The Moorings Hotel on the banks of The Caledonian Canal by Neptune's Staircase
A lovely walk through mainly coniferous woodland on a forest track with some fine glimpses of Ben Resipol on route, and of Loch Shiel towards the end of the track. There is an optional detour to the edges of Claish Moss approximately 2 miles from the start of the walk.
The forest track supports a mosaic of habitats. The track is lined with a rich herbaceous flora including wood sorrel, wood rushes, bedstraw, bluebell, self heal, creeping buttercup, meadow buttercup, devil's bit scabious, violets, tormentil, lousewort, common milkwort, eyebright, heath speedwell, yellow bartsia, heather, bell heathers, common and heath spotted orchids, as well as gorse, hard fern and shield ferns. There are also some fringing of Calluna heath with purple moor grass and bog myrtle, and some lovely sections through deciduous woodland (mainly rowan and birch, with some hazel, alder, elderberry and whitebeam) that extend up the hillsides. Coniferous trees include larch, pine and spruce. The wetter sections support willow as well as cotton grass and some lovely bryophyte assemblages. There also some lovely small ponds that are well worth peering into in search of their aquatic inhabitants.
Look out for a range of dragonflies and damselflies on route, including four spotted chaser, golden-ringed dragonfly and northern emerald, common hawker, as well as species of blue and red damselfly. There is also the chance of seeing the chequered skipper and fritllaries in late May and early June, as well as whites and browns and day-flying moths throughout the season.
Listen out for a range of woodland birds, including coniferous specialists as well as warblers, and redstarts. Look out for evidence of pine marten on route.
The track is well is gravelled for much of the way and included some short ascends and descents. The track also passes by a derelict cottage long abandoned to vegetation.
Park off the road by the deer gate to the south of Acharacle.
Head through the deer gate and continue along the track for approximatley 3 miles.
The track eventually divides as marked on the OS map. Take the left fork for approximatley 100 metres before it evetually peters out.
You can continue along the faint forest/stalkers path for a short way for some good views over Loch Shiel.
Return by the same route.
If you wish to walk to Claish Moss then take a small track/path to the south of the main track at NM704671. Although the detour passes along defined forest rides, there is no path and walking can be difficult.
The track descends downhill eventually joining a forest ride. Turn right where the ride joins up with a wider one and follow this for approximately 400m. This ride meets up with a deer fence and gate giving access to Claish Moss. The old Scottish Natural Heritage interpretation board can be seen on the moss to the north, though access is not possible. Walking out onto Claish Moss if difficult and can be dangerous and is not advised. Return to the main track by retracing your steps.
starting grid ref:
- there and back