on Little Loch Broom
the area and a little history
Across the Fain - the road to Dundonnell
Facing the Isle of Skye and the Hebridean Islands, sparsely populated Wester Ross benefits from the warmth of the Gulf Stream and is overshadowed by spectacularly dramatic mountains that are sometimes snow capped. Their tumbling waters fall into sparkling clear, wonderfully aquamarine lochs and sea.
Dundonnell is a small lochside crofting community mostly on the south side of Little Loch Broom, roughly halfway between Ullapool in the north and Gairloch in the south.
Destitution Road # 5
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On the north side a small group of houses are reached by passing by lovely old Dundonnell House, previously one of the homes of the Mackenzie clan, and until several years ago delightful Alan Roger, rumoured to have been big in MI5, but known locally as a plantsman of note and bonsai expert. Now the house has been taken over by Sir Tim & Lady Rice and we look forward to the garden being restored to its former glory and once more open on occasions under Scotland's Garden Scheme - which we hear is to happen for two days this year in April and May.
The road passes by Eileen Darrach, a Victorian mansion mostly used by fishing parties during the summer months. Then as the road climbs the hill it passes the 'back entrance' of the internationally renowned Altna-harrie Inn, where Gunn Eriksson and Fred Brown used to provide food that was truly quite out of this world. The front entrance was via boat from Ullapool - the perfect retreat for stressed out gourmets. We wait to see what happens next here!
The road then falls to south facing cluster of houses, which includes camping site and hostel accommodation and the home of our district nurse. She has fourteen miles to drive before she gets to work!
As one comes down from the Fain by Destitution Road to valley bottom you come to Corriehallie where Aida runs a most successful gallery/gift shop. Apart from her own captivating personality there are many delights to be found within the wonderfully situated establishment. Brian her husband has recently started a speedboat service that works out of Ullapool providing the opportunity to have trips to the Summer Isles at an exhilarating speed.
A few miles along the road you reach the famous Dundonnell Hotel (and petrol station) that has been run by the Florence family very successfully for almost forty years, located right at the head of the loch.
A mile down the road Sail Mhor hostel provides superior facilities for those keen Monroe-baggers that visit this area. Opposite in Camusnagaul Annie Ross has been giving B & Bers a warm welcome for two decades, and now her son Richard and his wife Helena are providing very elegant accommodation in what we are calling Buck House (almost more bathrooms than the hotel) he and his Dad (well most of the Ross clan too) are the local builders, so what else!? They also have some self-catering chalets located right on the shoreline.
Daughter Ishbel Sinclair (nee Ross) has opened Maggie's Tearooms - a much needed refreshment stop and also offering interesting gifts. With patio area close to the loch - one of the few establishments for many miles around where you can eat and enjoy the sea yards away.
The sort of village centre with the local primary school currently twenty pupils and 1.5 teachers, not to mention playgroup. There is a church and newly built surgery (the Doctor comes once a week). Further along the road in Durnamuck is our Post Office and Stores, where young Andrew aims to get hold of just about anything you need. His Mama Doreen and the rest of community try to prevent him from getting too out of hand ah the young! The road finishes at Badluarach.
We have new neighbours in what we will for ever call Jack's House (or more properly - the 'house that Jack built') but named Sail Mhor View - with truly spectacular views down Little Loch Broom and this is now available for holiday lets - more info on their own website.
Over on the north side of Little Loch Broom, is the very interesting Scoraig community of some 60 people. They only have access by crossing the loch at Badluarach or by walking many miles along a track from Badralloch. Bright young things resettled Scoraig in the 60s. They have been offered a proper roadway by the Council, but we are told, have refused, preferring, we assume, to keep them to themselves. More can be learnt about their community generally on their own Website at Scoraig.com.
Dundonnell Smoked Salmon, Greenacres,