Stunning glens are perfect places to stroll
ANYBODY who has travelled between Tyndrum and Dalmally over the past two years or so, either by road or rail, can’t fail to have noticed the construction of the River Lochy and Eas a Ghaill hydro schemes on the National Forest Estate east of Dalmally, writes Helen Watt.
Renewable energy is now seen as a core part of what Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) delivers and what a contribution this is to Scotland. We generate 20 per cent of Scotland’s onshore wind capacity; we trigger a quarter of all community benefit payments; we produce enough energy for more than half a mil- lion households and we displace about one million tonnes of CO2 each year.
This also plays a vital role in contributing to our financial sustainability, bringing in more than £10 million of revenue each year.
But construction of a renewable energy scheme, whether that’s wind or hydro, not only brings all the above benefits, but once construction is complete, FCS resumes the land from the developer and continues management of the forest.
In Glen Lochy, just a bit further up the road from the hydro powerhouse, is Strone Hill, a nat- ural resting place for the weary traveller. For centuries, Strone echoed to the bellow of cattle and the bleating of sheep as drovers rested here on their journey through Gleann Lòchaidh (the Glen of Dark River).
The trails pass through oak, birch and rowan woodland which provide brilliant colour in spring and autumn and welcome shade for summer picnics (or to shelter from the rain – at least the hydro project folks will be happy). Both the Waterfall Woods Trail and An Darach Ruadh Trail have viewpoints over the waterfalls, which are particularly dramatic when the river is in spate – perhaps we should hope for wet weather!
If you go on the An Darach Ruadh Trail, look out for the amazing ‘aerial tree’.
It’s thought that the tree grew over another stump which has now rotted away, leaving behind the original tree which looks as if it is dancing on its roots.
Why not make it a round trip and return through Glen Orchy? It’s only a few miles from Tyndrum and Dalmally, but this historic glen feels a world apart. Rob Roy’s mother was born here and, today, it’s home to the most southerly remnant of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian forest, the Allt Broighleachan forest reserve.
However, Glen Orchy has plenty to explore besides the forest. The Orchy is a majestic river and very popular for walking, kayaking and fishing. Halfway down the glen, Eas Urchaidh (Falls of Orchy) has car parking near the magnificent waterfall and a new forest path along the riverside. It’s a great put-in spot for kayakers but it’s also a delightful walk along the river.
Whether you’re looking for adventure on the mountains and the rivers or a serene site for a gentle stroll, a paddle and a peaceful picnic, both glens have it all.
A serene site for a stroll or adventure in the mountains.