Smithy Woodland Walk
By James Carron
Applecross is a wonderfully remote and peaceful part of Scotland. Hugging the north-west coast, the tiny community consists of a string of waterfront cottages, a lively local pub and a well maintained estate, centred on Applecross House. This low-level leg-stretch utilises part of a network of paths on the estate and explores coastal, moor and wooded terrain.
In the car park at the start of the walk there is an information board highlighting local waymarked trails. This is the yellow coded one. From the car park, head up on to the road and turn left, passing between the post office and village filling station. Carry straight on at the junction beyond and follow the single-track road along above the rocky shore of wide Applecross Bay. Continue until you reach the entrance to Applecross House, on the right.
Leave the road here and follow the driveway through mixed woodland. As you near the white-washed mansion, the track forks; take the right-hand arm, leading to a car park and walled garden. Within the garden, you’ll find the Potting Shed Café, serving tea and coffee, home-baking, snacks and excellent meals. It also offers free internet access and sells Sunday newspapers.
Leaving the walled garden, turn left and follow the path as it skirts along the wall, then curves past a greenhouse. It crosses a stream, enters woodland and, a few metres on, reaches a gate. Go through and the path curves right, dropping to cross the burn again before climbing through woodland invaded by rhododendron.
A junction is soon reached where a waymarker post points straight on. Ignore this and go left, heading up through a break in the trees to another waymarker, which is visible from the first. Turn right here and follow the path up to a stile. The route continues to climb, leaving the shelter of the forest at another stile higher up the gentle slope.
A track rises beside a high deer fence, emerging at a junction. Go right and the way rises past a concrete and corrugated iron hut on the right and a reedy pond on the left. It passes through a couple of high gates (unlocked), both with ladder stiles, although one of these is in a poor state of repair.
The track flattens off as it approaches a stone shed with red corrugated iron roof. Over to the left is the ruin of an old limestone kiln, used to extract lime for local building projects.
The track bears right, passing a cottage on the left, and descends to the public road. Cross and, on the other side, go over a stile to enter dense coniferous woodland. A wide path rises through the trees before turning sharp right and descending to meet the rod again by a cottage that once housed the village blacksmith. Follow the road down to reach the post office and car park.