Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

Hebridean Hopscotch Day 1: Glasgow to Ullapool – 6 July 2011

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Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum

Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum


The main holiday in 2011 was based in the Outer Hebrides. The weather was not too good in the days before, with an indifferent forcast, and events at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart show a few days later.

On day 1 the drive north from Glasgow to our first ferry at Ullapool took us up the A82 to Inverness and then the A835 from Inverness to Ullapool. It had been hoped to take the opportunity to stop off at various attractions however up to Tyndrum, our first planned stop, the weather did not help with rain all the way.

At Tyndrum we stopped for tea and bacon roll (or coffee and square sausage roll if that is your preference). It was still raining, and the recent loss of my folding raincoat (which lives in my camera bag) meant that a replacement was purchased, in addition some OS Maps of the Outer Hebrides were bought.

Leaving Tyndrum we headed for Bridge of Orchy and onto to Rannoch Moor. One of the significant viewpoints en-route to Bridge of Orchy are the horseshoe curves and viaducts on the West Highland Railway as it goes from the side of Ben Odhar to side of Ben Dorain. Again the weather put paid to taking any pictures.

Rannoch Moor

Rannoch Moor

After Bridge of Orchy, the railway and road take differing routes acros Rannoch Moor. A break in the rain allowed for a stop to take a few pictures. The surface under foot was wet, and the vegetation was green which made up for the grey sky.

An Overcast Glencoe

An Overcast Glencoe

Leaving Rannoch Moor took us into Glencoe. Whilst still in the higher areas the weather started to clear, so another stop. Looking back the rain on Rannoch Moor could be seen. Looking east toward the Pass of Glencoe clear skies could be seen.

Waterfall in the Pass of Glencoe

Waterfall in the Pass of Glencoe

In the Pass of Glencoe the road and River Coe squeeze through the gorge. Below the Three Sisters (Aonach Dubh, Gearr Aonach, and Beinn Fhada) are a series of waterfalls. The road continues down to sea level at Glencoe village, were a visit to the National Trust for Scotland visitor centre was made for lunch.

Reaching Loch Leven, the road continues along the south shore through Ballachulish and South Ballachulish before cross the entrance to the Loch Leven, via the Ballachulish Bridge. Prior to 1975, there was a ferry here, and the road took a 26 mile detour round Loch Leven. The weather closed in again as we headed up the east shore of Loch Linnhe to Fort William.

Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge

Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge

North of Fort William, the road to Kingussie heads east at Spean Bridge. Heading out of Spean Bridge to Inverness the Commando Memorial came into view, with another short break in the weather.

With the rain setting in, the journey to Inverness passed Loch Lochy and Loch Oich, crossing the Caledonian Canal three times before reaching the west shore of Loch Ness. After refuelling at Inverness and getting Tea and Coffee at the nearby Costa Coffee, the journey west started by traversing the Kessock Bridge on the A9. About halfway to Ullapool, the road travels along the south shore of Loch Glascarnoch, which showed the lack of rain in recent months by the water level being quite low.

Reaching the south east end of Loch Broom, each turn of the road took us closer to Ullapool, and the weather got better.

Welcome to Ullapool

Welcome to Ullapool

Ullapool from the east

Ullapool from the east

Approaching Ullapool, the village was sighted from the road above the village. The village is located on a headland protruding into Loch Broom from the north shore. The harbour is situated to the south east of the village.

Memorial clock to Sir Arthur Fowler

Memorial clock to Sir Arthur Fowler

In the village above the harbour a clock is erected. On one side of the base the inscription is:

This clock was erected by Sir Arthur Fowler’s friends in remembrance of his unfailing devotion to interests and welfare of the people of Loch Broom.

The other three sides are further inscriptions.

Later in the evening, the MV Isle of Lewis arrived (40 minutes late) with the late evening sailing from Stornoway, returned around 30 minutes later on its return trip, to arrive in the early hours of Thursday morning.

  • More pictures from Day 1 of the Hebridean Hopscotch holiday
  • Author: Stewart

    An instrumentation engineer who enjoys photography and singing. Working in the West of Scotland; a member of St Mary's Cathedral Glasgow and Southwark Cathedral; and a volunteer guard/signalman on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

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