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In this particularly rugged area of the western Highlands, red sandstone peaks rise above a landscape of moors and hundreds of lochs. Several nature reserves protect the area's wildlife and terrain. Traditional ways of life are retained in the crofting and fishing villages that lie along the shores of the sea lochs. Warm currents of the North Atlantic Drift allow exotic plants to flourish. It would be impossible to see all of Wester Ross on a short tour of Scotland. This area though is one of my favorite parts of Scotland, and I always drive through as much as I can.
Achiltibue Boat trips around Summer Isles available from here. Hydroponicum, experimental garden without soil, open to visitors. Smokehouse by the sea has a viewing gallery for watching fish curing.
Applecross St Maelrubha built a monastery on this bay in AD 672, declaring it a sanctuary for all fugitives. Until new road was built in 1970s, one of the most inaccessible areas of mainland Britain.
Ardvreck Castle Three-storey tower ruin on shore of Loch Assynt, built 1597 for MacLeods of Assynt. Marquis of Montrose fled here but was betrayed by Neil MacLeod and taken to Edinburgh for execution.
Bealach na Ba This 'Pass of the Cattle', an old drovers' road, was only road to Applecross until 1970s. It leads from Loch Kishorn through ascending hairpin bends and skirts steep precipices on its way.
Corrieshalloch Gorge Suspension bridge spans gorge 200ft above river. River runs a mile down rocky chasm to plunge over 150ft Falls of Measach.
Diabaig Cottages of Lower Diabaig group around Loch Diabaig, rocky cliffs rise straight up from shore. Exhilarating road along northern side of Upper Loch Torridon.
Dundonnell Village at south-east end of Little Loch Broom is the ideal starting point for exploring remote mountain scenery here. Streams tumble into head of loch from heights of An Teallach, 3,484ft. Nearby is Loch Toll an Lochain, 2,000ft above sea level.
Dun Lagaid Iron Age fortress on isolated ridge along Loch Broom. Rocks vitrified when its timber walls burnt down.
Eas a Chual Aluinn Falls Glas Bheinn peak is source for 658ft falls, longest fall in Britain. Easily seen by regular boat trips on Loch Glencoul.
Enard Bay Sandy beaches backed by empty moorland and distant mountains. Narrow switchback road that skirts bay gives views.
Gairloch Village at head of Loch Gairloch has quarter mile of safe, sandy beach where windsurfing and sailing are popular. Sea-angling boats for hire.
Gruinard Bay Road along bay's western shore passes ruined chapel built where St Columba supposedly founded a church. Bay best viewed from atop Gruinard Hill.
Inchnadamph Village at head of Loch Assynt, near 3273ft Ben More Assynt. Nature reserve has wildcats, red deer and limestone caves, where prehistoric animal bones have been found. Salmon and trout fishing in loch.
Inverpolly National Nature Reserve Over 26,000 acres of bog, moorland and woodland with sandstone peaks of Cul Mor, Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh. Loch Sionascaig has good fishing. Information centre and carpark in Knockan.
Kinlochewe Town at Loch Maree is popular centre for walkers, climbers and anglers. Area dominated by Slioch, 'the spear', 3217ft.
Loch Carron Sea loch dotted with islands. Strome Castle, overlooking loch, blown up during 1603 clan feud. Nearby town of Lochcarron known for its ties and tartans.
Loch Ewe Broad sea loch where ships assembled fur North Atlantic convoys during World War II. A number of pillboxes and gun emplacements still survive. Loch fishing, sea-angling boats for hire.
Lochinver Whitewashed fishing village at head of Loch Inver. Suilven, 2399ft high, stands in Glencanisp Forest 4 miles south-east.
Loch Maree Loch with many islands set amid mountainous terrain. Isle Maree was thought to be home to Celtic god Mourie. Later, St Maelrubha established hermitage there, eventually replaced by chapel. Slioch peak at south-eastern end.
Oykel Bridge River Oykel flows down slopes of Ben More Assynt and through ice-gouged valley to Oykel Bridge. Single hotel stands by road nearby. Bridge just east of waterfall.
Poolewe Village lies between Loch Ewe and Loch Maree. River Ewe, joining lochs, flows through village. Boats for hire, walks along Loch Maree's wooded banks, loch and river fishing.
Rubha Reidh Peninsula ending in headland of Rubha Reidh extends north from Gairloch into the Minch. Ocean views from lighthouse at tip of promontory. Road over moors to Melvaig passes ruined cottages.
Shieldaig Village founded by Admiralty in 1800 when Britain was short of seamen. Intended as 'nursery' for Royal Navy, grants were offered to entice people to live there. Roads from village provide views of Highlands.
Stoer Crofting, fishing villages line each side of peninsula. Safe white sands at Achmelvich Bay and Bay of Clachioll. Road along peninsula ends at lighthouse on sandstone cliff. Walk to Point of Stoer along cliffs with nesting birds.
Strathcarron A890 leads along Loch Carron, up steep grades and down into South Strome Forest. Viewpoint over loch and Stromeferry near forest. Forest walk from Stromeferry to lochside viewpoints.
Summer Isles Islands were once lived on by fishermen, but herring shoals diminished, leaving just one isle currently inhabited. They can be visited by boat from Ullapool or from Achiltibuie.
Torridon Torridon, owned by National Trust for Scotland, has visitor centre giving introduction to walks through area of red-sandstone peaks. Wildlife from red deer to pygmy shrew.
Upper Loch Torridon Small crofting hamlets dot sea loch's shore. Waters from Loch Damh to south drop down to Upper Loch Torridon through Falls of Balgy.
Victoria Falls Waterfall near Slattadale on Loch Maree. Named after visit to loch by Queen Victoria in 1877.