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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Two hills above Golspie

Loch Fleet from Ben Bhraggie

Beinn Lunndaidh is the big brother to the more well known Ben Bhraggie which overlooks the highland village of Golspie, half way up the A9 north between Inverness and Thurso.

I happened to have a few hours to spare in Golspie with my son and he suggested we visit this hill. I think he wanted to log the trig point for some project or other he’s involved with. I don’t imagine Beinn Lunndaidh is visited very often at all as there is no path to the top and and no easy route up.
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Walking (and surviving) at Glenmore

I realise I am very fortunate to work in one of the loveliest spots in Scotland at Glenmore, at the foot of the Cairngorms mountains and in the heart of the Caledonian Pinewoods. This weekend I had a fantastic time working with a great bunch of people. I organised a Woodland Survival ‘themed’ weekend, where the customers participated in about 16 hours of activities relating to navigation, survival and bushcraft. We practised basic navigation using a map and compass; built survival shelters; found and purified water; made cord from roots and nettles; and tried lighting fires with a bow drill.

While out in the woods close to the camp site we were lucky enough to spot this wee fellow in the trees. This is not a rare occurrence as I’m fortunate to see red squirrels each day at Glenmore.

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We also watched two roe deer grazing about 100 metres away from us on Saturday evening while out practising our map and compass skills.
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A little history and natural history of Sandwood Bay

The Sandwood Estate is now owned by the John Muir Trust and parts of it have official conservation designations; there are two sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and a 444 ha Special Area of Conservation which includes Sandwood Bay.

Sandwood Estate

The geology around Sandwood is fascinating. According to the JMT:

“the rocks of Sandwood are mainly Torridonian gritstone, sandstone and conglomerate, with outcrops of Lewisian gneiss. Sandwood Loch is at the junction between the two rock types. Lewisian gneiss is multicoloured, with stripes, swirls and bubbles, metamorphic and one of the oldest rocks in the world. Torridonian sandstone is sandy, layered sedimentary rock, often blocky in shape, laid down about six hundred million years ago.”

I’m not that hot on geology, but I can recognise fascinating rocks. The patterns in the rocks on the crags to the north of the river were wonderful. There were sedimentary rocks lying on their side and twisted, bubbled rocks.
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A short stroll in the Cairngorms

South to Loch Etchachan

I know a couple of blogging acquaintances are currently undertaking long backpacking trips into the heart of the Cairngorms, but as I work in the area I’m able to take short frequent strolls there. It doesn’t equate in any way to the wilderness experience the backpackers will get, but still, it’s nae bad for a ‘Sunday afternoon’ type stroll.

I had originally planned to tackle Beinn Mheadoin, but I was delayed in leaving Glenmore as I waited for my son to come to drop off a few large plant pots and to rig up a support and notice board in my ranger tent. When I set off I was not feeling 100%, so decided to have a short day and save the longer route for another day.
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