The Holiday, Part 3

Part 1 of this tale is here

Part 2 can be read here

Where were we… Grummore?

Teddy was feeling the cold in the night and came to join us in our bed, still neglecting to use the lovely new cat bed that we had bought for him.

We waved goodbye to our friendly hosts and said au revoir to Loch Naver. Our day’s destination was to be Rosehall (not to be confused with Rosal, where we were yesterday) only 34 miles away, with plenty of time pencilled in to do any necessary shopping in Lairg.

I was in two minds about stopping at Lairg. Neither of us wished to shop but one of our Sanday neighbours had recently moved to Lairg and there was an invitation for coffee and cake… overall we thought it unfair, what with dog and cat on board, so we kept on going to a woodland area that Mr L had spotted on a map or leaflet somewhere (he could not quite recall) and I am so pleased that we did.

What a joy the Ferrycroft Visitor Centre was! A real exemplar. We bought birthday cards from the good selection on offer and collected a few useful leaflets. They sold decent coffee and good ice cream too ūüôā

We set off in slightly overcast conditions, warm and humid, to walk Nell in the woods along the loch. The longer loch-side trail that we had wanted to do was closed due to fallen trees from last winter’s storm damage (the major theme of our trip, it seems). We attempted to make our way but were beaten back in the end to complete the shorter trail… in time to almost escape the rain that came on.¬†We detected very few midgies, which was a great relief.

sights (1 of 1)

The grounds around the visitor centre are populated with wood carvings of various beasts. The¬†hairy coo in the featured image¬†was our only sighting of anything like a Heilan’ Coo in our whole week! I head set off from Orkney uttering the words: “a photo of a lone hairy coo is de rigeur for this trip!Not a one. Nowhere.

The only Dragonfly that we saw was the carved wooden one
The only Dragonfly that we saw was the carved wooden one

We passed by the Dragonfly Pond but there was nothing on the wing, though we did enjoy meeting the frog.

Hello Mr Frog!
Hello Mr Frog!

Rosehall forest was scheduled for overnighting but we called in at Raven’s Rock Gorge on our way as I had been seduced by its description on the Forestry leaflet.

[su_quote cite=”Forestry Commission Scotland” url=”http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/ravens-rock”]

Uncover the secrets of Raven’s Rock

The forest at Raven’s Rock is a beautiful mixed woodland enclosing a magical steep-sided gorge. Follow the suspended boardwalks and bridges across waterfalls and dark mysterious pools to unexpected viewpoints and atmospheric picnic places. Lush green mosses and ferns hang from the gorge walls and plump blaeberries cover the forest floor in summer. This gorgeous hidden gem is full of secret surprises and loved by all who come here.[/su_quote]

rrg (1 of 1)

We strolled¬†up to the viewpoint, where I was enthralled by the carved wood “sofa” bench. ¬†We could see in the bottom of the gorge that many trees had been brought down in the winter.

Wind-felled trees at the bottom of the gorge have been tidied - traces left show the amount of damage
Wind-felled trees at the bottom of the gorge have been tidied – traces left show the amount of damage

A second viewpoint had a similar but different bench, sporting an Otter. Here we set off once more on the longer trail… only to find it closed by further storm damage. The damage was major, involving land slippage, and it appeared both impossible to navigate and dangerous to try. We picked our way back ¬†and did the shorter/easier route to the bottom of the gorge instead. Nell found an old boot to play with while we pondered the bear and his place here.

When we arrived back at the car park, Mr L asked how we might possibly have missed this:

Click for larger view
Click for larger view

The answer we arrived at was that the hastily-applied addendum had appeared in-between our setting off and returning. Somehow we had coincided with other walkers but not managed to cross their path.

Lovely place, well worth a visit and when we went, there were very few midges. The rain came on in the last hundred metres and failed to spoil our fun.

Rosehall Trails is just a few minutes further down the road from Raven’s Rock.

[su_quote cite=”Forestry Commission Scotland” url=”http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/rosehall”]

Rouse your senses at Rosehall

Rosehall is a welcoming forest with a network of interesting trails and an impressive log cabin created by the community. It’s on the site of a walled deer park, where Rosehall estate once kept herds of fallow and sika deer. Descendants of the sika still browse in the woods, and the old carriage routes have found a new use as trails; ideal for walking and cycling. [/su_quote]

The Cabin
The Cabin

Actually, far from being a “welcoming forest” the first thing that we saw after noticing the lovely log cabin was this:

NO
NO

That presented an issue. Actually it was the third thing that we spotted as in the pretty log cabin we had noticed a couple busy barbecuing their sausages. We chatted for a while Рthey came here often and their advice was that nobody would actually mind nor would anyone bother us. So we chanced it and put down the stabilisers.

Maybe?
Maybe?

We did the Pine Marten Trail ¬†in damp conditions before bed and a very peaceful night’s sleep. ¬†It was a good stretch of the legs, with some significant uphill sections and a few views. We saw no deer nor any Pine Marten but we did enjoy the section in the “Wild Woods” where colourful paintings bore poems about the beasts that we might have seen.

Welcome to the Wild Wood
Welcome to the Wild Wood

The midgies were present on the walk but bearable. They cranked up their activities later and we watched them besieging the van before we drew the blinds.

A couple of dog walkers came through while we were cooking dinner but no complaints were made or eyebrows raised, so we went to bed. Mr L had the brilliant idea of closing the screen between the bedroom and living area, to keep Ted out. It worked. Nell slept like the dead – she’d had five walks this day.

In the morning the rain had stopped but the midges were still very active, so instead of doing another of the trails we decided to leave and move on. I stopped just long enough (Smidge-applied) to pop out and grab shots of the log cabin, its lovely living roof, and the nearby pond.

 

The Pond
The Pond

Part 4 coming up soon

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