picnic with the family
(OS Explorer 428: Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton & Applecross 1:25 000)
(OS Landranger 24: Raasay & Applecross, Loch Torridon & Plockton 1:50 000)
This is an excellent short walk, and definitely suitable for families with younger children. It follows an obvious track through woodland. Although steepish there is no hurry and plenty to capture the interest. Start from the road between Torridon and Shieldaig, just to the west of the river bridge (OS 888540) near the Ben Damph bar. There is room for two or three cars to park either side of the bridge but please park carefully as the bridge lies on a bend and visibility is not good. Walk along the verge in the direction of Shieldaig sending the children ahead to find a gap in the rhododendrons where the path begins. The path generally follows the course of the river but climbs faster, leaving it far below.

Follow the path as it winds its way across a number of small streams, until the wood starts to thin out. Look out on your left hand side here as a high waterfall can be glimpsed through the trees. Indeed with care it is possible to walk out along a small spur to get a better view - but keep hold of the kids. Further on the path splits with the right hand fork leading up towards the saddle of Ben Damph. Take the left hand fork and follow the path a short distance until you reach the river - it looks like there was a bridge here once but be warned - there isn't one now!

This is journey's end for this walk (OS 885532), although the path does carry on over the river much further into the heart of the mountains. If you have brought a picnic and the sun is shining then this is the place to stop. Follow the river upstream a few yards and explore the pools. Choose a suitable rock and sit while the kids use up any surplus energy.

To return, simply retrace your route. You will be rewarded with excellent views out across Loch Torridon and up the glen past Liathach to Beinn Eighe. If there has been recent rain take care on the path as wet tree roots can be extremely slippery.

I hesitate to give times for this walk as really you shouldn't hurry. The super fit with no interest in what is around them could reach the fork in the path in under 20 minutes, but allow 45 and enjoy a leisurely stroll. Don't forget your camera. Enjoy!

low level but needs head for heights!
(OS Explorer 433: Torridon - Beinn Eighe & Liathach 1:25 000)
(OS Outdoor Leisure 008: The Cuillin and Torridon Hills, 1:25 000)
(OS Landranger 24: Raasay & Applecross, Loch Torridon & Plockton 1:50 000)


Goat at Rubha na h-Airde Glaise
This walk follows a part of the longer path from Wester Alligin to Diabaig, which is well worth walking in its own right but is one-way and therefore the logistics are more difficult. The route I am suggesting takes you to a point at the head of the narrows, Rubha na h-Airde Glaise - the gap at the west end of Upper Loch Torridon connecting to the more open waters of the outer loch. This "low level" walk does involve a couple of sections where a narrow path crosses a steep slope. It is more exciting than dangerous, but those with a bad head for heights might be better giving it a miss. If you have a dog then take it but please keep it under close control - remember the sheep are the livelihood of local crofters.

This walk commences where the road to Wester Alligin leaves the road from Torridon to Diabaig. If you have a car, park it here taking care not to obstruct the road. There are several ways to pick up the start of the track, none of which is ideal, but I believe there are plans afoot to improve the situation. For now I will describe the most foolproof route. Walk along the road towards Diabaig a few yards past some stone remains, but go off to the left before reaching the cattle grid. Follow the fence line as it rises until you reach a gate. Pass through the gate and then continue with the fence on your left until you reach a second gate in the fence. Here you join the "official" path. Don't go through the gate but follow the path as it leads across the moor. Soon you will see the slope that the path crosses. Take care. At the far end (OS 814572) you will see a path that drops slightly to the left and follows the coast (albeit rather higher up). Take this path and stay with it until eventually you reach the headland with its ruined Inn and closely cropped grass (OS 806566). The path peters out at the end, try to note where you come down for the return trip.

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil This is a beautiful spot in good weather with excellent views all around. Look out for the wild goats that live in this area. If you like, fish from the rocks - in the summer you may well see several small boats seeking the mackerel shoals.

When reluctantly you decide to return seek out the track and retrace your steps. Along the way you will see many signs of times when this land was much more populated.

Four Lochs walk - map reading exercise
(OS Explorer 433: Torridon - Beinn Eighe & Liathach 1:25 000)
(OS Outdoor Leisure 008: The Cuillin and Torridon Hills, 1:25 000)
(OS Landranger 24: Raasay & Applecross, Loch Torridon & Plockton 1:50 000)
This is a smashing walk. These pictures were taken at Christmas in 2005. This is a trackless area of land nestling amongst the beautiful countryside created by the Lewisian Gneiss that is some of the oldest rock on the planet. I present this walk as an exercise in map reading. Arm yourself with one of the maps listed above and a compass, and go in search of the Four Lochs.

Your starting point is at 826591. You can park a car here or at 824596 or 827587. Your mission is to visit the lochs located at: 823590, 815586, 817580 and 819585. Good luck!

links
Ordnance Survey: More information on maps
Pine Marten
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