If you go down to the woods today, you’ll need plenty of time for fun and play! The start of this two-mile loop near Dornoch is guaranteed to keep youngsters – and grown-ups – entertained.
The “play trail” is a natural playground which offers outdoor space to climb, clamber through tunnels, throw hoops over stumps or play giant noughts and crosses. It’s perfect for getting kids enthused by the outdoors.
The figure-of-eight walk that continues from here is also a great wee haven that can be tackled on foot, by bike or even – as I saw on my visit – on horseback.
The Forestry Commission car park is signposted off the single-track Cuthill road to Dornoch from the A9 just north of the Dornoch Firth Bridge. The parking area is tucked away up the forest track, where there’s a noticeboard with information about the area.
Take the path beside the board to follow the nice woodland play trail as it wriggles between the trees and various bits of equipment. Once you’ve spent some time enjoying this section, follow the path to the forest track and turn left to follow the blue markers.
The track swings round to the right and you soon get a glimpse through the trees to the Mannie, that continually controversial statue to the first Duke of Sutherland that seems to be watching over you wherever you are in the county.
Continue along here to the crossroads ahead, where there are some old hut circles just across the track on the right. As the route would pass here on the way back, I decided to explore them later and carry on straight across for now.
A couple of horses were trotting along the other track and a young family were enjoying a day out on their bikes on a morning that was mostly warm and sunny but with a shower or two now and again.
A lovely section follows with open areas and beautiful pine trees, and over to the right you can get a view through to the Dornoch Firth and across to Tain before the track twists left uphill slightly then right.
Look out for a blue marker followed by a left turn onto an initially grassy path that passes through heather and trees as it rises over a tiny hill then bends right.
I crossed paths with the horses again here before continuing to the forestry track where the path emerges.
Turn left to return to the crossroads and explore the hut circles behind a noticeboard, now on the left. There are apparently the remains of 25 hut circles in Camore Wood but this double one is the most obvious of all.
Continue into the woods, bearing right at a bend to follow the track back to the car park. Along here I first heard then saw a large buzzard flying between the trees.
Back at the parking area there are picnic tables – as there are throughout the walk – and if you’ve any energy left you could even return to the play trail.
This little woodland is a great place and there’s plenty to keep all the family entertained and energised!