Monday, June 2, 2014

Balmacaan Wood Trails, Drumnadrochit

After walking to the Falls of Divach, the second part of my Drumnadrochit hike on May 21 was along the forest pathways in the Craigmonie and Balmacaan woodlands.  Combined, the two made for a lovely 6-7 mile hike in the rain, closer to 7 miles, I would say - and maybe a bit more than that.  I was pretty wet at the end, but happy do have done such a nice hike.  I am sure that there is a local group of volunteers that maintain these trails, and they do a wonderful job of it.

The visitor center gave me a basic trail map.  After the falls, I started near the bottom right of the map where the blue and white trails come together.  I had previously walked the white loop the night before as a leg stretcher.  I headed over to the west side, up the blue trail to the green, looped around that and then completed the red loop.  Lovely place!  The trail map said that badgers, roe deer, pine marten, and red squirrels are in these woods, so I was hopeful of a sighting. But the only wildlife I saw were a few small birds and an unidentified woodpecker, although birdsong was my near-constant companion.
Through really cool satellite technology from DeLorme, I was able to capture my basic track for the hike.  The light blue arrow is my approximate starting point from Rowan Cottage.  Starting 10 minutes later, I captured a track point every 10 minutes.  The software connects them with straight lines, so it is not exact route, but a good approximation.  The Falls of Divach, my first stop, are near the bottom left with the pink arrow.  The approximate location of Craig Monie is at the left arrow.  Loch Ness is to the east.  The light blue lines connect the track point.  Pretty cool, eh?

Right here, I walk through deciduous woodland with carpets of May wildflowers.
Where the red, blue, and green trails come together, there is a pair of huge redwood trees.  How big?  Well, I placed my hat and trekking poles against one of them so that you can get an idea.
I believe that this view was from the redwoods looking out towards Loch Ness.
The trails could be fairly steep in places with some climbing.  There was also a fair bit of mud from time to time.  As the elevation increased, the trees have way more to conifers like these,
and these.
There were only two places I came to on these trails with viewpoints.  This one is of Milton, originally a planned village towards the end of the 18th century.
The second and more spectacular viewpoint was Craig Monie.  I believe that "craig" means peak, and "Monie" was the name of a Norse prince killed in a battle on this spot.  What a lovely place to die, although I doubt that his cause of death was so lovely.  See Loch Ness?  Do you see Nessie in the upper right of the lake?  Neither do I!
This is the panoramic view from Craig Monie.
Mother Nature sure has some lovely carpets in her home, does she not?  These may  be blue bells.
I really loved this hike!  Combined with the waterfall walk, I was occupied for a good three hours.  A little rain?  Who cares? I was hiking in bonnie Scotland!


  1. Oh I am wishing I was walking there too. What a beautiful walk. Like you said what's a little rain. Those blue bells are awesome and that was some huge tree.

  2. You would have enjoyed this walk, rain or shine. The only thing to have made it better would have been some cool wildlife!