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Days Out in the Forest & Walks with Wheels

Posted by True Highlands in Kit and Caboodle | 0 comments

One of my favourite type of walk are ones through the forest. Discovering hidden pathways, suddenly coming across an amazing view and lots of wildlife to be seen. Here are a few suggestions which are also suitable for buggys and wheelchairs.

You will note that the headings for each walk are also a link. Click on the heading and it will take you to the web-site for that particular walk where you will find a lot more detail, maps etc.

With the nice weather we are experiencing (stay with me here…) and school holidays looming, getting out and about is definitely on the “to do” list!

The Marble Line Path on Skye

The Marble Line Path follows the line of an old railway track between Broadford and the Strath Suardal marble quarries. It is suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs & young children. This part of Skye is made primarily of Durness limestone – very different from the volcanic and metamorphic rocks that make up most of the rest of the island. It is near to here that Skye Marble is still mined today and the old marble quarries themselves are very interesting to explore. The walk is around 8 miles return so makes for a full day out.

Caledonian Canal, Loch Ness

The walk is along the old towpath of the Caledonian Canal and starts at Fort Augustus and ends at Kytra Lock. Here you will find a picnic area, so make sure you pack some supplies!

The walk is a 5 mile round trip on a firm, flat towpath, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. Come back the same way you go, as the other side does not have a complete path.

Garmouth Viaduct, Moray

This is a relatively short route of just 1 mile. It is all level and perfect for buggys and wheelchairs. Short enough also, for small children and perhaps those with restricted walking mobility. Do watch out for Ospreys fishing on the Spey between April and October!

To make a longer trip you can head to the coast. The Moray Ways website says it isn’t suitable for wheelchairs. A bit of digging and I found the site for Walks With Wheelchairs who say it is. Having spoken to someone locally, it seems to be a slightly rougher track but fine for buggys and wheelchairs, if dry, you are confident and have someone with you.

 

Sunart Oakwoods, Ardnamurchan

Sunart Woods have some of the most spectacular scenery on the west and wildlife too! It is common to see seals and herons and for those of you who are patient, you may even see an otter from the viewing hide. It is just a mile and easily accessible for wheelchairs the whole way. The viewing hide has viewing slots at all heights! A wee tip – take some midge repellent if going on a still, warm day.

Culag Woods, Assynt, Sutherland

The woods have been leased to the community since 1992. They have worked hard to create a network of paths including a sculpture trail, the heron-viewing project, the tepee and children’s play area. There is also lots of wildlife to be spotted including the cheeky pine marten!

The paths are not all ability, but those used to slightly rougher paths and gradients will manage. Buggys and some wheelchairs have already done some of the paths. Do call to check if unsure.

 

Dunnet Forest, Caithness

Dunnet Forest is the UK Mainlands most northerly community woodland. The charity who manage it are continually improving it for everyone and have created a 2km all abilities walk, a sculpture trail and volunteers help to clear invasive vegetation, plant new trees and help re-structure the path network. Definitely worth supporting with a visit.

Glencoe Lochan

An easy low level walk around Glencoe Lochan has some amazing scenery including the Pap of Glencoe, often seen reflected in the water. There are plenty of benches, so take a picnic and platforms for fishing in the loch. The trees around the lochan were planted by Lord Strathcona, in an attempt to make his Canadian wife feel more at home in the Highlands. Unfortunately she wasn’t to be assuaged and they emigrated to Canada. But there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying them!

 

Morangie Forest Walk, Ross-shire

A large part of this walk is in open forest, climbing steadily to a moorland plateau at 800ft. Here there are superb views to the Dornoch, Cromarty and Moray Firths so pack your binoculars! There is a new circular nature trail path laid out and it is suited to wheelchairs. It’s about 3km so a good day out! Remember to take water! If you go when the wind is easterly, you’ll be treated to the fumes from the nearby Glenmorangie Distillery! (Personally I think it smells like Weetabix with hot milk…)

This is just a small selection of walks for everyone including those with wheels and more are being created all the time, often by groups of volunteers. Let us know if you find a particularly good one and we’ll save them up for another blog in the future!

One group I came across was Highland Disabled Ramblers who have an extensive list of walk they have done.

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