Sunday, June 1, 2014

Falls of Divach

My rule for saying I officially did a hike is that is must be at least four miles long.  Not that I won't write about and enjoy shorter hikes, of course, but for it to count towards my goals, that is my rule.  So for me to say that I had been hiking in Scotland, I had to get in a four mile hike, and time was running out.  We missed all the potential hiking around Loch Lomand because of the airline action.  The drive up to Isle of Skye was in the rain, and long, with no time to get in a four mile hike anyway, and then on Isle of Skye, I elected to do the drive-by touring to see more of the spectacular scenery.  And while I got in a couple of nice hikes on the way to Drumnadrochit, neither was close to four miles.

So when Wednesday, May 21 dawned, I knew this was it.  The rest of our trip after today would be in more urban areas.  It was raining steadily and cool.  The others decided to tour Urquhart Castle and then do a boat cruise on Loch Ness.  I elected to go for a 6-7 mile hike instead and meet them later so that we could tour Culloden Battlefield, east of Inverness, together in the afternoon.  So after an amazing breakfast, I headed out from our bed and breakfast, Rowan Cottage.  Did I say it was fabulous already?  :^) 

My hike was two distinctive parts, the Falls of Divach and the Craigmonie and Balcacaan Woodlands.  It was one continuous hike, but I will do two posts, one for each section.

From Rowan Cottage (did I mention that it is fantastic?) I walked through the Lewiston section of Drumnadrochit.  The hike to the falls was about a mile and a half, and 95% of it was along bucolic Scottish roads.  I only saw one or two cars as I walked steadily uphill to the falls.  There were cottages and lovely homes like this one closer to town.
And along the way, I passed a lot of pastures with sheep in them, like this ram:
Shortly after that, I spotted this little lamb, shivering in the rain and all alone.  He was outside the fence by the road.  I hoped that he would find his mom, or that the shepperd would take care of him later. 
I finally left the road for a short path to the falls,
which were most impressive.  They were over 100 feet (30+ meters) tall,
and they thundered into a pool.
I stood in the rain and watched the falls for about 10 minutes, then turned and reversed my course, downhill this time, passing the same lovely scenery and sheep pastures.
As I got back to the town, I turned left to head to the trail system of the Craigmonie and Balmacaan Woodland.  This would be on a lovely system of forest trails, and I really enjoyed it, despite the steady, cool rain.  More about that later.

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