Walk: Dog Falls and Glen Affric, Highland
An inspired vision to save the Caledonian Forest is unfolding in Glen Affric – take a walk through the trees and find out more
Glen Affric is the most beautiful of all the Scottish glens. Possessing great character and wilderness value, it has golden eagles, deer, endangered wildcats and a large remnant of native woodland.
From Kintail in the North West Highlands, it stretches east through remote country for some 30 miles.
Reforesting Glen Affric
Since 1989, a reforestation project run by charity Trees for Life has planted 1.7 million native trees in the glen and at other locations where the decimated Caledonian Forest – a mosaic of Scots pine, birch, rowan, aspen and juniper – stood. The vision is to link each patch with adjacent sites, restoring the ancient forest to its historic limits.
For wild land preservation, and wildlife, the work, mainly carried out by volunteers, is vital. Enthusiastic workgroups plant trees and erect fences against sapling-munching deer. The charity’s first planting site was at the eastern end of the glen by Dog Falls, with its mix of mature native woodland and commercial plantations. A spring walk here is enlivening.
1. Down river
This four-mile walk, starting at Dog Falls car park, follows three marked trails. Take the Dog Falls trail down river by the fast-flowing River Affric.
2. Racing rapids
Gaze from a viewpoint over the rapids – though small, they testify to the river’s power. Stay on the red trail to traverse a bridge, soon taking the yellow Coire Loch path left through the Caledonian Forest.
3. Dragonfly loch
Climb to a ridge to discover the dragonfly haven of Coire Loch nestled among Scots pine and birch with their fresh green foliage. Further on, the yellow markers join a track. At a junction, follow red markers left and, later, white markers left.
4. Palpable views
Ahead, markers indicate a viewpoint. Drink in the majestic sight of Scots pine, the loch-filled glen and a long line of mountains. Follow the white markers back to the car park for an easy return.
Fergal is an outdoors writer who loves exploring Scotland on foot and by bike.