A dog friendly walk from DogPeople

A dog-friendly walk from DogPeople
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Strathpeffer, View Rock, Rogie Falls, Loch Na Crann and Achterneed circular (11 medium)

Hamish walked this route whilst staying at Blackmuir Wood, Strathpeffer (Northern Scotland region). The walk starts from the nearby public car park for Blackmuir Wood, grid ref NH 4795 5733.  The entrance to the wood and car park is at the western end of Strathpeffer by the old youth hostel building on the A834.  Hamish was able to be off the lead for the majority of this walk.

Leave Blackmuir car park on main track and walk to the main road (A834). TURN LEFT, cross main road with care and pass Kinellan Drive on your right hand side (RHS).  TURN RIGHT on road sign posted public footpath to Garve and no through road to Kinellan. 

Continue ahead to pass modern circular wooden house on your left hand side (LHS).  TURN LEFT on public footpath to Garve along LHS of Loch Kinellan.  Keep ahead on clear track beyond loch towards tree line.  Go through metal gate (or over stile with dog flap).  Turn immediately LEFT up a clear but unmade path away from the main track going uphill towards corner of wood.

You soon reach another main (made up) track - TURN LEFT.  After about 50 metres pass wooden marker post with stags head engraved on it.  Go ahead through substantial metal kissing gate beyond which the track becomes rougher.

Follow track to reach finger post, TURN LEFT on path towards View Rock (ahead would be Contin and Garve).  Just after you turn note green marker post.  We saw deer on the next section of the walk through the wood before the hairpin bend around the head of the little valley.  Follow the mostly made up path through the wood.  You pass a bench to the left of the path with good views over Loch Achility and beyond - we sat a while and saw a Red Kite.

Continue on up the path to a green marker post by a fork in the paths - either path will take you to View Rock where the views are even better!  Leave via the path at the back of the rock noting another green marker post (and an abandoned vehicle when we walked).  Follow a clear path down through the woods (noting occasional green markers).

Keep ahead following green marker posts as you exit the wood.  Keep to the more main path passing the remains of another abandoned vehicle on your LHS.  TURN RIGHT at main track (close to Contin Forest car park) signposted to Garve and Strathpeffer, (left signed to Contin).  Follow clear forest track past a rendered building and a green marker post with green and blue bands.

At fork in track where a lesser path goes right (signposted Strathpeffer) KEEP LEFT on main track signposted to Garve (the blue route).  Grid ref here NH 4525 5765.  Continue ahead at next fingerpost to Garve (not left to river walk). 

Just beyond that sign, with a bench on the LHS keep to main track ahead and slightly left (not right on track through metal barrier).  Remember this point, as you will be returning here later on. 

Follow track through a series of bends.   TURN LEFT as indicated by a green arrow marker to Rogie Falls (still on the blue route).  Follow a fence to suspension bridge to admire the falls

When ready to leave retrace your steps away from the falls back along the blue route.  At main track junction TURN RIGHT as signed to Contin (not left signed to viewpoint 75m).   Follow track back to the track you noted earlier and TURN LEFT - opposite a forest track 'lay-by' with a bench beside it.  Go uphill through the metal barrier gate, then steadily uphill.

At top of hill note stags head marker with a path joining from your right (there is also a less clear path going left).  CONTINUE AHEAD on main track towards Loch na Crann then beyond it (the owner of Coul House Hotel - with its dog friendly bar and great food - told us the loch is covered by Water Lilies in early summer).  Climb steadily uphill through a series of bends to reach a fork in the track.  Take the RIGHT HAND slightly downhill fork (just down the track on the RHS there is a fallen stags head marker post).  Follow track through a double uphill hairpin bend to reach a wooden finger post.  Follow sign to Achterneed and Strathpeffer (NH 4664 5914 and about 600 feet elevation here).

As track forks take RIGHT HAND fork to pass stags head marker just after you turn.  The track soon descends and provides a view of the Cromarty Firth before reaching a fence.  Bear RIGHT in front of fence and follow track downhill. Then TURN LEFT as fence line does always keeping the fence on your LHS.  Continue ahead to Achterneed and Strathpeffer. We had to follow a short diversion when we walked due to fallen tress.

Continue down to a T-junction of tracks.  TURN RIGHT as indicated by fingerpost to Achterneed and Strathpeffer.  Pass by metal gate then through sawmill to join a track over a stream bridge, note finger post Achterneed and Strathpeffer.At T-junction with metalled road by houses TURN RIGHT as indicated to Strathpeffer 1 mile.  Follow road to junction with major road (A834) and TURN RIGHT to Strathpeffer keeping to pavement on RHS.  After a short distance, just before stream, TURN LEFT and cross road with care to join track on opposite side.  Note wooden fingerpost signed to Strathpeffer ? and Knockfarrel. 

Follow track with stream on your RHS, cross streams where two join then TURN RIGHT as indicated to Strathpeffer along course of old railway line.  Follow the track bed via a kissing gate to the old Victorian station.  Join main road and TURN LEFT.

Pass car park on your LHS (this is where the Blackmuir woods walk joins).  Pass Spa Pavilion on your LHS; keep on up and out of the town (pavement on RHS is best as it goes all the way).  Near top of hill, as road bears left, TURN LEFT and cross road (in front of old youth hostel) as marked by wooden fingerpost to 'Forest Trail Knockfarrel and Dingwall'.  Follow track to reach Blackmuir Woods car park or lodges. 

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