After several very windy days it was great to wake up to a quiet, still morning and not to be forecast with the thunderstorms some of the rest of the UK will experience. We left Ullapool on the A835 which passes down the side of Loch Broom.
The original road was built in 1846 following the potato famine by 47 starving Highlanders who worked eight hours a day, six days a week to build what was known as one of the destitution roads: from Gairloch to Ullapool. It was funded by Dowager Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch. They received only 680g of oatmeal a day. Today the A832 follows the destitution road and occasionally small parts of the old road are visible parallel to the current road and we saw one old bridge alongside the more modern one. It has been said that the evicted crofters were forced to use stone for the homes they had been evicted from to build the road.
After Braemore and the end of the loch, the road follows the River Broom in Strathmore. At the junction we turned onto the A832 where some major building work was underway which looked like it might be a visitor centre for Corrieshalloch Gorge. We stopped at the gorge and looked at the view towards Loch Broom.
The Falls of Measach and the gorge had much less water in them than on a previous visit many years ago.
Continuing through the moorland we passed a hydroelectric scheme, crossed Fain Bridge and then descended into Dundonnell where a path takes you to the summit of An Teallach. The road then runs alongside Little Loch Broom
several small hamlets and a sea farm. At Mungasdale Bay we stopped for a beach walk. Before entering Gruinard, the road crosses the Little Gruinard River which runs down to the bay. Gruinard Island belongs to the Gruinard Estate and lies two miles offshore.
In the early years of the 2nd World War, it was used as a testing ground for anthrax. Eventually in 1987 it was sprayed with formaldehyde and in 1990 was given the all-clear. In 2002 two sea eagles were seen perching on the island. The island remains uninhabited and in March 2022, there was a fire on it. We stopped at the large beach at the eastern side of the bay
Before continuing on to Laide where our campsite was situated. We were too early to check in so took the minor road up the side of Rubha Mor to Mellon Udrigle which has a fantastic beach.
There were quite a few dead jellyfish on the sand
and one interesting corroded item.
Eventually we checked in to the site at Sand in Laide which has wonderful views.
There is a ruined chapel at Sand with a surrounding graveyard. The tradition states that it was built in the 7th century by Columba or one of his followers. It was in use until the 18th century.
The burn that runs alongside it into the sea has huge amounts of garden-escape crocosmia on the banks.
Showers appeared in the early afternoon but I did manage a short beach walk in between them.