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Scottish Hill Track 329, Strathrory to Dalnaclach circular walk

By Julian Paren

Each year a walks programme is organised for members of Scotways - the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society. Besides being a social activity and led by a local member, the opportunity is taken to check up on the signage and the state of a Hill Track and exploring whether any maintenance is required. Scottish Hill Track 320 is a 7 km linear link from Strathrory to Dalnaclach. The opportunity was taken to create a circular walk starting from the Forestry Commission’s Aldie Burn car park and traversing the Morangie Forest from east to west before heading down into Strath Rory. This forest section was mainly on wide fit-for-purpose forestry roads (which are also used in the winter Snowman Car Rally), but with local knowledge a detour was made to pass old inhabited sites now buried within the forest.

The leaders of the walk had a vast knowledge of all the archaeology that could be seen if the vegetation and woodland had not been so dense, and others on the walk were experts in the flora and fauna. Pine marten scats, flowers in the Aven family, chickweed wintergreen, “fox and cubs” all provided a reason to slow the pace and discuss the finds.

The drove road in Strath Rory was a delight and apparently used by D of E expeditioners for their hiking qualifications. The walk whetted the appetite for a return in the autumn to visit the fort at Cnoc an Duin below which the Strath Rory path passes. The contrast between a managed forest and a path through a once-frequented glen was striking. I would have preferred to have been a drover than a forester!

The walk ended at Dalnaclach and a car took the walkers the few miles back to the Aldie Burn car park.

Walk length 19.3 km Time taken 6 hour with stops for archaeology and assessing flowers.

Scottish Hill Tracks describes the final 7 km of the route as follows:

Scottish Hill Track 320 Strathrory to Dalnaclach

7 km/4 miles OS Sheet 21 Start NH 667778 Finish NH 733763

This route was part of a network of old drove roads leading from Caithness and Sutheriand to Milton and Kildary. The start is signposted to Dalnaclach on the B 9176, on a bend just north-east of the Strathrory Bridge. There is parking space for a dozen cars. Take the track SE, down to the Strathrory River, and then the right fork through a gate. Shortly after this the stony track changes to a grassy, and sometimes boggy, indistinct path alongside the river. Many of the boggy places and burns have boardwalks or bridges. Pass south of Cnoc an Duin to a derelict cottage at Coag. Just before Scotsburn House take a left fork which Ieads between the edge of farmland and mixed woodland to a car park (6-8 cars) at the white croft house of Dalnaclach.
You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page Link .

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Wed, 4 Jul 2018 at 14:36
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geotagged! NH7177
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