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3 lochs, 2 ramblers and one bog feast!
by BlackPanther » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:29 pm
Route description: Three lochs circuit, south Loch Ness
Date walked: 20/10/2012
Time taken: 3.5 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 200m6 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Taking advantage of a relatively decent weather on Saturday the 21st, we scrolled through WH to find a good low level walk near Inverness. The three loch circuit seemed a perfect route, and as we found out, it's a good way to spend a few hours though the pleasure comes at a price. So what to expect on the way? Well, as the title suggests, three tranquil, remote lochs are the main attraction. Some nice views of surrounding hills and rocky crags, a lot of forest to explore. Generally, the whole area is very quiet and as there are no M- or C- mountains nearby, you wouldn't expect to meet queues of walkers.
On the negative side, just at the beginning of the circuit we had to pass a farm with "4 wheels experience" (or something like that, not sure about the exact name) where wild driving enthusiasts can try extreme off-road manoeuvres So if you are unlucky, the silence may be disturbed by crazy drivers (you don't have to pass through the driving area, luckily!). The second minus is the bog - the path on this circuit can be very wet and muddy!!! We didn't put on our gaters, which we came to regret at some point. But all in all, it's well worth doing.
The starting point is a wide layby next to the Loch Duntelchaig outlet at the eastern end of the loch, SW of the little village of Dunlichity.
I ran towards the shore of Loch Duntelchaig to have a good look at it (always nice to have a wee body of water on your walk ):
It is worth taking a short detour to the fords between Loch Duntelchaig and Loch a' Chachain, for the excellent views across the first loch. There is a locked gate on that track, but a smaller passage for walkers allows access to the fords.
The low cloud was slowly lifting off the hills across the loch:
The first stage of the circuit uses a tarmac road, but it was so quiet and peaceful that we didn't mind:
The track climbed a little, just to offer us even better vistas across the loch:
Here we walked past the above mentioned 4 wheel driving farm - no noisy drivers this time! - and located this gate on the right hand side. It is signed for Bunachton and the path then goes past Easterton Farm:
It all looked nice and easy at this point...
...but as soon as we left the farm behind and dived into the deep forest, the boggy encounters of the 3rd kind started...
Nevertheless, some parts of this path are so enchanting (especially with the autumnal touch) that it's really worth suffering the squelchy experience just to get there!
View back towards Loch Duntelchaig, with the "4 wheel experience" area in the first plan:
One can't run away from wind turbines in Scotland any more...
The path continues in NE direction and it is obvious to follow. Just one note: OBVIOUS doesn't exactly mean DRY
Soon my trousers were wet up to my knees but I didn't really care that much...
We passed by the ruined croft...
...and continued on the path, still boggy but not as bad as on the first stage:
The path eventually joined the road just S of the Mains of Bunachton. The area around the exit gate turned out to be another bog feast and the dry surface of the tarmac was a nice welcome
We walked north along the road for a short distance - just to encounter the best vistas of the day, down to Loch Bunachton:
Past the Mains of Bunachton and following the WH description we started looking for a gate and track down to the loch. The gate itself was easy enough to find...
Beware! Live stock about! Does it include wild black panthers???
The next stretch of the circuit began on a rough track down towards Loch Bunachton - the further we went, the more boggy it was:
You can't avoid this bit! Put on your wetsuit and swim through!
The loch was now close:
The boggiest experience of the whole circuit we encountered on the final descent to the side of the loch - yuck!!!!
...but as soon as we reached the lochside, all the squelchy moments were forgotten. What an enchanting little spot!
The track follows the side of the loch for a short distance, then dives back into the forest:
It was a bit less boggy now though still quite a few puddles about:
After a couple of km we came to a less forested spot, with views across the loch to the Mains of Bunachton:
We eventually emerged on a tarmac road, happy to have finally left the wet experience behind:
It may not be a walk with views to the biggest mountains of Scotland, but I enjoyed the company of small craggy hills just as much
We followed the tarmac road SE back to Dunlichity, where we stopped for another exploration break
The rural postcard:
We popped in to the old cemy by Dunlichity Church:
It's worth adding to the walk, especially if you like history. According to RCAHMS records, Dunlichity Church was built in 1759 as a replacement to an earlier building, of which some walls remain. It was repaired in 1826 and much recast. The graveyard contains many interesting monuments including the walled enclosure of the MacGillivrays, and a simple gabled watch-house at the churchyard gate.
The road and the neighbouring hills from the graveyard:
To finish the circuit we continued on the road which goes very close to the shore of the third and final of the 3 lochs - Loch a'Chlachain:
Views across the loch:
We returned to the car after 3.5 hours of excellent rambling - OK, it was boggy but other attractions made up for the mud-dancing
It would be worth returning here during the bird breeding season - Loch Bunachton is said to be a good spot for grebe watching
Just one more thing worth mentioning, for those like me, interested in castellated buildings. There is an old towerhouse nearby, called Tordarroch, the mansion of the Shaws of Tordarroch, Chiefs of Clan Ay. The house looks like a 17th century building to my eye - though the site is said to have been occupied by the Shaws since the 15th century. The castle is included in Martin Coventry's "The castles of Scotland" and its history is described as follows:
"It was a property of the Shaws from 1468, one of the parts of Clan Chattan. The clan fought against the MacDonaldsof Keppoch, and then for the Jacobites in the 1715 rising. The two sons of the then laird fought at Preston, but were captured after the battle and one died after becoming ill in captivity while the other was transported - he returned in 1722 but was the reluctant to get involved in the 1745-46 rising, although many Shaws fought at Culloden."
The house is occupied as a private residence so it can't be visited and explored, but nice to see another old building well cared for
It was an interesting low land walk, but on Sunday we headed for something a wee bit higher - TR to follow. Expect good views of rollin'-rollin' hills and two more ancient monuments visited and explored
by ChrisW » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:17 pm
by Bod » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:18 pm
by Lenore » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:11 pm
by dogplodder » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:16 am
by BlackPanther » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:41 am
Actually, Kevin discovered half way through the worst part, that one of his boots was leaking!
Should have tried bog-snorkeling maybe but it was too cold I'll be back in warmer weather
I sat down to write my next report yesterday but encountered an unexpected problem with my Google Picasa account (where I store my photos) - I couldn't log in! All I could get was "service temporarily unavailable, apologies blah-blah-blah" And I have something special for Mr ChrisW (I know he loves rollin-rollin hills...) hopefully today the service will be back to normal so I can post my backlog eventually. Cheers
by The Rodmiester » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:13 pm
by orbitfish » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:17 pm
- Hill Bagger
- Posts: 1
- Joined: Jun 21, 2013
by BlackPanther » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:49 am
orbitfish wrote:Mega Metal Monsters and their Minions have ameliorated the boggy parts and obliterated the route in other places. Tricky route finding where they have completely altered the landscape...follow a gps like OS maps closely
What a shame. It was a lovely low level walk despite the bogs.
I'd still recommend visiting Loch Bunachton, it's a great spot for bird watching, especially grebes
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