Bealach-na-ba

Bealach-na-ba, one of the UK's toughest and longest stretches of tarmac

Bealach na Bà is the name of a curvy mountainous road located in the Applecross peninsula, Highland, Scotland. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world. Speeds faster than 30 mph are rarely permitted.

How long is the Bealach na Ba pass?

The road is totally paved. It’s 17.86km (11.1 miles) long, running east-west from Tornapress to Applecross. Bealach na Ba has earned its fearsome reputation with good reason and for many it is rightly considered the holy grail of British climbs.

How hard is the Bealach na Ba?

The road is a single track all the way. Perhaps the closest to an Alpine pass, the road features very sharp hairpin turns, switching back and forth up the mountain, with gradients approaching to 17%. The road is dangerous because is very narrow, with sharp bends, steep gradients and lacks places to pass. This twisting, single-track mountain road is one of the highest roads of the country rising up to 626m (2,054ft) above the sea level. The ‘UK’s toughest climb’ goes against the grain of many of the other British climbs, in that it is fearsome both in length and gradient.

Is Bealach na Ba suitable for motorhomes?

It is recommended that beginner riders and those who don't know how to reverse avoid this winding single track road. The road is so narrow that there are several ‘passing places’. It means they are places when to stop when a vehicle comes from the opposite direction. So, it’s considered unsuitable for learner drivers and very large vehicles.

What does Bealach na Ba mean?

The unforgettable road along one of the most dramatic roads of Scotland really takes the breath away and offers a great cycling challenge, driving up and along one of the most dramatic roads on mainland UK. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic, Bealach nam Bò, meaning ‘pass of the cattle’.

When was the Bealach-na-ba road built?

The road was built in 1822. The original road was rough gravel and very difficult to clear in winter, meaning it could be blocked for weeks on end. In 1950 it was totally paved. It has been featured in the television series Hamish Macbeth and in the 1953 film Laxdale Hall.

Is Bealach na Ba open?

This single track is one of the most challenging drives in Scotland. This road is usually open all year, but during winter months, it can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow. There are snow gates at either end, and winter closures can last weeks. It boasts the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 metres (2,054 ft). Boasting an average gradient of seven per cent, the fierce road kicks up to much more than that with some of the steepest sections close to the summit.

 

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