Loch Affric – A Willow Adventure

We haven’t been up Loch Affric in over 20+ years but up we went a few days ago.  I hate single track roads so vowed it would be at least another 20 years before we came back. 

Willow has never been there, so somewhere else for her to explore.  Although it was an overcast day, it was stunning – and Willow was so excited.  We parked at the top carpark and did the couple of walks there – well in Willows case, run as far as her lead will let her and then wait impatiently for us. 

Willow viewing Loch Affric from afar

I’d forgotten how stunning Loch Affric was.  If you look carefully at the right hand side, about the middle of the picture above you will see “Willow the Explorer” popping her head up above the heather – I think trying to work out how to get down to the loch.  She does love these big panoramas – you see her just standing, looking around, working it all out and absorbing her surroundings.  We all should take a lesson from her.

We really picked a lovely time to visit.  The heather was out in full bloom and was a beautiful shade of lilac.

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We were full of great intentions – find a bench and sit out and eat our picnic lunch.  The warning bells should have gone off – there were loads of benches free.  Within seconds we were under attack.  Water, trees, why didn’t we work it out sooner – midgies!!!  Thousands of them. So back to the car it was.

The afternoon stroll was along the River Walk.  While not giving the huge panorama of the viewpoint trail – it still had some fantastic scenery.  The heather was providing a carpet of lilac, interspersed with pine trees.  I’ve walked through many woods but this was really different.  It really did feel like walking in an ancient pinewood.

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Our first glimpse of the river was of a dark almost glass like wide ribbon cutting its way through a swathe of heather and Scots Pine trees.  It had a white film on the water, giving an amazing pattern as it flowed down the main river, and then congregated at the riverbank.  The rest of the water was fast flowing but calm, not like the view you would get a short distance further on.  There was the river in full flow cavorting over small rocks and creating lots of white froth.

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Now, we did get a choice here.  Take the Easy Route, or that the Rocky Route.  The rocky route followed the river.  We were not going to go that way with a very excited, 3 legged Labrador.  She may well have been able to swim happily in the river – we weren’t!  Right at the end of the Rocky Route I saw this lovely flat waterfall and decided to photograph it.  I struggled to pick a way across to a stone platform, but no, couldn’t find a way up.  After all that effort all I heard from Ian was “can’t you just go back along this path?”  And yes, if I did walk along the end of the Rocky Route path it did take me straight to a great viewpoint.

Small Waterfall lowres

So, a short walk back to the carpark and one very excited dog back into the car.

Oh, and the resolution that it’ll be at least another 20 years before I visit – forget that – there’s Affric in autumn colours yet to come, and another 2 carparks with walks for Willow to explore.  We may be a regular visitor.

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