LandscapeScotlandScottish Highlands

Photographs of Applecross


Applecross is a wing-shaped peninsula on the west coast of Scotland lying between Loch Torridon to the north and Loch Carron to the south. The Inner Hebridean islands of Raasay and Skye lie off its western coast. With the Covid-19 lockdown easing in late summer 2020 I had the chance to stay there for a week and make some photographs of Applecross.

Romantic and Remote

I have only made one or two brief visits to Applecross previously. So I haven’t had much time to really explore or enjoy promising conditions. Something about it – its rather romantic name and its remoteness – had always kept it in mind as a place to uncover in detail.

Torridon from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP036
Torridon from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP036
Raasay, Rona and Skye from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP003
Raasay, Rona and Skye from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP003

The Sanctuary of Maelrubha

About that name. In all probability, the name is an Anglicised corruption of Aporcrosan, referring to the River Crossan (Abhainn Crosain) that flows into Applecross Bay. The gaelic name for the peninsula is A’ Chomraich, meaning ‘The Sanctuary’. This name relates to the monastery founded by St Maelrubha in the 7th century.

Applecross images through the day

In September, the geography of the Applecross peninsula is such that sunrise can be photographed from the south-east side as the sun comes up from the end of Upper Loch Torridon. This silhouettes the majestic mountains that surround the sea-loch. At the other end of the day the sun sets behind the Isle of Skye across the Inner Sound between Applecross and Raasay. These all make ideal ingredients of the recipe for great photographs of Applecross!

Sunrise over Upper Loch Torridon from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP007
Sunrise over Upper Loch Torridon from Applecross, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP007
Sunset over Applecross and Loch Torridon, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP039
Sunset over Applecross and Loch Torridon, Wester Ross, Scotland. AP039

Ardban, Coille Ghillidh and the Coral Beaches

A highlight of our stay was a delightful and fascinating walk from the coastal hamlet of Ard Dubh towards the south end of the Applecross peninsula. There is an ancient track paved with stone that leads across moor and along tree and bracken-lined rocky sea inlets to the mainly abandoned crofting settlements of Ardban and Coille Ghillidh. These two places are remarkable both for their stunning views across the Inner Sound to the islands of Scalpay, Raasay and Skye, and for the fine maerl sand on their beaches. Often erroneously referred to as ‘coral sand’, the white particles are in fact calcified algae washed in from offshore beds.

To enjoy a relaxed walk but still add to my collection of Applecross images, I left my big, heavy Canon MkIV and tripod behind and took my Olympus E-M5. This (relatively) little camera has a standard ISO of 200 and amazing 5-stop stabilisation. So I was even able to take some pretty satisfactory dusk photographs on the way back.

Abandoned croft houses at Coille Ghillidh, Applecross, Scotland. AP025
Abandoned croft houses at Coille Ghillidh, Applecross, Scotland. AP025
Seaweed and calcified maerl on the beach at Ardban, Applecross, Scotland. AP023
Seaweed and calcified maerl on the beach at Ardban, Applecross, Scotland. AP023

More Applecross images

You can find more of my Applecross photos in my Applecross Gallery.

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