Arguably the toughest 45 mile circuit you could find in the UK, this route crosses the 2056 foot high Bealach Na Ba to Applecross. However, the wonderful views are ample reward for the amount of effort required.
This 45 mile circuit includes a crossing of the classic Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) to Applecross. It follows the route of the the “Bealach Beag cycle sportive, sister route to the classic “Bealach Mor”. Considering the moderate distance it’s probably the hardest route of it’s length in the country. The highlight is the crossing of the 2056 foot high Bealach na Ba which gives superb views back towards Loch Kishorn and onwards towards the islands of Skye and Raasay. Beware, the climbs aren’t limited to the stretch over the Bealach - the coast road also provides some surprisingly tough little climbs.
Start from the picturesque village of Shieldaig and follow the A896 south towards Kishorn. A fairly steady climb is followed by a descent before a right turn leads across the bridge at the head of Loch Kishorn. Shortly afterwards the climbing starts, finishing 7 miles later up a set of hairpin bends. A similar length of descent then follows into the village of Applecross. A right turn at the foot of the hill leads to a fairly straightforward section round Applecross bay and northwards up the coast. However the hard work isn’t over as the road becomes increasingly hilly near the north end of the peninsula and there are numerous ups and downs all the way back to Shieldaig.