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Northwest Highland GeoPark

Sheffield, United...
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Northwest Highland GeoPark

Hello all,

I'm renting a car in Liverpool and driving up to Scotland for 7 days. I think the first days will involve visiting Glencoe (maybe Loch Lomond) and Isle of Skye. But after Skye I'd like to drive through the geopark to the northern coast (do some walks/hikes etc). What are the essential visits and best places to stop overnight? We're a young couple used to travelling and are relatively in good shape.

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

That stretch of coastline is wonderful. Detour to Applecross over the stunning Bealach Na Ba pass. Drive up through the Torridons and through Kinlochewe. Take in the stunning Loch Maree - a quick walk at Slattadale is highly recommended. Perhaps stay the night in Gairloch - a busy little village with beaches, golf course, sealife trips, fishing trips, and some great eats. Have dinner at Na Mara restaurant for top notch dining. Heading north, you'll have the opportunity to take in Poolewe, with the world famous Inverewe gardens. And then the stunning Gruinard bay and Corrieshalloch gorge. Then you'll reach Ullapool, good for a lunch or tearoom stop. It's not far from Ullapool up to the geopark, and you'll see a very different landscape, more rugged and barren.

Enjoy!

Abs :)

Edinburgh...
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2. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

Are you interest in the geology or are you simply referring to the area?

For info regarding good walks: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/

For general tourist information: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/

However the mountains are just as interesting *before* you get to the 4 areas covered by the Geopark. After Skye, you head northwards and can take the high road to Applecross, then round the shore to Torridon, where there is amazing sceenry and three big difficult mountains - ancient sandstone topped with quarzite. Thereafter, you have loch Maree, the small communities of Gairloch, Inverewe, Aultbea, and inland another monster of a mountain An teallach.

Lots of geological pointers if you want :-)

Edited: 23 July 2013, 01:09
Sheffield, United...
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3. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

The geology is precisely what we're after. My girlfriend is a geophysicist so we're looking for the main geological attractions that, simultaneously, take us through some beautiful scenery. Geological pointers are very welcome :)

Edited: 23 July 2013, 01:18
Inverness, United...
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4. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

Your best bet is to visit the visitor centre at Knockan Crag about 12 miles north of Ullapool on the A835 (www.knockan-crag.co.uk). It gives a good introduction to the geology of the area and will give you some pointers on where else to visit. Personally I wouldn't miss out on the walk up the glen of the Allt nan Uamh (Stream of the Caves) south of Inchnadamph to the Bone Caves, or the Tralligill glen from Inchnadamph itself. If you get as far north as Durness Smoo Cave is the largest sea cave in Britain and "Colin the Cave" will take you inside in his wee rubber boat. Assynt is the most unique mountain landscape in Britain and well worth a visit; just bear in mind that it is a very sparsely populated area and aside from Ullapool (and to a lesser extent Lochinver) tourist facilities are few and far between. The Ullapool Bookshop, the Ceilidh Place Bookshop in Ullapool or Achin's Bookshop (at Inverkirkaig south of Lochinver) can provide you with a couple of excellent books/guides on the geology of Assynt. Enjoy!

Edinburgh...
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5. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

If you're interested in the geology of Glencoe and Skye, you might be interested in a couple of days on Arran - which, straddling the highland fault boundary, has samples of all but the earliest rocks. Dalriadan, onwards. The northern half of the island is largely granites and schists, surrounded by carboniferous, basalt intrusions etc. As used by geology students year after year ... and you get some lovely mountains to climb.

"Excursion Guide to the Geology of Arran", MacGregor, Geology Soc of Glasgow 1965 but there are a number of reprints.

"Geological Map of Arran", drift edition, Geological Survey of Great Britain / Ordnance Survey. I found a 1971 edition, not sure I'd worry about which.

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Are you reading up before you visit?

"The Geology of Scotland" (ed) Trewin, The Geological Society 2002

"Mountain Building in Scotland", Jones & Blake, Open University, 2003

"Palaeogene volcanic districts of Scotland" Emeleus & Bell, British Geological Survey, 2005

and more generally:

"The Scottish Highlands" WH Murray, Scottish Mountain Trust, 1976. An old guide, but Murray's writing was good

"The Northwest Highlands" Broadhead, Alec Keith & Ted Maden, Scottish Mountaineering Trust, 2005.

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Apologies because the girlfriend probably knows all this stuff backwards, and I'm just an outdoorsy person interested in what goes on round about me.

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PS One more which will give you an oblique idea about Scottish literature and highlands life - and much of it set in Assynt

At the Loch of the Green Corrie, Andrew Greig, Quercus, 2011

Sheffield, United...
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6. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

Thank you for all your kind replies. Derek G your information has been really helpful for my planning!

Fife, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

Crikey! Give Derek G a round of applause. That was some amount of spot on information there. Now I know why you have a rock as your avatar Derek!! (And I am NOT trying to be sarcastic BTW)

Woody (not a wise owl unfortunately!)

Edited: 24 July 2013, 20:50
Edinburgh...
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8. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

Rock as avatar. The granity 'old man of Tarsuinn' perched on a mountain in the centre of Arran, which island always one of my favourite places. Been going there, off and on, for years.

None of these mountains are Munros but, like the Cobbler, they outshine the majority of 'baggers' peaks.

So I always like to do the folks on the island a good turn if I can.

9. Re: Northwest Highland GeoPark

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