Thursday, 11 October 2012
Who could resist the lure of walking a path like this one? Abernethy Forest isn't far from home and has superb walking among the Caledonian pines. One of Scotland's National Nature Reserves, it's managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Scottish National Heritage (SNH). Forest specialities such as Red Squirrels, Crested Tits and Capercaillie are found here.
We walked this route from the walkighlands website, starting near Boat of Garten and using a combination of waymarked forest trails and a small section of the Speyside Way.
Wider views are at a premium in forests, and it's enjoyable to concentrate on the smaller, closer landscapes. The Blaeberry plants had been nearly stripped of berries by birds, but the Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) still had both flowers and berries.
My fungi identification isn't the best, but this large and bright example looks as if it should be toxic!
Part way around our route we came to Loch Garten, one of the chief visitor attarctions in the area due to the nesting ospreys which use the tall pines by the loch. The RSPB has cameras around the nest during the season and although one can see Ospreys elsewhere locally, the opportunity to watch their family life close up is a great draw.
Garten is very much a forest loch, surrounded by trees and with water stained the colour of coffeee by peat. On a sunny day the shores of Garten and nearby Loch Mallachie make good picnic spots, one accessible directly from a minor road and one requiring a bit of a walk.
We kept moving though, the clouds approaching from Meall a' Bhuachaille were bringing the next shower. We walked back into the shelter of the forest to continue a really pleasant walk back to Boat of Garten.