shuffle, a night of music provided by a local DJ. On the Saturday night following the Fete there is live music provided by a traditional ceilidh band in the street. Both events are very popular and help make the Sheildaig Fete a weekend to remember!