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Glenborrodale on the Ardnamurchan peninsula is the RSPB’s most westerly reserve and managed for its oak woodlands. This is a pleasant walk through deciduous woodland onto heath/moorland on the north shore of Loch Sunart, with excellent views over Loch Sunart.
A good spot for raptors on the hills (golden eagles, merlins), small passerines (redstarts, skylarks, warblers and flycatchers) in the woods and coastal birds (oyster catchers, sandpipers) on the mudflats of Loch Sunart. If you are lucky, you may see signs, or even a glimpse of red squirrel, pine marten, red deer and wild cat. Look out for otter, seals, porpoises on the shore or open waters of Loch Sunart. In Spring, the woodlands are full of wild flowers, including bluebells, primroses, wood anemones and wood sorrel.
Generally on well defined paths, but with a fairly steep ascent and descent and some muddy sections. There is also a section along the road at the end.
1. Park at car park at Glenborrodale on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. There is an interpretation board at the car park showing the route and giving some information on the site.
Take the way marked path ascending steeply through Atlantic oak woodland with Calluna-Vacciniun understory and with Erica tetralix in the wetter areas. There is also an abundance of bryophytes, lichens and epiphytic ferns on route. Look back on occasion for excellent views of Loch Sunart, and ahead for views of heather and birch-clad hills.
2. The path cuts through an open grassy area with young birch encroachment and bracken in places. Keep right where the path diverges. Alternatively, take the short detour on the left to a viewpoint, and return by the same route.
3. The walk soon begins to descend into a very boggy area characterized by Calluna and tussock grasses in the slightly drier areas, and Erica tertalix, bog myrtle (Myrica gale), sedges and rushes, pondweed (Potamogeton species) and bryophytes in the wetter areas. There are some boardwalk sections on route. Look out for dragonflies, such as the endemic Highland darter (Sympetrum nigrescens) and the bog pool specialist, northern emerald (Somatochlora artica).
4. At the end of the boardwalk section, the path passes by a steep sided ravine, a wonderful microhabitat composed of mosses, liverworts and ferns, shaded by oak and hazel. The path begins to descend, staying with the stream for a short distance. This section of the walk affords excellent views of Loch Sunart.
5. The route then descends through a fine oak woodland strewn with an abundance of bryophytes and lichens (with particularly well developed Lobarion communities), passing by a fence line. This section can be very slippery and tricky to negotiate.
6. At the bottom of the path, turn left on the road. Walk along the road back to the car park admiring the coastal views and wildlife on route.
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