Bealach na Bà

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Coordinates: 57°25′58″N 5°45′9″W / 57.43278°N 5.75250°W / 57.43278; -5.75250

The Bealach na Bà was the only road linking Applecross with the rest of the country until the late 20th century.

Bealach na Bà is a winding single track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula, in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. The Bealach na Bà is just one feature on this road, being its highest point and site of several corries. The historic mountain pass was built in 1822 and is engineered similarly to roads through the great mountain passes in the Alps, with very tight hairpin bends that switch back and forth up the hillside and gradients that approach 20%. It has the steepest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 metres (2,054 ft), and is the third highest road in Scotland.

The name is Scottish Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle, as it was historically used as a drovers' road. Bealach na Ba is pronounced Bee-al-uch nu Ba(h).

The Bealach, as it is known for short, is considered unsuitable for learner drivers and very large vehicles. The route is often impassable in winter. According to Country Life (magazine), "the single-track, historic drovers’ lane travels up, down and around hairpins through the mountains of the remote Applecross peninsula as if they were the Alps and, at Bealach na Bà (‘pass of the cattle’), features the steepest ascent of any road in the UK".[1]

Media[edit]

The road featured in several episodes of the television series Hamish Macbeth (much of which was filmed in nearby Plockton), which pictures it having a roadsign that indicates: "Narrow road - no more than three sheep abreast". The road was also featured in the 1953 film Laxdale Hall.

Cycling[edit]

In recent years a pair of cyclosportive cycling events has been staged in the surrounding region, and over the pass. The 70 km Bealach Beag event is in May, and the 144 km Bealach Mór is each September.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Bealach Na Ba No 2 (773 metres asl) 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.6
(34.9)
1.2
(34.2)
2.2
(36.0)
3.6
(38.5)
6.9
(44.4)
9.1
(48.4)
10.5
(50.9)
10.5
(50.9)
8.7
(47.7)
6.0
(42.8)
3.5
(38.3)
2.3
(36.1)
5.5
(41.9)
Average low °C (°F) −2.1
(28.2)
−2.4
(27.7)
−1.5
(29.3)
−0.4
(31.3)
2.1
(35.8)
4.7
(40.5)
6.6
(43.9)
6.7
(44.1)
5.1
(41.2)
2.9
(37.2)
0.1
(32.2)
−1.2
(29.8)
1.7
(35.1)
Source: metoffice.gov.uk[2]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bealach na Bà, on the Applecross peninsula: Travelling the steepest road in Britain
  2. ^ "Climate Normals 1981–2010". Met Office. Retrieved 23 February 2021.