Ferroch's well-appointed kitchen.
A couple of years ago I decided that it was daft that I had been to the mountain-backed lakes of Switzerland, Norway, Canada and New Zealand but had never yet ventured to the West Coast of Scotland. The scenery there, by all accounts, would rival any of those countries for dramatic awe-inspiring landscapes.
Those accounts are spot on. Almost every mile of the drive from Edinburgh via Glencoe to the West Coast was spectacular. One place in particular captured my heart. Even in the heavy December rain that provided the soundtrack to that road trip, Loch Torridon stood out as an amazing work of nature.
Loch Torridon is a sea loch. In fact it is actually a fjord given that it was created by glacier flow. Our visit principally took in Upper Loch Torridon which must be mainland Britain’s most inspiring setting. The loch is flanked by the mountains Beinn Alligin and Liathach whilst Glen Torridon is dominated by a third munro, Beinn Eighe. Naturally the area is hugely popular with hill-walkers and hikers, with cyclists and nature enthusiasts.
I knew I just had to go back there and see it again in weather which would hopefully not call for waterproofs. This second visit took place early in the month of May and we were extremely fortunate to be blessed with clear blue skies and warm weather for the season, ideal for walking and for being outside enjoying the full splendour of the panorama.
It’s well known that May and September are the best months for visiting the Highlands as the weather has a good chance of being clement whilst the infamous midges are less likely to be making an appearance than in the summer months. Booking accommodation well in advance is recommended and I was delighted with the one that I reserved.
Ferroch B&B and Self-Catering Accommodation is a five bedroom cottage, two of which are in a separated section of the building, perched in an elevated position above the end of Upper Loch Torridon in the tiny village of Annat. The award-winning Torridon Hotel and its accompanying Inn are a short walk away, the village shop and café in Torridon only a couple of minutes by car. The gallery of local artwork is also well worth a browse in the Torridon Community Centre. Ferroch itself enjoys unrivalled vistas down the loch from its tranquil hillside.
The rooms are spacious and welcoming, the mattress and pillows inviting after a hard day’s tramping over the surrounding hills. In the ensuite there are toiletries made with essential oils to ease those tired limbs. The right touches have been applied to ensure a comfortable stay. It’s considerately appointed without being fussy and intrusive; just the right balance for a self-catering accommodation option where guests can make themselves feel completely at home.
The occupants of the five rooms have shared access to the sitting/dining room, the kitchen and the utility room. It would be the ideal place for a couple of families to rent for a few days of exploring the majestic terrain. The walls feature maps of the region whilst the sitting room contains several books on the area (including the nearby Isle of Skye) to contemplate whilst enjoying the views down the loch through the window. And splendid views they are too from the handily placed comfy lounge chairs.
On the table in the hall there are leaflets recommending local eateries and activities. We went to nearby Shieldaig and ate at the Shieldaig Bar and Coastal Kitchen having seen the menu in Ferroch and being tempted by the lure of fresh and delicious Loch Torridon langoustines (most of which it transpires are shipped to Spain). I picked up a flyer for the Torridon Sea Tours and made a note of the option for the next time I come to stay – there’s no doubting that I will be back. Indeed, when chatting with the occupants of one of the other rooms it transpired that they come annually and it is one of those locations that has a regular clientele who come year-in, year-out.
The kitchen is well-equipped and the fridge stocked with milk, butter and eggs. I enjoyed the delicious summer fruits compote with my breakfast. Bread to toast, cereals and teas and coffees are also provided. The cupboards contain almost everything you could think of should you want to cook but remember to bring the provisions with you. As Ferroch is self-catering accommodation, all of the residents are relied upon to be considerate and clear up after themselves. One would hope that folk taking the trouble to head to such a glorious and remote spot are appreciative of their environment both out in nature and in their accommodation.
The weather was so glorious during my stay at Ferroch that I eschewed the large kitchen table and the dining table and took my breakfast out onto the lawn to enjoy the magnificent views down the loch and over to the Torridon hills. The only sound was that of local sheep munching grass and occasionally bleating. A more serene setting one would struggle to imagine. I’ve always said to myself that I would love to hire a cabin overlooking Lake Wanaka in New Zealand and sit there for a couple of months writing a novel. Well, Ferroch would probably provide me with the same level of inspiration without having to trek to the other side of the world.
Given its location, Ferroch represents terrific value for money. The only drawback is if you happen to be sharing the place – as I was – with strangers who keep different hours from you. I was kept awake by a pair of guests who arrived back noisily after 11pm and then kept up a conversation in the corridor outside my room – the sort of thing that can happen anywhere. If you have enough company of your own to fill the five bedrooms – or perhaps just the two in the private section – I cannot think of a more delightful place to make your base for a few days, unbothered by the outside world.
Ferroch – like its surrounds – is utterly enchanting.
To visit the Ferroch B&B and Self-Catering Accommodation website, click here.
The view from the lounge window of Ferroch Self Catering B&B above Upper Loch Torridon.
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