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On leaving Scourie the road heads north alongside Loch a’Bhadaidh Daraich, The Dukes Loch, overshadowed by Creag a Bhadaidh Daraich known as “The Dukes Mount” at just over 500 feet high. The landscape around Scourie is one of innumerable small lochans as is evident as the road proceeds into Mackay Country. Half way to Laxford Bridge about 4km from Scourie a side road runs on the left that leads through one of the last true wildernesses in north west Scotland to the west coast hamlets of Fanagmore Fondle and Tarbet; from Tarbet boat trips can be taken to the nature reserve on Handa Island. From the main road it is comparable to slipping into a time warp the way most of northwest Scotland used to be, before good roads were built.
The area is known as the Balkans and fable retells the stories of constant fighting and disagreements between the residents in the three tiny communities. Apart from this and whether it is true today or part of folklore this area is outstanding in beauty. Massive structures rising form the skyline in what appears to be microcosms of sheltered but harsh surroundings with tiny small fertile spots distributed among a background of splendour, little lochans and sheltered coves. You can choose to progress either way around a four or five mile loop, also of narrow single-track road. The landscape through which these roads pass is truly superb: a labyrinthine confusion of grey rock and grass, of lochans, mounds, short steep dips and rises, and unpredictable blind corners. Distributed around this five mile circular loop of road are three tiny settlements well worth the visit. Moving anti-clockwise these are Foindle, Fanagmore, and Tarbet. Drive on the very single tract road past Loch Gobhtoch and a step drop down into Tarbet and the ferry for Handa Island.
“We’re very laid back, I suppose, and very tolerant of each other and much more tolerant of even the services and all that. Maybe we’re too laid back and come to accept things where we should be in there trying to change.
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