At a height just over 2,000ft and with its hairpin bends, the road to Applecross in Scotland may be considered one of the scariest in the country.
The route takes you into the clouds then drops down to the village from where there are spectacular views of the Isle of Skye and Isle of Raasay.
A single track road, Bealach na Ba is frequently impassable in winter with its summit often shrouded in cloud and mist, although on a clear day the views from the top are “incredible”, Visit Scotland says.
Part of a peninsula of the same name, Applecross creates an impression of being on the edge of the world, according to Visit Scotland.
It is believed to be one of the earliest settled parts of Scotland, but Applecross itself is actually a collection of villages, stretching from Toscaig in the south to Ardishlaig in the north. However, a picture-perfect row of whitewashed cottages in Shore Street, which overlooks Applecross Bay, is often referred to as Applecross.
The Visit Applecross website describes Applecross as a gem of the Western Highlands which offers visitors “true peace and tranquility”.
It also has an abundance of scenery and wildlife among the area’s coastal habitats, woodland, moorland and mountains.
Applecross has a population of about 200, according to the area’s website, with an economy dominated by tourism, but which still thrives on fishing, construction and crofting.
The first settlers, nomadic hunter-gatherers, made their home under the overhanging rock face at Sand 9,000 years ago as the ice sheets retreated.
Archaeologists discovered signs of the settlement while researching in the Applecross area.
Applecross also has an historic connection to the Earl, or Mormaer, of Ross, who helped defeat the Lord of the Isles and paved the way for Scotland’s unification.
The place has a timeless quality with its centuries-old buildings and lack of modern developments, according to Visit Applecross.
Applecross today offers a range of activities and eateries from Applecross Inn, which is famed for its seafood, The Walled Garden, Kishorn Snack Bar, Shieldaig bar and Coastal Kitchen and Waterside Cafe. Applecross Smokehouse can also be found at Kenmore on the North Coast 500 route.
The Bealach na Ba road is also recommended as a challenging route for cyclists and is noted for its climb to a pass between Sgurr a’ Chaorachain and Meall Gorm.
Approaching the summit, there are three hairpin bends offering cyclists a final climb and “the nearest thing to a Tour de France mountain stage” in Britain, according to Visit Applecross.
The Lochcarron Highland Games are held in Wester Ross, featuring events such as tossing the caber, shot put and hammer.
Applecross Duathalon is a locally run event which takes place over “some of the most remarkable scenery”.
The course covers nine miles on foot followed by a 15 mile bicycle race involving a 3,300 feet ascent and descent.
Visitors can choose from staying at Applecross’s campsite or from one of the caravans in the area.
Besides the Bealach na Ba road, there is a winding coast road from Shielding to the north on Loch Torridon which offers an alternative route to Applecross.
For more details about the area head to visitapplecross.com.