See and Do
You won’t be at a loss for things to see and do around Applecross and this page lists some of the owners' family favourites.
Applecross derives its name from the Gaelic 'A'Chomraich' meaning sanctuary. To this day, Applecross continues to provide sanctuary for those wishing to switch off from the pressures of modern life and relax in the beauty and tranquility of the area. There is something for everybody whatever your interests and the peninsula is rich in culture and history and wildlife abounds.
Special mention must be made of the 'Thatched House' at Lonbain - our next door 'neighbour'. Although often referred to as the "Black House', this nomenclature is not strictly accurate. It was occupied until 1987 and has remained uninhabited since then. It has been recently acquired by the National Trust for Scotland who have plans for its restoration when funds permit.
Out and About
There are several delightful beaches within easy reach of Tigh Ruaraidh. Probably the best known is Sand. Featured in the popular 2009 BBC series “Monty Halls’ Great Escape”, it is just three miles south of the house. A recent archaeological dig by Edinburgh University uncovered evidence of human habitation at a rock shelter by Sand dating back to the Mesolithic period 8,000 years ago.
Three miles to the north and 400m from the road is a secluded beach at Cuaig. It is reached by a path running alongside the river and is best visited at low tide. It is known in the family as the ‘stepping stone beach’ for reasons which are obvious when you get there!
The coral beach at Ard Ban, five miles to the south of Applecross itself, is well worth a visit if only for the pretty walk along a rough track to reach it. You can always combine that with a visit to Coillieghillie, a small settlement abandoned in the 1930s. Both have glorious views across the Inner Sound to Raasay and the Cuillins of Skye. Otters are frequently seen here.
You are completely spoilt for choice. Be it gentle woodland strolls through the Applecross Estate, bracing coastal cliff path walks or exploring the magnificent Torridon peaks, there is something for everyone whatever your level of fitness.
Until around 1976 Lonbain was only accessible on foot or by sea. The coast path between Applecross and Shieldaig is still walkable in places, most notably between Applecross and Sand. This stretch affords magnificent views across Applecross Bay and the Inner Sound. The original path has been replaced by the coastal road from Shieldaig but can still be followed in many places.
Detailed Ordnance Survey maps of the area are available in the house together with a list of local walks.
The Walled Garden in the grounds of Applecross House is a must for those interested in gardening. It was completely overgrown and restoration has taken place over recent years and is an on-going project.
Further afield, on the south side of Lochcarron, are Attadale Gardens which are particularly worth visiting. There is an interesting number of sculptures in the gardens - a favourite being a bronze of a panther.
About fifty miles north of Applecross, The National Trust for Scotland’s famous garden at Inverewe is an easy day out from the house passing through the magnificent and stunning scenery of Torridon and Gairloch.
Based in Applecross, Sea Kayaking, Mountain and Sea Guides run all year round adventure activities in the area.
In Torridon another company, Torridon Activities, run similar courses which also include archery, clay pigeon shooting and other forms of outdoor pursuits.
If you wish to explore the area from the luxury and comfort of a boat, we can fully recommend Torridon Sea Tours. Based in Shieldaig and run by a father and daughter team, Kenny and Gemma are delightful and generous hosts and are extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife and geology of the area. They run full day trips out to Rona (weather permitting) or half day or evening trips around Loch Torridon. Special charters can also be arranged.
For interesting days out, we can recommend visiting Plockton, Eilean Donan Castle and Isle of Skye to the south (all within about 1.5 hours’ drive). The Isle of Raasay is also worth a visit and can be reached by car ferry from Sconser on Skye.
Applecross is fortunate in that it has two exceptional places to eat at and both are highly recommended.
The nationally acclaimed Applecross Inn is famous for its fresh seafood - locally caught lobster, prawns, crab and squat lobster (not at all like lobster - more a smaller, sweeter prawn). People come great distances for the fish and chips. Local venison makes a regular appearance on the menu.
The Potting Shed in the Walled Garden has gained an enviable reputation for the outstanding quality of their ingredients. Most of the salads, herbs and vegetables are grown in the walled garden. Again, fresh local seafood makes a regular appearance on the menu. Indeed when lobster is available it has more than likely been caught in the sea right outside Tigh Ruaraidh’s kitchen window that morning!
There are many lochs on the Applecross Peninsula where brown trout can be fished. Sadly, there has a been a decline in sea-trout and salmon fishing in recent years, so presently there is no fishing on the Applecross River. If you wish to fish for salmon, you can do this over on the River Carron on the Attadale Estate.
The nearest golf course is a delightful 9-hole course at Lochcarron. Further afield, Gairloch also has a spectacular 9-hole coastal course. Strathpeffer is the nearest 18-hole course most suited in parts to mountain goats, but buggies are available for hire!
Applecross Village Shop & Post Office is at Camusteil, nine miles south from the house. Run by Ali and Seonag Brown, it is a veritable Aladdin’s cave. Ali will do his best to get you anything you might need. There is a very well stocked Spar shop in Lochcarron (24 miles). Shieldaig (17 miles) also has a small village store.
A travelling butcher from Gairloch visits once a week and orders can be taken.
Smoked salmon, langoustines, crab and lobster (when available) plus other smoked fish and some cheeses, are available at the Applecross Smokehouse ten miles north of the house. Run by Derrick and Lorna MacIver, we think their smoked salmon is some of the best we have ever tasted.
Petrol and diesel is available 24/7 from a community-owned filling station in Applecross - payment by debit card only. Fuel is also available at Lochcarron (24 miles - also 24/7 card payments) and Kinlochewe (35 miles, restricted opening).
The doctor's surgery is two miles south of Applecross village - nine miles from the house.
Where to find more information
The excellent Visit Highlands, Walk Highlands and Applecross websites provide useful information on what is available both locally and further afield. The Applecross Heritage Centre website is a must for more detailed and interesting information about the history and culture of the area.