Applecross Inn, Wester Ross, Scotland
The further north you travel in Scotland, the wilder and more dramatic the scenery becomes. One of the best ways to experience it is to drive or ride the Bealach nam Bo, a breathtaking series of hairpin bends with spectacular views across the sparkling sea to the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides beyond, and the other little islands peppered about. It’s the highest mountain pass in the UK, and there’s no better place to stop for refreshments afterwards than at the Applecross Inn, a charming black and white building right on the shoreline.
The pub/bistro/restaurant is a lively place, and a huge draw for visitors to this part of the world all year long. There’s a warm welcome from the staff, and I was won over when on ordering a glass of white wine I was asked if I wanted “ordinary, or small”. The drinks list isn’t extensive, but does have a range of malt whiskies, complete with a helpful description to assist customers in making their choice.
The menu relies heavily on local seafood, and is all the better for that. I opted for a seafood linguine, which contained prawns, scallops, and mussels, and was served with a dollop of crème fraiche. The rest of my group tucked into a creamy potato topped fish pie, a juicy burger, and homemade vegetable soup, served with tasty wheaten bread. The menu was written on a large blackboard beside the bustling bar, and those dishes made from local ingredients were identified with an asterisk.
The prices were very reasonable, ranging from £8-16 for the main courses, with smaller dishes and light bites such as sandwiches also available.
We all pronounced our meals delicious, and had to try very hard to resist the tempting desserts, including home-made honey and whisky ice-cream. But Inka, the black Newfie, needed a walk, and we took a pleasant stroll by the water’s edge, before setting off again to complete the other half of the mountain pass.
This is a popular spot, so be prepared to wait at peak times. But there’s plenty of interesting artwork and poems to enjoy while you do. And it’s definitely worth the trip.
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