The Loch Shiel Hotel is located in centre of the village of Acharacle, just over an hours drive away from Fort william and well situated to explore Ardnamurchan, Mull, The Small Isles and Lochaber.
A lovely walk through a deciduous and plantation woodland with some fine of Glen Spean, Aonach Mor and the Grey Corries.
The walk heads through some lovely sections of mixed deciduous woodland, variously composed of birch, willow (Salix aurita) and rowan, with some particular fine sections of ancient oak woodland. The woodland ground flora includes wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) violets (Viola spp), great woodrush (Luzula sylvatica) hard fern (Blechnum spicant), male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas), lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). The oak woodland is particularly resplendent in Spring and Autumn. Conifers include some fine specimens of Sitka spruce, western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and clumps of fir.
Most of the walk is through plantation forest composed of larch, pine and spruce with an understorey of purple moor grass and scattered ferns. The plantation forest looks particularly resplendent in autumn, with the golds of the deciduous larch, shimmering amongst the evergreen hues of spruce and pine.
There are also some sections of moorland/bog on route, characterised by bog myrtle, heather, rushes and an abundance of mosses. These areas can be boggy underfoot.
There is a rustic bench on route to stop for a rest/drink.
Look out for the tracks and signs of pine marten on route. Scan for raptors soaring along the mountain ridges. Listen out for jay, fieldfare, redwing and mistle thrush feasting on the abundant rowan berries in autumn. Listen out for a range of resident and migrant songbirds in Spring as they establish breeding territories. Look out for dragonflies displaying amongst the bog pools and the flittering of butterflies in Spring and Summer.
- From the A82 at Spean Bridge take a minor road signposted to Coille Aonochain which heads south before running parallel to the River Spean. Look out for a small car park (woodland walk car park) on the right hand side approximately 1km along the minor road with a walk interpretation board.
- Take the signposted route by the car park which heads uphill, passing through the pedestrian wooden gate (adjacent to a metal gate). The track is initially skirted by mixed deciduous woodland with scattered conifers.
- At the junction, take the signposted circular path ahead continuing through deciduous woodland, ignoring the track on the right to Spean Bridge Station. Soon the path heads through larch/pine/spruce plantation.
- At the junction, turn right and then immediately left (a staggered straight on as signposted), passing through a short fenced section, the route marked by green banded posts. Please note that at this stage, the route passes through some boggy areas, some of which are traversed by board walk. The eventually path merges into a gravel track.
- Turn left at the junction and follow the forest track which takes you through a mixture of plantation and upland grassland. Look back on occasion to admire the mountain views.
- At the T- junction , turn left and head up hill. After a short distance, turn right as indicated by the wooden signpost, which takes you across a wooden bridge. Continue on the narrow path through young plantation.
- At the junction with the forest track, turn left and head downhill. The track is initially skirted by plantation forest but then gives way to mixed deciduous woodland.
- Before you reach the metal gate that leads onto the road, take the path on the left which is signposted "Shortcut". This sandy path ascends through a lovely section of oak woodland. Turn right where the path emerges onto the track and descend to the car park, retracing your steps.
starting grid ref: