Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), one the best road of Scotland.

Bealach na Ba road in Scotland
Bealach Na Ba road

Do you know about the greatest climbs in the UK? No? Well, we have a great road trip plan for you. Driving or cycling on this road can be a breathtaking experience and a great adventure. Let’s dive into the details of this historic winding single track road called Bealach Na Ba. Before we hit the road, remember that we will pronounce the name of this road as Bee-al-uch nu Ba(h) and that in English it’s named Pass of the Cattle.

Where is Bealach na Bà road located?

This road is located in Wester Rose in the Scottish Highlands and passes through the mountains of the Applecross Peninsula. Bealach na ba, built-in 1822, is the highest point of the Applecross pass .

The best part?

The distance of this road is approximately 18 kilometers (11,5 miles) with an average gradient of 7%. Its maximum height gain is 626 meters (2055 ft). Some gradients are approaching 20%!

Applecross way was highly used since the 20th century as it was the only road that linked Applecross with the rest of the country at that time.

You can situate the road on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Some informations about the Bealach na Bà road

Road description:

Be careful while driving on this road. This is a risky and dangerous track. You can not only enjoy the driving but you can also enjoy the dope landscapes around you if you are driving or cycling on this road. But this advice is only for experts. If you are not an expert cyclist or driver, you must use this road with maximum concentration.

Riding on this road can be difficult for you sometimes because it is a non-common single track route where you have to pay attention to the road details and at the traffic also.

Some other facts about the Pass of the Cattle:

  • Hamish Macbeth is the television series in which you can see a lot of scenes of this road. This road was also featured in 1953 in the Laxdale Hall movie.
  • Ginger Wildheart sang the song “The Road to Applecross” which was a featured bonus track of his album. So the Applecross is named after this memory of his song.
  • You are not permitted to speed more than 50 km/h (30 mph) and you must know how to reverse to let pass upcoming cars on this road.
  • It is the third-highest road in Scotland: is more than 625 meters (2,054 ft) above sea level.
  • Cycle Sportive events have been arranged in the surrounding areas of this road. The 144 kilometers (89,5 miles) Bealach More event occurs in September while the 70 kilometers (43,5 miles) Bealach Beag event is in May.


The Bealach Na Ba road was build in 1822 and the engineers use the roads in the Alps as an example so there are lots of segments with lots of hairpin bends. Besides, we can say that the road was asphalted in the 1950s.

In Scottish, the name means the Pass of the Cattle.

How to get to the Bealach na Ba road ?

In order to get the Bealach na Bà road you have to go to the town of Tornapress on the A896 road and then turn to road C1087 in the Applecross direction.

You can visualize how to get there on this map of the drive:

A preview of the drive:

If you don’t have the possibility to go to Scotland, or you just want to watch a cool road video, just take a look at this YouTube video:

Is the Bealach na Ba Open?

The road is open all year round. Although, we suggest you never use this road during winter especially in bad weather. Learner drivers can face a lot of hurdles while moving on this road. Large vehicles are highly unsuitable. Sharp bends and steep gradients make it a difficult road. So it has a fearsome reputation.

bealach na ba
Bealach na Ba in winter

Also, we advise you to use this road in the daylight. If you are going to use this road at night, we suggest that you bring all the necessary flashlights and safety kits with you because you can have some trouble with cold winds and darkness if you are not well-prepared and be blocked on the road.

This road is very narrow so you will not find hotels or other shops on your way before reaching Applecross. So, you have to bring everything you might need with you.

In any case, check the official website of the road traffic provided by the Scottish Government before driving in the Highlands.

If you are planning a road trip in Scotland you should definitely don’t forget to include the Bealach Na Ba Road in your trip. Indeed, this is one of the most known and amazing drives in Scotland. But don’t forget to drive safely because it is truly considered as a dangerous road.

Pictures sources: Daniel Coates

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