Skip to main content
Spirit Logo
Bealach na Bà, Wester Ross (Credit: Airborne Lens)
Home / Discover / Stories / Stand Off on the Bealach na Bà

Stand Off on the Bealach na Bà

By Marg Greenwood

Bealach na Bà Road Sign, Ross-shire
Image provided by Marg Greenwood
Applecross, Ross-shire
Image provided by Marg Greenwood

The Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle) is a single track road you can take, from near Lochcarron, to the Applecross peninsula, by car or bicycle. It rises in zig-zag fashion up to 2000 feet above sea-level, with gradients as steep as 20%. Not for the faint-hearted, as the sign warns you. I've driven up twice, but the first time I came back via the much longer coastal road via Shieldaig.

This eiderdown of fog
where trucks
make three-point turns
on hair-pin corners,
a campervan with protruding ears
and a following of four cars
bears down on me
on a half-hearted passing place.

Ghosts of cattle
and burly drovers
in heavy cloud
into the watershed void.

Mrs Van stays put, scorn-stares
at my clumsy manoeuvres.
My left wheels hover
over the high tarmac curb,
a bearded brute behind me
obstructs any reverse plans.

Spectres of treeless trees,
flightless eagles,
rockless rocks,

all the way
down to Applecross.