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NORTHERN EXPOSURE Te road then falls down to the lochside past


Ardessie falls to Dundonnell, then winds its way up the gorge to the Destitution Road over the wild ‘Fain’ and past the Fannich mountains, before dropping once more to Braemore Junction. You can still see large remnants of the old ‘Destitution Road’, which originally gained its name from the fact that it was built during a period of hunger and hardship in the area during the 1800s. Tese roads were a method of providing employment and support to the region during troubled times, and simultaneously created links between communities that still survive today in the form of our modern road system. Just before you reach Braemore Junction, look out for


the car park on your left and Corrieshalloch Gorge. It is well worth a stop to take a walk down and across the 200ft deep gorge.


TURNING


left towards Ullapool from Braemore


Junction, the wide sweeping road takes you down a steep hill. At the bottom of this you pass Braemore Square, a grand looking house designed by John Fowler, who was responsible for one of the wonders of the Victorian World – the Forth Railway Bridge. Further along is Lael Forest, which has several stopping places on the right hand side of the road, giving access to some excellent forest walks. Just past this, the road opens up, with views all the


Green tourism Gold award winners, yellow label enthusiasts and RSPB winter volunteers Tom and Debbie Maskill return to Ullapool (open April to October) for a fifth season.


MEET OUR STAFF Tom &


Debbie ULLAPOOL HOSTEL


way up Loch Broom towards Ullapool, a collection of whitewashed buildings and a busy fishing town, with a ferry terminal where you can take a four-hour ferry trip across the Minch to Stornoway (on the Isle of Lewis), or a much shorter trip to see the bird and sea life by the Summer Isles. By the standards of the area, the town also has plenty of shops and an excellent museum. Ullapool also has several cultural events happening each year, such as the Guitar Festival, Book Festival, and ‘Te best little Fest in the West’ - the annual ‘Loopallu’ Music Festival, which takes place at the end of September. Here we pause for the night at Ullapool Youth Hostel, situated on the edge of the loch, and sample the welcoming pubs and restaurants. Leaving Ullapool behind, the only way to go from


here is north towards Achiltibuie and Ledmore Junction. All along the road towards Ledmore, there are spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, including Stac Pollaidh,Cul Mor, and Cul Beag. Only a few miles or so up the road towards Ledmore, you come to Knockan Crag. Tis is a world-famous site for geology (the science and understanding of modern day geology was actually started here), and there is a superb interactive visitor centre here, which explains - in terms that are understandable to everybody – all about plate tectonics and movements of land masses around the planet. After a short drive, the turn off to Achiltibuie and Achininver appears, and this takes you on a dramatic 15 miles of single-track


CATCH SOME WESTER ROSS WILDLIFE


Cameras at the ready for a nature treat


Wildlife: Te Scots Pine can be found in various locations throughout the world. Loch Maree is one of the few areas in Scotland where small pockets of the pure genetic strain can be found. Tis particular variety is believed to date back 8,000 years to the end of the last Ice Age. Te White-tailed Eagle or Sea Eagle has recently been reintroduced into the area from northern Norway after an absence of many years. Marine life: Te Minch (between the Outer Isles and mainland) has the most diverse and numerous range of cetaceans to be found anywhere around mainland Britain. Te North Atlantic Drift (a continuation of the Gulf Stream) warms the sea and provides good breeding conditions for marine life.


28 SCOTTISH HOSTELLER 2012


Ring ousel Red-throated diver Black-throated diver Great northern diver Guillemot


Black guillemot Razorbill Puffin


Goosander Ptarmigan Red grouse Black grouse


Crossbill Hoody crow Raven


Golden eagle White-tailed eagle Buzzard Merlin Kestrel Peregrine falcon Sparrow hawk Spotted


woodpecker


Minke whale Killer whale (Orca) Harbour porpoise Common dolphin Common seal Grey seal Otter


Mountain hare Wild cat Pine marten Red deer Roe deer


Wildcat, golden eagle and pine marten image courtesy of Peter Cairns/northshots.com


Look out for these wild things


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