The Moorings Hotel on the banks of The Caledonian Canal by Neptune's Staircase
A stunning walk to the vitrified iron-aged fort at Shielfoot Torr. A secret journey through ancient oak woodlands to the knife edge ridge with stunning views over The River Shiel and beyond.
The route to the fortifactions on Shielfoot Torr passes through some lovely deciduous ancient woodland, dominated by gnarled, contorted and/or scrubby oaks which are heavily festooned with lichens. Other arboreal species include holly, birch, rowan, alder and hazel. There is a rich verdant ground flora of bryophytes and lichens, interspersed with clumps of greater woodrush, bilberry, heather bluebell and wood sorrel. It is thought that ShielfootTorr has been wooded since 5000 BC. Many of the trees have since been coppiced or pollarded, a testament to the traditional use of the woodland as a timber and forage resource in the past. Between the two summits of the Torr is an ancient meadow with a long history of cultivation. Other evidence of past workings include charcoal burning platforms, a derelict 19th century cottage, a byre and a well.
The small collection of pre-historic fortifications include an oval shaped univallate fort consisting of a heavily vitrified wall which probably acted as a watch tower. There is also another walled structured attached to the main fort as evidenced by a tumbled stone wall and a small oval enclosure which probably once served as a small dun with timber-lace wall.
This is a magical place affording enchantment, stunning views, prehistoric fortfiications and captivating woodland. It is a great place to watch wildlife including golden eagles,. white tailed eagle and osprey from the high ridge. Look out for the stunning purple hairstreak in August amongst the oask canopy. A fabulous place and well worth a visit!
- Parking is limited on the Shielfoot road, though there is a small space at NM663696. Alternatively, why not walk all the way from Acharacle, or cycle along the delightful wee road just off the A861 by The Shiel Bridge following the banks of the River Shiel.
- The route starts on the east of the Shielfoot road just opposite Shielfoot Organics. Head up the faint path to the left (south) of Bonn na Creige and the small shipping container, following the small stream through an old iron gate into the field between the two summits of The Torr.
- Follow the path through the field to the right and head up the hill keeping to the west side of the hill.
- Continue on the path up the west side of the hill to the summit.
- Take time to explore the iron aged fortifications and dun at the top of the Torr and admire the views over The River Shiel and Kentra Bay.
- Return by the same route taking time to enjoy the ancient Atlantic Oak woodlands.
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- there and back