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Waterfalls and Wade's Walk.

Uploaded by The Rambler Man on Oct 14, 2014
Region: United Kingdom

Route type: Other
Distance: 4.85km, 3.01 miles.   (5)

About trip

Minimum Time: 1hr 30mins Ascent: 600ft Difficulty Level: 1 - Easy Paths: Well-made paths, forest tracks, no stiles Landscape: Plantation and semi-wild forest Dog Friendliness: Off lead in forest Parking: Forest Enterprise picnic place at road end, behind Inchree Public Toilets: Corran Ferry - bypass ferry queue and turn left into car park (Note: Timber felling over the next few years may affect parts of the route, but the first stage to the waterfalls should remain accessible throughout. Contact Lochaber Forest District on 01397 702184 for details) While you're there: The West Highland Museum in Fort William, is old-fashioned, with interesting items in display cases rather than screens and storyboards. There is a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair, as well as a secret picture of him that has to be viewed via a polished metal cylinder. Where to eat and drink: The Corran Inn, at Corran Ferry, has an unpretentious bar with good food and friendly atmosphere (dogs are welcome). The furry creature above the bar is not, as one visitor described it, a ‘small Scottish bear’; it’s a pine marten, wearing the tie of the Newtonmore shinty team. Directions: At the bottom corner of the car park is a well-built path marked by a blue (An Drochaid) waymarker. A field on its right gives views out across Loch Linnhe. The path then crosses a footbridge to enter woodland before running gently uphill, through birchwoods with clearings of heather and grass. The Inchree waterfalls appear ahead, falling through a steep gorge lined with rhododendron. There are seven waterfalls, though only the top three are visible from here. They are particularly fine after heavy rain. The path turns uphill, staying about 100yds (91m) from the falls, but with fine views of them, particularly from two viewpoint spurs on the right. Where the path is carved into the hillside it shows the underlying lumpy white quartzite, the same rock that gives a whitish appearance to the tops of the hills above Glen Nevis. Above the second viewpoint, the path bends left. Here a small path runs ahead through boggy ground. This is aiming for the top of the upper fall, but it isn’t recommended as the rocks alongside the fall are unsafe (wet quartzite is slippery) and you don’t actually get a better view of the water. Not far above, the path runs up to a forest road. Turn left along this. At a junction, the downward path, with red-and-white waymarkers, is a short-cut back to the car park. Your route turns uphill to the right, with a red waymarker. The wide path runs up under gloomy larches, with clearings formed by windblow. In economic terms it makes sense to keep planting, even where there is a slight risk of losing trees in this way. Unusually stormy winters since 1999 have made trees more vulnerable than the planters of 30 years ago, before global warming, could have expected. A stream runs up beside the track, which bends left to cross it. As it reaches more open ground above, it is running along the line of one of General Wade’s military roads (see Walk 22). This one ran from Corran Ferry to Corrychurrachan and Fort William. There’s really only one way to build a basic road without tarmac. The new path illustrates the Wade technique of jammed stones, covered with finer gravel, and shows it particularly clearly as here the jammed stones are whitish quartzite while the overlying gravel is reddish granite. The path joins the end of a forest road, with a quarry on the left. Bear left on a crossing track and, in 100yds (91m), keep ahead as another forest track runs in from the right. Red waymarkers indicate the correct track. The wide, smooth road heads downhill, with views across Loch Linnhe. A ravine on the left has been left to regenerate with a mixture of wild species and plantation escapees. The Sitka spruce is not native to Scotland, but the effect is pleasingly wild. The slope above the forest road was clear-felled in 2002. A skyline cable was used to bring felled trees down the steep slope. This strong wire cable mounted on a standing tree trunk has to be high enough to keep the felled tree’s butt above the ground on the way down, but not so high that the leverage pulls the standing tree down. The felled tree is hauled downhill by an operator in a tractor on the forest road. If the haul-in cable should break, the suddenly released end is very dangerous, and so the tractor cab is armoured for protection. If the haul-back cable breaks, the felled tree starts coming very fast, and the operator has to drop the sky line very quickly. On a very steep slope like this one, the actual felling is the most skilled and demanding part of the job. Chainsaw operations are kept to a minimum - the trees are simply dropped to await the winch operation. Drop them wrong and they tangle up together, making the winch operation impossible. After clear-felling, replanting will be less purely commercial than last time around. The grey-green blocks of spruce will be broken up with larch. The forest road bends to the right, with a bench that, until the branches grow in, will give a distant view of Inchree waterfalls. Turn down left on a steep path, which soon levels out to a footbridge. On reaching buildings, keep straight ahead under a narrow tree-belt to the car park.

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