July 2, 2024

Wester Ross

It was a day to explore portions of Wester Ross, a large swath of territory outside of Inverness and controlled by the Earl of Ross.  The chiefs of the Clan Donald held the title of Lord of the Isles until 1493, and two of those chiefs also held the title of Earl of Ross until 1476.  Donald II, John’s grandson, acquired the earldom of Ross, which included not only Ross but much of Invernessshire.  This meant that the Lords of the Isles now ruled the entire Atlantic seaboard from Assent to the Mull of Kintyre, and from Lochaber to Rockall.  After his death, Donald II’s son, Alexander, assumed the title of Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross which he held until 1476.

Driving from Inverness to Lochcarron and then on to Applecross was an adventure!  Most of the roads are single track and the terrain rocky and mountainous.  It is a beautiful part of the Highlands and still sparsely populated – and not one wind turbine in site!  Red deer are plentiful and I even spotted an eagle soaring on the side of the mountain along the Applecross Pass.  The roughly 11 mile pass is a bit treacherous and there is a warning sign at its beginning. In spite of the admonition not to drive camper vans on the road through the pass, several people did so making it even more dangerous for other drivers.  For about 2 miles, at the top of the pass some 2000 feet up, the narrow road was engulfed in dense fog which made the trip even trickier.  Not sure I would make the drive again but instead go the long way along the coast road. It must be a brilliant drive when the sun is out and the views are probably indescribable.  The drive gave me a good look at the territory of Wester Ross and begs for more exploration.

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