Torridon, Scotland

I didn’t think we could top our day yesterday, in terms of scenery and entertainment but we did. This time we went north to Torridon, a remote village in the Western Highlands. Much of the road there was single track and we saw very few other vehicles. It’s hard to believe we are on the same island with another 64 million people. Most of them must be crammed into the south east of the country because it’s very sparsely populated up here.

There aren’t nearly as many tourists in Torridon as there were in the Isle of Skye and this is one reason why I liked it more. The other reason is the scenery is spectacular. I didn’t think it could trump Skye for breathtaking landscapes but in my view it does.

The road there goes past the notorious Bealach na Bà road which is supposedly one of the world’s most dangerous roads. I was too chicken to try it because the tyres on our car-club car are looking bald and there’s also likely to be ice up there at this time of year. We’ll come back in summer. There’s a warning sign at the start of the road:


We continued onto Torridon and were not disappointed with what we saw out the car window. It reminded me a bit of Central Otago in New Zealand.



There are lots of sheep by the roadside.





We stopped at the Torridon Inn where we had lunch and fed some Highland Cows! Highland Cows are one of my favourite animals, right behind red squirrels, so this was absolutely delightful. The kids liked it too. I never knew Highland Cows ate carrots.




The fence is electric which is why we have our arms as high as possible.



Inside the Inn they have more than 300 whiskies to choose from.


You can also stay there overnight. If you’re looking for something really luxurious then The Torridon Hotel is right next door.

Just behind the Inn and Hotel is Beinn Damh, a mountain of about 980m. We didn’t walk the whole way, just to the tree line for the wonderful views. It’s a very good track, initially through forest, that follows a gorge with a stream at the bottom and part-way up there’s a waterfall.


You can just make out the waterfall between the trees in this next photo.


As you get higher you start to see more of the view.






When I was 15 I competed in high jump and came 8th in Queensland. I must still have some of it left in me.




It was gloriously quiet and we met only one other group of people on our walk. I almost don’t want to blog about how much I loved Torridon and the walk up Beinn Damh to preserve the remoteness of it. If it ever becomes full of tourists then it will lose much of its charm.

Here’s upper Loch Torridon from the ground.



We also stopped at Shieldaig which is a very cute fishing village a few miles from Torridon. It’s on Loch Shieldaig where they fish for prawns using traditional methods only. Industrial-scale fishing, like bottom trawling, is often harmful to the environment. In bottom trawling they drag huge nets across the sea floor, picking up everything along the way. I once heard David Attenborough describe it like dragging a huge net across the countryside and picking up not only the cows and pigs but also the trees, shrubs, fences, and farmhouse all at the same time. It should be banned and I’m happy to say it is in Shieldaig. Instead they use traditional baskets called creels.





I found what looks like an oyster but I left it there. It was still inhabited.


It was a superb day.

9 responses to “Torridon, Scotland”

  1. Do you find it very different from the East coast? It looks very different and I was struck by your comparison with New Zealand – I didn’t know that there was anywhere comparable in the UK.

    • It is more rugged and dramatic. The mountains seem higher and more jagged. The mountains on the east are more rounded and weathered. There seem to be more lochs here but I’m not sure if that’s just my imagination or not.

  2. Sounds like it was far from torrid on Torridon! Skye in Winter has its charms. My brother was staying in an upstairs flat in a place near Portree, with a pretty dodgy landlord, although it was quite neat that when I took a walk near the beach where a baby otter would swim alongside me! The Quirag was also a very scenic spot.

  3. […] When I was between jobs in April we went for a family holiday to the west coast of Scotland and this will forever stand out in my memory as one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. The beauty of the west coast and the peace, as well as my wonderful and adventurous family were all the ingredients we needed for a terrific holiday. It was freezing at the top here in this next photo but so worth the walk. […]

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