Monty Halls’ Great Escape creates Applecross frenzy

Sand Bay, site of Montys Beachcomber Cottage

Sand Bay, site of Monty's Beachcomber Cottage

The first episode of the BBC2 series Monty Halls’ Great Escape has caused a frenzy of interest in the Applecross peninsula, prompting hopes of a bumper year for tourism in the remote community. The programme, filmed during the perfect weather of spring 2008, followed Monty’s attempts to live as a crofter for six months and featured stunning shots of the scenery of Wester Ross and the adjacent Isle of Skye. The jaw-dropping visuals had viewers rushing to their computers to find out more about the idyllic spot.

“Since the programme aired on Sunday night we’ve experienced a 1300% increase in visitors reaching our site via Google searches on the name Applecross”, said Paul Webster, who runs the walkers’ website Walkhighlands which helps to promote the area. “Searches for the remote village are usually steady but few. We’ve never seen such an explosion of interest in a place before. The Inn there is always popular but I’m sure that Applecross is going to have a bumper year.”

Until April 7th you can enter our competition to win a food hamper, including meats produced by Keith and Rachael Jackson as featured on Monty Halls’ Great Escape.

If planning to visit the area, see Walkhighlands’ accommodation and walks in Applecross.

22 Comments » for Monty Halls’ Great Escape creates Applecross frenzy
  1. Lilian says:

    :smile: What a wonderful spot. I know tourism is vital but please don’t let us spoil the place, it’s an absolute dream.

  2. Allan Nelson says:

    Really enjoyed the programme. I’ve been lucky enough to ride the Bealach-na-Ba Cycle Challenge in 2006 and 2007 and for me it’s just my favourite cycle sportive ride ever. Stunning scenery, quiet roads, friendly locals.
    Missed out in 2008 as its just got so popular (and I can see why – trouble is, a few million others have now too! ;-)

  3. Nigel Wright says:

    I’ve been going to Applecross and the peninsula for years…I selfishlessly hope this programme does not cause the place to become inundated with tourists!

  4. Andrea says:

    Really enjoyed revisting Applecross with this great programe. Most enjoyable. Only been to Applecoss once, when I was a young child, but has always stayed in my mind and now want to share my visit with my husband as I have always gone on about swiming with the massive crabs that live in the seaweed. The memories came flooding back. Looking foward to next programe.

  5. Karen says:

    Enjoying the programme :grin:I visited Sand last September when staying near Kyle but didn’t realise this was where it was filmed until I looked it up the next day – then saw the cottage in my photos :oops: :lol: Seems Monty was still there when we visited… and I remember a red land rover coming up the track as we were going back to our car, so I think I may have had a close-encounter ! Love Reuben his dog, reminds me of my lab.

    We were the only ones on the beach when we visited, and saw hardly any cars whilst driving the roads in the area.. the peace and tranquility is what makes the area so special.

    I’m back in the area in a couple of weeks – and I would like some of that nice weather please! :lol:

  6. what a beautifull place I have fell in love with it I really want to visit with my wife

    I am loving the programme what a great guy Monty is

  7. Lillian May says:

    A wonderful & interesting guy,can he really be 88yrs old!!

  8. Karen English says:

    I have been watching the programme with keen interest . I visisted Applecross 2006 and it’s beauty has stayed with me ever since. How lucky Monty has been to experience such a wonderful way of life. Reuben was a treat to watch. The best thing on Tv in a long time!
    I’m more than willing to be the new tennant of
    Beachcomber cottage. Please!!

  9. Zebs Ebdy says:

    Wonderful Stuff Monty,

    I, as a young boy, grew up right there 2 miles from Sand Bay at a little property called Salacher. My parents, when I was turning 12, moved to Salacher from Hartfiled House in Applecross. At the time, 1972, there was no road access to Sand Bay/Salacher and as children, my siblings and I would take on the ardous conditions, rain hail, sleet or shine, inclusive of every midgy possible, to walk 7 miles to the nearest point of pick-up for school transport, only to be thrown about on the Applecross to Kyle ferry, covered in seasick – prior to our arrival at school for five days boarding.
    That very cottage, had me in tears looking, as as a lad, on my own, my sea canoe was parked inside the cottage, where daily, I would venture off sand bay in search of Pollock and Mackeral, Lobsters and Edible crabs in my pots balanced precariously on the canoe, quite often risking life without knowledge, only to bring home fresh fish for my loving parents.
    Every summer I would run down the sand dune in the 70s straight into the sea swimming out toward the centre of the bay, dodging all kinds of jellyfish with my siblings. I left in 1977 to embark on a full career with the Royal Navy, though often look back at my times around sand bay, could write a book on the place, magical to me in everyway, I considered the place, paradise untouched by man – and then came the road, so sad, so sad. I remeber vividly the times that my hugely experienced Head Deer Stalker, Ken Griffin, highly respected in the Deer Management world, culled 5 hinds off the peak overshadowing Sand Bay Dune, and how on that blistery winter’s morning I helped him bring the carcasses down off the hill to the larder.
    Oh how I miss such, almost never a day goes by, now serving at an RAF Station in Cambs, without my thoughts of the childhood times of Applecross and sand bay, that old cottage I considered, quite rightly, as a child, as my own paradise den away from the madding world of the rat race – god bless the place.

