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Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

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Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

finalising the details for my big trip next week!

Our intention is to follow the coast as much as possible in North-West Scotland, so I'm now looking in more detail at our route from Ullapool to Durness. Of course the direct way is A835/A837 but I'm looking at the Coigach & Assynt tour on Undiscovered Scotland's website

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ustours/coigach-a…

Just how tiring would those narrow and windy roads be for the driver, to then have to carry on up to Durness afterwards? We are planning to make a day of it, stopping at places of interest (of course!) and we're having a "rest" day either side in Ullapool and Durness, so the driver should hopefully be fairly refreshed.

I did also have Ardvreck Castle on my map to visit, so an alternative would be to just do part of the coastal road - either the first part, turning off towards Achtilbuie, following the coast until Lochinver and back up towards Loch Assynt; or the second part by keeping on the A835 until the loch and turn towards the coast then, going via Clachtoll.

I've checked google streetview and the first part of that route looks the prettiest and hugs the coast a bit more BUT Clachtoll beach looks gorgeous too!

Recommendations/personal preferences on any of these route options please!

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Clachtoll
Clachtoll
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1. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

It shouldn't be too tiring - just don't try to rush.

And don't expect to get any speed up, until you are on the road to Durness.

Those are wonderful roads. And if you have time, one of Scotlands best beaches is at Sandwood Bay - a chance to stretch the legs!

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2. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

Thanks! Not sure I'd be fit enough to get to Sandwood bay, that's quite a trek! I do want to find as many beautiful beaches that I can though, one of the reasons why I wanted to do this trip.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

Thinking about it, why not see Ardvreck Castle on the "rest" day? It should be easy enough. Also look out for the Moine Thrust.....

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4. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

This is such a stunning part of the world that it's difficult to suggest what to leave out. However, as you've mentioned a wish to visit lovely beaches, I'd be inclined to drive the coastal loop north of Lochinver rather than the road which runs south. You will have a succession of wonderful beaches to enjoy along this road, as the Undiscovered Scotland website lists. This would, though, mean missing the drive to Achiltibuie and the glorious views across the water to the Summer Isles - I just don't think you are going to have time in one day to do both, and still leave time to do a bit of beachcombing and exploring elsewhere along the road to Durness.

When you rejoin the main road north just before Kylesku, there are plenty of other things more than worthy of taking in, such as:

Boat trip along Loch Glencoul (golden eagles seen regularly from here);

Lunch maybe at the Kylesku Inn (almost underneath the new bridge) - they often have fresh langoustines;

Boat trip to the nature reserve on Handa Island (puffins nesting here on the sheer cliffs, plus the likelihood of getting 'dive bombed' by skuas en route);

Side trip to Kinlochbervie, the most northerly settlement on the west coast;

Sandwood Bay, as peterscot suggests - a truly stunning beach, said to be both haunted and the haunt of mermaids!

Finally, if you have a spare day in Durness, don't pass up the opportunity to do the trip to Cape Wrath - you get a ferry across the Kyle of Durness (well, more of a glorified rowing boat really), from where a minibus picks you up and transports you across the wild and empty moorland of The Parbh to the Cape itself. This is seriously impressive coastal scenery, with gannets plunging into the furious seas in pursuit of fish, and all the while the boom of the surf in the background. One of those small number of locations that really lives up to its name!

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Handa Island
Handa Island
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5. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

wow, all those lovely suggestions! I only wish time and finances allowed us to stay in that area longer - and to think I originally thought there wouldn't be too much to visit the further north we went!

At the moment for our "rest days", thinking of taking a boat trip, maybe to the Summer Isles, when in Ullapool, to give my other half at least a few hours away from the steering wheel.

When in Durness need to decide between Smoo Cave, Cape Wrath or Balnakeil beach and Faraid Head (for the puffins!).

We will pretty much see how it goes and know that we can't do everything, so as long as we make the most of our time and see some variety, i'll be happy.

And langoustines definately on the itinerary, so will bear the Kylesku Inn in mind if I've not had any by then! I was a little surprised at how expensive they are on every restaurant site I've found so far, so I guess it will have to be a special treat at some stage of the trip.

Stanley, Falkland...
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6. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

10 years on, I can easily remember the langoustines at the Kylesku Inn, and breakfast next morning overlooking the disused ferry slip with seals basking on it.

Above us, cars rushed over the new bridge....

I think there is a boat trip from there to see the highest (or one of the highest) waterfalls in the UK. You can't do everything, so don't be upset if you miss something. A lot will depend on the weather on the day.

Manchester, UK
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7. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

The lovely langoustines are much prized by our continental neighbours - at the harbour in Kinlochbervie you may well see one or more giant refrigerated lorries from Spain or France waiting to load up. I've often wondered why they aren't sold more widely here - maybe the catches are mostly spoken for by the aforementioned markets?

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Spain
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8. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

Lol, I was hoping to eat them all before they had a chance to be shipped to the continent! ;-) think I might need a second mortgage for that though!

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9. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

On certin days you can do a day trip from Ullapool to Stornoway - including a coach tour of the island. Thoroughly recommended on a nice day.

The coast road up to Lochinver is very narrow!

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10. Re: Ullapool to Durness, coastal road

I looked into that, unfortunately it seems I'm there a bit early in the year for the Stornaway day trip. Shame, as that was my original consideration. However the Summer Isles boat trip looks good, as long as I can drag my partner out of the B&B early enough to catch it! :-)

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