Conquer Bealach na Bà: Scotland's Most Scenic and Challenging Mountain Road

Bealach na Bà is a winding mountain road located in the Applecross peninsula, in the Scottish Highlands. It's renowned as one of the most scenic drives in the world, and speeds faster than 30 mph are rarely permitted.


How long is the Bealach na Bà pass?

The road is entirely paved, stretching 17.86 km (11.1 miles) from Tornapress to Applecross. Bealach na Bà has earned its fearsome reputation with good reason and is rightly considered the holy grail of British climbs.

How challenging is Bealach na Bà?

The road is a single track throughout, perhaps the closest to an Alpine pass. It features very sharp hairpin turns, switching back and forth up the mountain, with gradients approaching 17%. The road is hazardous due to its narrowness, sharp bends, steep gradients, and lack of passing places. This twisting, single-track mountain road is one of the highest roads in the country, rising to 626m (2,054ft) above sea level. The ‘UK’s toughest climb’ stands out for its fearsome combination of length and gradient.

Is Bealach na Bà suitable for motorhomes?

It is recommended that beginner riders and those unfamiliar with reversing avoid this winding single-track road. The road is so narrow that there are several ‘passing places’—areas to stop when a vehicle comes from the opposite direction. Consequently, it’s considered unsuitable for learner drivers and very large vehicles.

What does Bealach na Bà mean?

The unforgettable road along one of the most dramatic routes in Scotland truly takes your breath away and offers a great cycling challenge. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic, Bealach nam Bò, meaning ‘pass of the cattle.’

When was the Bealach-na-Bà road built?

Constructed in 1822, the original road was rough gravel and challenging to clear in winter, leading to potential blockages for weeks. In 1950, it was entirely paved.

Where was Laxdale Hall filmed?

The road has been featured in the television series Hamish Macbeth and in the 1953 film Laxdale Hall.

Is Bealach na Bà open?

This single track is one of the most challenging drives in Scotland, usually open all year. However, during winter months, it can be closed when access is not cleared of snow. Snow gates at either end may result in closures lasting weeks. Boasting the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 meters (2,054 ft), the road features an average gradient of seven per cent, with some of the steepest sections close to the summit.