Anyway, seeing how pleased Kathy was to get a photo of the majestic stag, it reminded me of my own 'Monarch Of The Glen' moment from a few years ago, which I just thought I'd share with you.
We were staying in a little cottage in a place called Cove, on the shores of Loch Ewe. At the opposite side of the loch is a place called Mellon Charles, and one day we visited a little shop which made handmade soap. I'm pretty sure this is the same place, although it looks like they've expanded a lot since we were there, and I'm not even sure if the same people own it now. At the time though the owners were a lovely couple (whose names escape me unfortunately) who spent a lot of time telling us about the area and suggesting places to visit. One of the places they suggested was the Applecross Peninsula. So we had a study of the map and decided to give it a try later in the week.
To really experience this area, you need to cross the mountain pass known as Bealach na Bà, which roughly translates as Pass Of The Cattle, as it was once a drover's road. It has the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 metres (2,053 ft). This is the slightly ominous sign that greets you at the start of the pass:
So off we went, fearless, into the unknown! Once you start the climb, you don't really want to stop unless you have to in a passing place, so there weren't many opportunities to take photos, and to be honest, since I had the steep drops at my side of the car, I think I was clinging on (to what Chris refers to as the 'Jesus Handle') for dear life! But it really was breathtaking though!
We did manage to stop on one of the hairpin bends, where the road widened a bit, and this is where I had my Monarch Of The Glen moment. The reason we stopped was because we saw these three deer running down the hillside:
I got a couple of photos of them, and then turned round to speak to Chris, and saw this guy on the hillside behind me:
He stopped and stared right at me, and I think I held my breath the whole time, whilst snapping away. It felt like such a privilege to be able to take his photo, he was absolutely stunning, and he was literally just a few feet away from us, no zoom lens needed! Eventually he wandered off out of sight, so we carried on, and I got a couple of photos of the road that we'd just travelled up:
At the summit there was an information board about the view - I think on a clear day you can see Skye from there. I braved the gale force wind to walk to the board, but it definitely wasn't a clear day and I couldn't see a blimmin' thing. Chris stayed in the car, and snapped me making my way back, all wrapped up with my woolly hat on, genuinely worried that I was going to get blown away:
A brilliant experience, one I can't recommend enough if you're ever in the area, and if you're brave enough!!
This video, courtesy of twpduk on YouTube, shows you what the road is like. There are lots of other similar videos; clearly driving up there on a motorbike with a helmet camera is a popular thing to do! The engine noise/gear changes give you an idea of the effort it takes to climb to the top. Be warned though, if you suffer from motion sickness, particularly from things like video games, you might want to give it a miss:
I hope you enjoyed that little visit to one of many stunning parts of Scotland!