Mini Itinerary

Blog / The Pass of the Cattle

6 May 2019

The day dawns clear and sunny. We head down to the hotel to get some breakfast. Packing up after eating, we get on the road around ten. About three hours later, we sit down for lunch at the Applecross Inn. We've covered 20km.

This miserable statistic is caused by the Bealach Na Ba, the Pass of the Cattle. There's few cattle around here these days, but regardless, this is a challenging climb. Initial gradients cant upwards until switchbacks finish the job. Ice crystals fall on me at the top. Snow is on the surrounding peaks, which aren't much higher.

A screaming fast descent brings us down to Applecross, where a fine pub does a roaring trade in quality local pub grub to visiting car, motorbike and bike tourists.

S describes the descent from the pass to Applecross as "like going from Mordor to The Shire" and I couldn't have put it better. Scotland in the sunshine is beautiful. Distant snow-capped peaks, wide windblown strands, and unending miles of nothing in between, except for the occasional outpost of human activity.

After lunch we do see some cows: those big orange shaggy-haired ones with horns.

We head into the teeth of a strong northwesterly on up and down roads. Some of the undulations are as steep as Bealach sections, but they're shorter, and you're usually able to see the top, which helps. The wind/slope combo starts to wear on us. We're making much slower progress than expected.

After a turn to the east, the wind works with us, but there's still the steep up/down.

We call it a day at about 6pm at Sheildaig. There's no campsite (there was but renovations are not yet complete.) but a random local suggests we head up to the local football pitch, which seems (thus far!) to have worked out for us.

Distance: 69km

Attached to journey: 6 May 2019 Lochcarron Loch Carrann to Sheildaig Sìldeag by Bike 67km
Part of trip North Coast 500
Distance today: 67km
Total distance: 168km

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