It’s interesting seeking out bits of Scotland’s Old Caledonian Forest. Not that there’s a lot left, but what there is is worth seeing. Much has vanished entirely, more has been well-hidden by the conifers of the Forestry Commission and independent foresters.
But still interesting to find those traces…
After our walk from Kinlochleven up to Craig Varr (see last blog), we drove round the south side of Loch Rannoch to the Forestry Commission’s car park at Carie. A good and pretty start to forest walks, with a rather splendid campsite.
A magnificent wooden footbridge led to a walk up through the wood. Certainly some older hardwood trees at the start, but as you get higher you find yourself amid the same old conifers – though relieved by lovely views up towards Schiehallion.
We were amused by the “grave” of the unknown forester – glad to see the guys have a sense of humour!
Much of the original Caledonian Forest around here was sacrificed after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, under the powers of the Forfeited Estates Commission, who built a sawmill here to take down the trees.
There are some very lovely trees left, descendants of the originals, but you have to seek them out.
It was hereabout that fugitive Jacobites hid after Culloden – and wild country it must have been. Reputedly, the last Scottish wolf perished hereabouts too. There are capercaillie, deer and red squirrels resident, though we didn’t see any, but then it was the middle of the day.
We drove down to Aberfeldy afterward, passing through the little settlement of Dull (twinned with Boring, Oregon) as we went.
This brief stroll inspired a lot of thoughts about Forestry along the way.
But I’ll save those for the next blog.