Remote Street Life

Up in the more remote parts of Highland Scotland, there are breathtaking roads which wind their way through steep glens and over mountain passes, with just a thin strip of Tarmac. These single track roads can offer thrilling driving experiences rolling for miles with no traffic lights, stop junctions or changing speed limits, no roundabouts or pedestrians, just you and the hills. This particular one track road twists and turns over the Bealach na Ba, the Pass of the Cattle, and it rises from sea level to 2053ft in just five hair raising minutes. Clinging to the side of the steep cliffs it eventually takes on hairpin bends, and remember that if you meet someone coming in the other direction one of you has to reverse to the nearest passing place. You can’t drive this road in auto-pilot and the adrenaline will keep you wide awake living every minute, feeling every bump and curve.

There is so much going on between the twisting turns and the steep incline that it’s hard to take in much else, but the crumbling mountains and the wildlife all call for attention too. This a street full of action, but so far removed from city driving that it’s like learning a whole new set of rules.






About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home on the shores of Loch Ness deep in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, my son and a couple of dogs. I love art which is here now and gone food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist and Cancer Support Specialist in Maggies Highlands
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27 Responses to Remote Street Life

  1. Lynne Ayers says:

    Stunning! We’re hoping to do some driving in Scotland next year, but I doubt if I can get brother-in-law, who does the driving, to take this on …. well, maybe.

    • It’s a stunning drive, but it’s one of the only roads in Britain with a warning “not suitable for learner drivers” !!
      Now that my cars have bigger engines I find it less scary than the first few times driving it in the tiny wee car I had back in the day 🙂

  2. Your blog breaths of peace & nature & I’m looking forward to following 🙂

  3. Leya says:

    And…this is my kind of road, my street life. Being able to see, listen and appreciate it…too many people are loosing it.

  4. Leya says:

    Wonderful! Lovely photos and stunning icicles!

  5. Amazing images, Seonaid. Love those icicles and the frozen waterfall.

  6. poppytump says:

    What a great adventurous drive in stunning scenery Seonaid .. I just had to google it … With good weather I’d be there like a shot .
    Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful few days 🙂

  7. Suzanne says:

    How wonderful to know there are still parts of Scotland that are still so wild and free. Absolutely stunning photography too.

  8. wisejourney says:

    love the deer

  9. LB says:

    I’d like to ride that road 🙂

  10. StillWalks says:

    Someday I will get there – prompted by your post. Thanks 🙂

  11. Mike Howe says:

    My favourite road in the world Seonaid, the final drama on our long, long journey from S Wales to Ardban, near Applecross. Your photos are wonderful thank you 🙂

  12. Deena Kakaya says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, incredible to know that I could drive to and through a place as beautiful as this x

  13. GeoKs says:

    Great post and the mix of photos – landscape, weeping wall of ice, an ice climber and local wildlife – is stellar. Thanks for posting.

  14. Beautiful. Your story about traveling the Bealach na Ba reminds me of a similar trip on the eve of my daughter’s wedding in Switzerland. My soon-to-be son-in-law said he wanted to take us all ‘up a mountain’ for a picnic. That sounded good to everyone in the wedding party, so we all bundled into a van of sorts and off we went. To make a long story short … we drove, for what seemed like an hour, up the steepest single lane mountain road I’d ever seen. And it was STEEP, I mean STEEP! Imagine meeting someone coming down the road as you are traveling up! What do you do in a standard transmission? You can’t backup so you have to slowly pull to the right to left the car pass on your left … the only difficulty was THERE WERE NO GUARD RAILS. I truly thought I was gonna die. Joanna was OK … but the soon-to-be-married daughter and I were both a mess! I didn’t know whether to pee in my pants or cry … I did neither but feel I aged at least 10 years in that hour. Going down wasn’t great … but lots easier than going up (at least we were able to hug the mountain). My blood pressure is up just thinking about it. D PS: Beautiful photos of incredible scenery. And extra credit for the remarkable pan shot of the deer.

  15. dadirri7 says:

    breathtaking, such stunning mountain scenery!

  16. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Ahh this is just like a drive I did in Sicily last year!

  17. Great post as always Seonaid. While reading wondered if anyone has ever done a video going down this road (like those you see for roller-coaster rides)? The way you described it, it would be just as scary.

  18. One of my favourite Scottish roads – mysterious, changeable/dangerous, dramatic, ultra-scenic. And of course, you have captured it beautifully. Amazing shot of the deer!

  19. Rachael Charmley says:

    The best sort of roads! Beautiful photos too. Do you know the road to the Summer Isles- Altandhu, Achilitibuie, etc ? A real switchback, and utterly breathtaking.

  20. Brenda says:

    Wow, how remote!

  21. alienorajt says:

    Breath-takingly beautiful and moving.

  22. Mjollnir says:

    Stunning 😀

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