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Flowerdale Forest from Shieldaig croft

By Toby Speight

This year, most of my Geographing has been done by kayak, with only a handful of contributions from walking trips. Mindful of this, and of the approaching stag stalking season, I decided it was time to photograph on foot.

I began at Shieldaig (not to be confused with its larger namesake to the south) and set off on a very good stalkers' path. The first hour or so was quite easy, but not good preparation for what was to follow. I experienced quite a change when I left the path, immediately crossing the Horrisdale river. Unfortunately, I found my self unexpectedly seated about halfway across. I would be spending the rest of the day with squelchy feet.

I headed roughly southwest in my soggy boots across almost equally soggy landscape.NG8068 : Grass, heather and myrtle by Toby Speight No large-scale features until I reached another, smaller burn. This one was showing the effects of the remnants of a hurricane that passed over earlier in the week. Floodwaters had undercut the banks in several places, giving me an excellent opportunity to illustrate post-glacial geomorphology in action.NG7967 : Stream-bank erosion by Toby Speight

A wiggling course took in the squares on my hit-list, and I was soon on the slopes overlooking Craig.NG7964 : Hillside above Craig by Toby Speight I ascended, passing alongside Lochan Sgeireach,NG8063 : Lochan Sgeireach by Toby Speight to gain the northern slopes of Beinn Bhreac,NG8163 : On Meall an Tuim Bhuidhe by Toby SpeightNG8365 : Northern outcrop of Creag Bhreac by Toby Speight then contoured round before dropping to Loch a' Bhealaich.NG8664 : Loch a' Bhealaich by Toby Speight Rough going alongside the loch alternated with a few easy sand beaches, until I regained the stalkers' path near the outflow. From there I squelched easily back down to the road, though the outlet of Loch Gaineamhach was tricky - the bridge lay washed away a quarter mile downstream and the stepping stones were well covered. I thought I might be exchanging the day's warm boot-water for a fresh cold refill!

Distance covered 38 km and ascent of 1490 m. You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page LinkExternal link .

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Thu, 11 Sep 2014 at 21:43
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