    Zebs Ebdy

  10. JAC says:

    Absolutley brilliant programme, as a regular visitor to Skye and the mainland approaching Skye this is a real treat ( makes a wonderful change from “Big Cats in Africa” lets have more about our own lands. Monty gives a wonderful represantation of the hospitality you find in those parts. As for the Pigs from Orbost, I’ve been to Orbost numerous times and will have to enquire about buying some meat from the farm.

  11. margaret smith says:

    I loved this programme. As a former resident of this lovely place for many years it was a treat to go `back home` My children and grandchildren still live there, and indeed my daughter Linda and her husband Mike featured regularly throughout the programme. My other lovely daughter Elaine and her husband Jon own the `Walled Garden`cafe/restaurant, and although they were not seen in the programme, it was nice that they were mentioned. (I think Jon is camera shy). It was also nice to see all the people I have known for years. I still go `home` to see my family as often as I can, and I consider myself to be one of the `lucky ones` to have lived in such a beautiful place. I hope to be able to meet Monty on one of my future visits. I know he still visits too. Well done to all concerned in the making of this great programme.

  12. KC says:

    Re Nigel Wright comment above – too late! We live in the area and I have been to Sands three times in the last two weeks – taking kids for picnic as we have done for years – and today, I left the beach without even getting out of the car – crowds of cars, not a space to be had, cars parked on grassy verges, people walking all over the grassy machair – more litter than I have ever seen scattered around……..I know we need tourism, but this is ridiculous…. TV docu-makers should ponder on the environmental impact of their programmes – and also the impact on the permanent residents who have to put up with the aftermath of this sort of Pie-in-the-Sky prog. Sorry to sound bitter, but there you are!

  13. tassy says:

    Three little words to all who visit…LEAVE NO TRACE….
    I grew up in nearby Torridon and my family survived on the tourist trade and so visitors are welcome so long as they leave exactly as they find it, if not better!

  14. maggiestark says:

    Can anyone shed light on a rumour I heard that Monty Halls only stayed in his bothy at Applecross when he was being filmed and the rest of the time he was up in the hotel where his girlfriend was. Despite hearing this, the programme did expose Applecross for the beautiful place it is and was a bit naffed not to see myself on any of the film as we were there a couple of times whilst BBc were filming.

  15. Mike says:

    We visited Applecross on new years day this year, before we knew about the program, this was our first visit to Applecross and the reviews we had read certainly lived up to the expectations.
    Great series, just wish it could have lasted longer!
    Looking forward to going back soo, lets hope the frenzy of interest doesn’t impact too much on such a unique place.

  16. jen says:

    Camped wild on the beach whilst Monty was there, unbeknownst to us! Did see the cottage and landrover which stood alongside helicopter landing site (for offshore riggers perhaps??).
    Beautiful place, great dunes, wild stags, beach to ourselves with lovely views.

  17. Sheila says:

    I took all my holidays in Applecross for around 40 years until I moved to Texas. I haven’t been able to see the BBC show. I’ve read the book which family sent out to us and found this site while looking for a DVD of the show!
    Applecross is magical! Along with other people I spent many years wishing no-one else would find it so I had mixed feelings about the broadcast! In some ways I want to keep the place to myself but I also think everyone should see just how beautiful it is.
    If we all left nothing but footprints and took nothing but photos the place would survive in all it’s glory!

  18. Linda says:

    Firstly Re sheding light on Monty staying in the hotel…Not true, he stayed in his bothy, contrary to belief he also still has his much loved dog Rubes.
    Anyone would think Applecross had never seen tourists before, they have been frequenting us for years. Tourists are needed for Applecross to survive as a community. Most of us earn our living from them. We are never going to stop it from happening so must adapt to live with it. I for one am happy that people come to see our lovely place and views, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t belong to us we only live here! Local Yokel!

  19. Davie says:

    :eek:Hi just a wee note to thank you for letting me no about Applecross and the bay, I visited with my fiance 16th july 09 and it was awsome. Ur one lucky so and so. We also had tattie an Leek soup in the Applecross Inn it was all just amazing THANKS!!!

  20. Aussie Lass says:

    After seeing Monty’s wonderful experience at being a Crofter [A big pat on the back for him] I am dead set on visiting early 2010,it’s just beautiful. Hope to meet some Applecross-ians whilst there,may have lunch at the Inn.

  21. Janice - kent says:

    would love to get a copy on dvd, visited there in november, what a lovely place, can see why he loved it and wanted to film there, got the book but would love to see if I could get it on DVD any ideas anyone???

  22. James - Bucks says:

    Just this minute got back from a week-long stay at a crofter’s cottage in Callekille with my wife. What an amazing place – although we found it kind of by accident looking for an isolated place to wind down from our busy lives commuting in and out of London. Had never heard of Monty’s programme but a copy of his book had been left strategically by the fire in the cottage and I read it on our last day there and just before our last visit to Sand Beach. I must say, I have been to some beaches in my life but never one so magical and haunting as Sand. To watch the sunset bleeding into the Skye mountain range, framed by the calm silver ocean was simply awe inspiring. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the silhouette of the “pyramid peak” incessantly drawing me in. Found it hard to leave the place and now finding it hard to get it out of my head! Will be going back. TIP: Go in February – we had a week of sunshine. Very smug about that as it was dead quiet for us.

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