A Walk Through the Heather

Bell heather
One of the reasons I wanted to visit Scotland in summer (aside from it being our anniversary) was to see the heather in full bloom. On earlier trips, I'd seen small patches of heather blooming in June and some in September. In late July, the first flush of heather paints the hills slightly pinkish-purple or magenta. There are several different varieties of heather which bloom at different times, but mid-August would probably be the peak, depending on the location. Flowering is dependent on the local weather and temperatures, as well as altitude and how far north or south the heather grows. The nice part about this is that you can possibly see some heather blooming somewhere in Scotland from late spring to early fall.

The cliff and trees in the distance.
 I love taking walks in nature, especially in a place as beautiful as Scotland. We started our walk on the opposite side of Ullapool at the large free parking lot. In the photo below, that would be at the center, a few hundred feet from the loch's edge. Once we'd crossed town and walked on a sidewalk along one of the main roads, we followed the signs and headed up toward Ullapool Hill. Thankfully the beginning of the hillside trail wasn't too steep and it had a nice gravel surface. Rain was misting slightly at the beginning of the walk, but soon the sun came out and shined a bit, then it was nicely overcast. Not too hot, nor too cool. Great for walking.

 We encountered a few other hikers and even a group of mountain bikers riding down the sometimes very rough and rocky trail. I didn't envy them. :)

We paused often to take in the spectacular views out over Ullapool, Loch Broom, the Summer Isles as well as the surrounding mountains.

Click to enlarge. View out to the Summer Isles

Heather above Ullapool and Loch Broom

Ullapool Hill is a part of the Rhidorroch Estate. This working estate features several businesses, such as agriculture, fishing, deer stalking and tourism. There's also a quarry nearby. They have restocked a local river with salmon fry.

Ullapool Hill

Click to enlarge. Mountain indicator board.
The mountain indicator board sits on a flat area with wide-open views all around. The board is a map of the surrounding hills, mountains and islands. I loved the poem on it! We also encountered a few benches, some of which we made use of. :)

A nice smooth portion of the trail and the Summer Isles in the background.

One of the most north-westerly pine forests in Scotland exists on the estate. It once covered a much wider area. It is now being restored using seeds from the few pines remaining from the original Caledonian Forest. Other native trees that have been planted here include birch, alder, and rowan. Ullapool Hill used to be a cattle and sheep pasture, but these animals have been moved out so that the woodland can be restored.

We estimated that we walked around six or seven miles that day (including the walk through town) and I was tired by the end of it, but I'd love to do it again. :)

Both types of heather growing together.
There were a couple of types of heather coming into full bloom during our trip in the Ullapool area. The main one was bell heather (Erica cinerea) which is magenta or pinkish-purple. Another type which was blooming had even smaller pale pink flower clusters. Both were gorgeous.

This was a very special day to me. I enjoyed spending it with my husband surrounded by incredible natural beauty.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through the heather with the incredible views around Ullapool!

P.S. I found this wonderful new reader review on Amazon for My Brave Highlander:

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
I really enjoyed this book. I could not put it down. This author is awesome and I have enjoyed her books.
 by candace

Battle-hardened warrior Dirk MacLerie isn't who everyone thinks he is. He's Dirk MacKay, heir apparent to the MacKay chiefdom and Dunnakeil Castle on the far north coast of Scotland. When he returns home after a long absence, will his clan know him and will the duplicitous enemy who tried to murder him twelve years ago kill him in truth this time?

Lady Isobel MacKenzie is a beautiful young widow betrothed to yet another Highland chief by her brother's order. But when her future brother-in-law accosts her and threatens to kill her, she is forced to flee into a Highland snowstorm. When she runs into a rugged and imposing man she thought dead, she wonders if he will turn her over to her enemy or take her to safety.

Dirk remembers the enchanting, dark-eyed Isobel from when he was a lad, but now she is bound to another man by legal contract—an important detail she would prefer to forget. She wishes to choose her own husband and has her sights set on Dirk. But he would never steal another man's bride… would he? The tantalizing lady fires up his passions, testing his willpower and honor at every turn, even as some of his own treacherous clansmen plot his downfall.


Ashley York said...

What beautiful pictures. I can see why a lot of people who came from Scotland settled in New Hampshire - some very similar landscapes. I'll be sad to miss the heather for our trip in the fall, though. Thanks for sharing.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Wonderful pictures, Vonda. You make me want to go back to Scotland! Tweeted.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Ashley, thanks! Hopefully you will see a few spots of heather here and there if it is September when you go.

Thanks, Ella! Hope you get to go!

Vanessa Holland said...

Beautiful pictures, Vonda. It looks like a great place to go walking. And an amazing place to spend an anniversary! Thanks for sharing

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Beautiful scenery, Vonda. Yes, I am homesick for the Motherland. Thank you for sharing. :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Vanessa, thanks! It was an awesome place to walk. Wish I could walk there every week. LOL We had a wonderful anniversary!

Thanks, Paisley! I'm homesick too. :)

Angelyn said...

pretty heather and a pretty nice review--

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks so much, Angelyn!

Unknown said...

Hi Vonda
I am nostalgic after seeing your photos! I miss beautiful Scotland, if you remember was 5 days in Ullapoool and I think we even stayed in the same B & B , the Domnam. I loved the landscape, the beautiful mountains. thank you Vonda for sharing!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Yes, isn't that neat, Nicole? We both stayed 5 days in Ullapool and at the same B&B but at different times. The landscape and natural beauty there is incredible. I miss it too.