Dog refused the bridge but BBC liked the next one

Route: Dunphail to Forres

Date walked: 25/11/2020

Distance: 15km

A week after making a pig's breakfast of finding the start point I was heading back for the last section of the Dava Way. No delay issues this time and I was parked ahead of schedule at the entrance to Grant Park, Forres, which was a relief after the previous week's shenanigans. We left one car there and drove to Dunphail to set off with a slight feeling of deja vu, back along the old railway line, this time heading for Forres. It was from the start pleasant and easy walking on a predominantly dry track. We followed the WH directions so I won't go into all the navigational details and let the photos speak for themselves.

In the shade in tree-lined avenue

In the shade in old railway cutting

Touch of frost approaching the pines

In the shade and a few puddles

Birch trees in winter garb etched against a blue sky

Lone turbine

Cows convention

Muddy woodland track

The information board at the Clashdhu crossing is about the hardy men who built the railway. Hundreds were involved, some from as far afield as the west of Scotland and Yorkshire. They lived in camps (like the Californian gold rush) and on pay day made quite a contribution to the hostelries of Forres and Grantown! A common medical complaint was varicose veins from the constant pressure of pushing heavy barrows up and down the embankments. Seems a shame all their effort to produce a railway was only a relatively short lived success.

Clashdhu crossing

Iron bridge over Altyre Burn which dog refused to cross

The bridge that was originally here was demolished when the railway closed and the need for a replacement became a stumbling block in efforts to open the Dava Way. The new iron bridge was finally built in 2004. But it was not to my dog's liking. As with one of my previous dogs, crossing bridges that have gaps showing the drop below is something Keira does not like. Sometimes I manage to coax her over but this one she point blank refused to cross. Fortunately there is a dog friendly alternative. Approaching from the south a narrow path goes off to the right and down to the burn, which can be easily forded at this point. I told Keira to go over which she happily did to find Moira waiting on the other side, and since there was no necessity for me to get wet boots I returned to the track to cross by the bridge.

The next bridge we came to was one to go under not over and it was a far more elaborate affair. The Scurrypool bridge spans the trail and the Altyre burn and is a category B listed building that was constructed in the mid nineteenth century from "rubble with tooled dressings". I'm not sure what rubble with tooled dressings means but from humble sounding beginnings it manages to look impressively solid and grand.

Scurrypool Bridge

On a whim I sent a photo of it to BBC Scotland and to my surprise they published it.

Seeing double - bridge through a bridge

Bridge from other side

At the wonderfully named Squirrel Neuk Bridge we took mud avoiding action up the steps to the dry track above. Friends of ours had walked the waterlogged cutting and said it was worth avoiding.

We had no issues with route finding thanks to WH and occasional good signs



At one point we caught a distant glimpse of what looked like the Sutherland coast. Then we came to a bench with a view which looked just right for a hot drink and sandwich. As we sat there two gents came along, made friends with the dog and stood and chatted for a while. We had pinched their seat but they were very gracious about it and coming from nearby Rafford gave us lots of info about good walks in the area.



Pig farm with signs asking people not to feed them

Although the pigs probably didn't agree with that

Dallas Dhu distillery

The distillery closed in 1983 but was reopened as a visitor attraction in 1988, preserved in full working order as a memorial to traditional distilling.

The only part of the route we weren't sure about was once we were in the outskirts of Forres but we knew we were heading for Sanquhar Loch and that helped..

Sanquhar Loch

I don't think so



Leaving the loch we passed Forres Academy, skirted playing fields and headed for the main street. We had thought about stopping en route home for a coffee at Brodie but found ourselves outside a dog friendly cafe which just happened to have a table for us so what could we do? The proprietor and son were very friendly and the cappucino and chocolate cake were very good too!

From there it was just a short walk along the main street to pick up the car from Grant Park. We both agreed the Dava Way had exceeded all expectations and from the small number of people we met deserves a lot more traffic than it seems to be getting. Maybe it will be busier in spring and summer... although we found late autumn a perfect time for it.

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Comments: 14

I will not feel inclined to trust sat nav again

Attachment(s) Date walked: 16/11/2020
Distance: 10.5km
Views: 345

Not so daft sheep and who was Lady Catherine?

Attachment(s) Date walked: 10/11/2020
Distance: 13.5km
Comments: 2
Views: 452

Glen Falloch twice and honestly loved it

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn a' Chroin
Date walked: 04/11/2020
Distance: 14km
Comments: 6
Views: 742

Unexpected Grey Corrie from Glen Nevis

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Choinnich Mor
Date walked: 14/10/2020
Distance: 16.5km
Comments: 7
Views: 826

Last part of Speyside Way wrapped up with cake at both ends

Attachment(s) Date walked: 08/10/2020
Distance: 21km
Comments: 8
Views: 516

When we battled the wind and time stood still

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a' Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a' Bheithir)
Date walked: 26/09/2020
Distance: 12.5km
Comments: 6
Views: 1060

Birthday celebration in the cloud up Glen Tilt

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Mheadhonach
Date walked: 16/09/2020
Distance: 23km
Comments: 2
Views: 448

Off to Fisherfield to look for Donnie

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Ban
Date walked: 31/08/2020
Distance: 30km
Comments: 12
Views: 1752

Who better to meet on the Pass of the Cattle?

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Sgurr a' Chaorachain
Date walked: 24/08/2020
Distance: 7km
Comments: 8
Views: 865


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Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Dava Way    Great Glen Way    Speyside Way    South Loch Ness Trail    Loch Ness 360   

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