Active Outdoors
Published: 05/02/2012 00:01 - Updated: 30/01/2012 17:12

Forest trails lead to a perfectly peaceful lochan

Written byBy John Davidson

Lochan Torr an Tuill with a thin layer of ice over much of its surface.
Lochan Torr an Tuill with a thin layer of ice over much of its surface.


Lochan Torr an Tuill

Distance – 3.5 miles

Terrain – forest paths and tracks, boggy in places

Map – OS Explorer 416; forestry map shown on information board at car park

Start/finish – Farigaig Forest, Inverfarigaig, Loch Ness-side

An uphill start rewards with stunning views over Loch Ness

On the quiet side of Loch Ness, the forests around Inverfarigaig provide some of the most beautiful walking in the area.

Whether it’s a short stroll or a full day’s trek you want, the trails offer something for everyone.

Our walk this week follows the Forestry Commission’s green route from the car park at Farigaig, which is signposted off the B852 around eight miles south of Dores.

It was a cold morning when I took the family down here but with a steep hill to climb straight from the start we soon warmed up, following the marker post at the bottom that points to Lochan Torr an Tuill Walk.

Shortly after the sign to a Loch Ness viewpoint (more of which later), and just beyond a little wooden bridge, turn left to follow the green marker up a good forest track. This soon swings back to the right on a hairpin bend (ignoring a grassy track to the left) and climbs gradually through glorious pine trees.

There was a covering of snow on parts of the track where it was exposed to the skies, and it was good to be out in the cold but fresh air. As the track followed a huge curve left and climbed again to a large rock, we were rewarded with spectacular views ahead over Loch Ness to the north and, looking back, the snow-covered hill on the far side of the water was Meall Fuar-mhonaidh.

This was really nice walking and we took our time to enjoy the sounds and the surroundings.

It wasn’t too long before we came upon the lochan, semi-frozen with the trees perfectly reflected in the still water, a beautiful and peaceful place to spend a moment or an hour, depending what time you have to spare.

Beyond the lochan, we kept to the forest track as it descends to the very quiet Gleann Liath road, enjoying the vivid greens of the pines and the lichen and moss-covered branches of this tranquil area.

After the green forestry gate, keep straight ahead where a Rights of Way sign directs you to Foyers via hill path and Inverfarigaig via Boleskine.

The nature of the walk changes here from forest track to a delightful little path which climbs at first through dense forest before emerging in a wonderful bright open area, with young pine trees all around.

Snow covered much of the ground but the path, though very boggy in places, was easy to follow. Go right at a junction where the green route meets the red, following the double markers along the soggy way until the surface eventually improves to a forestry track.

Follow this to a junction at Boleskine, where you keep straight ahead to climb slightly rather than following the route left, which leads eventually to the shore of the loch. Beyond Boleskine, the track improves further and, as it descends alongside a little burn, you are reaching the point where you turned left at the start of the walk.

Instead of taking the direct route down to the car park, we decided to take a little detour to visit the Loch Ness viewpoint that was signposted earlier. If you go left at a fairly large rock as you approach that earlier track junction, there is a way that leads through the mass of rocks and roots to a bench at the viewpoint.

It’s not signed from this side and a variety of trails through the woods make it a bit confusing in places, especially as there are some steep drops around, but it is possible to get there. We ended up bashing through trees and holding onto branches as we went down steep, slippery slopes to find our way!

If you really want to get there, it’s probably best just to keep to the main track and follow the well-made path to the viewpoint from the where it is signposted.

But, to be honest, the best views we had of Loch Ness were earlier in the day, as we headed up towards the lochan. That’s the memory I’ll take away from a great day out in this stunning part of the Highlands.

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