A stroll in upper Glen Feshie

I’ve heard it said, in fact I think I’ve even seen it written, that Glen Feshie is the finest of all of Scotland’s glens; how you would ever make such an evaluation is beyond me. Even if you’d seen all of them and in all conditions (which I haven’t, on either count; nowhere near), to select a single one as the outright best would be… well, I’m struggling; it would be too much to process. All of that said, I can see why so many have nothing but good things to say about Glen Feshie.

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When that heather comes into bloom…

We started our walk from a small parking area, just before the cattle-grid on the approach to Auchlean. There is actually a more substantial car park a couple of hundred yards further down the road, but we’d left it tucked safely away and causing no obstruction, in the company of a couple of other cars. After no more than a kilometre of tarmac walking, the road ends at a croft and a distinct path continues, left of the property boundary.

The river Feshie is, at this point, a couple of hundred metres or so to the west (right) but it and the path steadily converge. After about one and a half kilometres there is an opportunity to switch to the west bank, by means of a footbridge. This side of the river seemed to be more popular with cyclists but we’d already decided to follow the path on the eastern side, partly because – with future visits in mind – we wanted to look for the trails heading off towards the hills above Loch Eanaich – Carn Ban Mor and Sgor Gaioth. And what a great name for a hill – Sgor Gaioth; it sounds like somewhere Sauron could have located himself, had Escape to the country not been able to fix him up with Mordor.

From a walking perspective, the weather was very agreeable; from a sitting down to lunch perspective, a little less so. There was a nice mix of high cloud and clear blue skies, with the clouds being kept moving by a lively wind. Views and visibility benefitted; the downside was the wind carrying a bit of bite. Choosing the correct lunch spot would be critical: not good news – choosing the correct lunch spot is something we can prevaricate over at the best of times! The optimal flat boulder – out of the wind; in the sun; with views of the hills, the loch, the birds, the river – these decisions are not to be rushed.

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Crossing one of the smaller burns

Thankfully, it sometimes just comes down to dumb luck. We stumbled on a spot, sheltered by pines, but with a view through to the river: flat, mossy, comfortable; and with enough space to rest the tea cups. And once we’d settled and stopped fidgeting, the birds returned.

Lunch was so enjoyable that we discussed the likelihood of finding this same spot again when we returned to Glen Feshie in future; seriously, that conversation actually took place! In all honesty, the idea of returning to the glen with a plan to sit in exactly the same spot did seem just a bit… well, weird.  Anyway, chances are it will all look completely different next time and we’ll search in vain.

It was an out and back walk, no more than about 12 kilometres in total: river on the right on the way out, river on the left on the way back, was about as much navigation as was needed. The paths which leave the glen and cut directly into the hills of Badenoch, look like they will require a bit more attention to detail.

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Mid-stream: for some reason, this almost perfectly formed red granite boulder seemed worth recording


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