If the north-west coastline of Scotland could be guaranteed good weather we’d have probably ruined the place by building holiday homes and condos galore but, thanks to those fierce prevailing weather fronts that come straight in off the Atlantic, coupled with the annual midge invasion, its golden beaches remain wild and beautiful and often deserted.
But if you’re lucky enough to be up there before the midge season starts and when the sun is shining – and it is always more luck than planning – the Scottish Highlands and Islands surely have to be one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.
Last week I worked as a tour guide for Pedal Nation Cycling Holidays on one of their North Coast 500 trips. We were incredibly fortunate to have a rare easterly wind all week, keeping the rain away and the sun shining for the majority of the holiday.
The holiday ran for nine days with seven days of cycling. I accompanied the riders on three of those days and drove the support vehicle for the rest. The group got on well together, were great company and helped to make my job an easy one.
This gave me the opportunity to take lots of photographs of the landscape looking its best so, rather than writing a day-to-day account of our week, I’m going to let the photographs tell the story…
Day One – Inverness to Lochcarron: 103 km
Day Two – Lochcarron to Gairloch via Bealach Na Ba: 127 km
Day Three – Gairloch to Ullapool: 90 km
Day Four – Ullapool to Kinlochbervie: 129km
Day Five – Kinlochbervie to Melvich: 115 km
Day Six – Melvich to Altnaharra: 131 km
Day Seven – Altnaharra to Inverness: 113 km