Minor roads around The Aird


The Aird is an area of the west of Inverness situated to the south of the River Beauly and the Beauly Firth. To the south of the Aird rise the hills above Loch Ness and the Glen Glen Way passes this way from Drumnadrochit to Inverness. There are several villages scattered around the Aird (including the village we live), but much of the area is made up of small crofting townships or isolated crofts.

Yesterday we took a ten-mile linear walk around this area, after being dropped off by our son and walking home – the long way. Most of the walk was along roads, but very minor country roads. In fact we only saw less than 10 vehicles and at one point the only moving vehicle for over one hour was a farmer herding sheep on a quadbike.
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Rua Reidh lighthouse walk

Rua Reidh lighthouse

The north west coast of Scotland truly is my favourite place and, if not for the small issue of work and accessibility to the rest of the country, I’d be happy to live there. On Monday we decided to take advantage of the fantastic weather (and early season lack of midges) and head west again. This time we headed to Gairloch about one and a half hours drive away. We knew we’d have a short day as due to son’s van being off the road we agreed we’d drop him off and pick him up from work in Strathpeffer.

The drive west is most picturesque and takes you through some dramatic scenery. Along the way we kept saying “we really must come back and climb…” (insert name of practically every hill between Garve and Kinlochewe!) As we drove along Loch Maree we spoke about a return trip to climb those Torridon hills we’ve still to tackle – and which we had originally planned to do today except for son’s work schedule. Little did we know that 5 climbers had to airlifted from Liathach today due to wildfires.

The road into Gairloch is the usual Highland single track road and as usual was busy with tourists – including very many Dutch and German cars.
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Exploring Boblainy Forest

Boblainy Forest is a large commercial plantation forest owned (mainly) by the Forestry Commission on the outskirts of the village of Kiltarlity. This is my local stomping ground and on Saturday I was involved in leading a walk though the forest.

Boblainy Forest

I love the morning mists we often get at this time of year as we drift from high summer into autumn. Yesterday was one such day and it was wonderful to see an abundance of spiders webs on our walk in Boblainy Forest. As the dew droplets settle on the threads and allow them to be seen we see just how numerous they are.
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Au revoir, mes amis!

Our luggage

In a few short hours I’m getting up and lugging my big (heavy) rucksack on to the train to London. We have a 5am check-in at Gatwick on Tuesday to fly with Sleazyjet to Gibraltar. We’ve booked two nights in Gibraltar (we’re actually about 500m over the border in Spain, but that was the best/closest hotel in the area!), then we sail by ferry (not sailing boat!) to Tangier in Morocco.
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A bimble in Culbin

Enjoying a walk at Culbin Forest

Neil took a day off work yesterday to help me celebrate my birthday. After checking the mountain weather forecast we decided against going up a hill and headed for a bimble around the woods at Culbin.

Culbin Forest was once a vast area of shifting sand dunes and was the largest area of open sand dunes in Britain covering 3,100 hectares. The land was purchased by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s and afforestation began. The forest helped to reduce the drift of the 7 km long sand bar, which is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
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