So yesterday wasn’t particularly nice, rainy and misty and such. It’s always hard to pick a walk on a day like that because while I don’t mind walking in the rain, but I want it to be worth my while, there must still be some point to doing it such a nice view/forest/waterfall/general point of interest. Mist tends to make that rather difficult though. However we decided on this walk because while it didn’t promise views of immense grandeur, it was through a woodland restoration project with a few rivers and a mountain loch.
If you ever come to Scotland and happen to ask a local for directions to the start of this walk, please note that when they tell you to park at the ‘red shed’ it is in fact green. No one in living memory can recall the time that it was supposedly painted red, but nevertheless it remains.
Parking here and crossing the road the walk begins by crossing a river and taking the track which winds through the valley ahead.
As shown on the map at the start there are various different routes you can go, although it does warn you that the bridge is missing on one of them. We went for the red route which it reckons is 8km one way and will take you 2.5hours, but you can extend it to include the loch which is an extra few kilometres.
Here you can see the path goes through the valley on a nearly drivable road, I have even manage to capture a piece of blue sky ahead and it looks like the weather just might pick up.
The woodland here is under a restoration project that started around the mid 1990’s, due to the hunting of deer, the majority of the forest was previous felled to allow hunters a better chance. This unfortunately led to the extinction of many species from Scotland such as bears and wolves that apparently used to inhabit the highlands. They are now trying to recreate the previous pine forests as they were. This naturally is a lengthy process, as an information board on the path informs us, they collect all of the seeds required to re-plant to the forest from the nearby Loch Maree. These were then grown in greenhouses for a year and a deer fence was constructed on the hillside to keep the deer from eating the new trees. Each tree was the air lifted in and planted, with the hope that in 10-15 years time the fence could be removed and the forest allowed to grow of its own accord.
The walk continues through the plantation and gives some, despite the weather, lovely views of the mountains behind.
At this point the yellow route goes off and we follow the path to the left which follows the river up to loch.
While it may look fairly promising up ahead, the clouds seem to be chasing us up the valley!
Nearly at the loch, we cross over one of the burns that feeds the river from another unpronounceable loch.
First view of Loch na h-Oidhche
And sand, it always amazes me that there’s sand at these places, that must have taken a while.
Which brings us to the end of the walk with all that’s left to return down the valley. Unfortunately the afore-mentioned patch of sun has not spread and we are left to walk back through this… Still at least we had the views on the way up!
It took us about 2 and a half hours to get to the loch including stopping for some lunch. It only took us 1.5 hours to get back to the car though, ain’t too shabby.