The Moorings Hotel on the banks of The Caledonian Canal by Neptune's Staircase
The Salen Alphabet Trail provides an interesting introduction to the importance of nature and plants to the Gaelic culture. The information boards in the car park introduce the Gaelic alphabet which has eighteen letters, each of which is associated with a species of tree. The walk also affords some lovely views of Ben Resipole and Loch Sunart. There is also a picnic bench near the car park.
Look out for a range of woodland birds, including coal tits, siskins, crossbills and woodpeckers in the plantation, as well as the tracks and signs of pine marten and wild cat on the heath. Scan the sky for buzzards, ravens, and golden eagles. The lochan is also a good site for dragonfly stalking in the summer; look out for the highland darter (Sympetrum nigrescens).
1. Park at the car park just south east of Salen on the A861. Take the gravelled track by the picnic bench and then take the left hand path around the edge of the lochan (Lochan na Dunaich). The lochan is particularly lovely in summer when the water lilies (Nymphaea alba) are in full bloom and dragonflies are on the wing.
2. Once you have looped round the lochan, turn left and, after 200m, turn right onto a track leading uphill through a plantation (sitka spruce and larch) and onto open heathland. At the top of the track, take the left hand loop of the path which heads around the heath/moorland. The path is generally distinct, affording fantastic views of Ben Resipole and Loch Sunart on a fine day.
3. Return by the same forest track, and then turn left to return on the gravelled track to the car park.
There is also a covered rustic outdoor ‘school’ (Salen Forest School) and composting loo on site which can be explored at the bottom of the forest track.
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