Beinn Dubhchraig Forest Walk

Saturday 23rd November 2019

Distance: 12kms - Duration: 4hrs 30mins - Group Size: 11

Walk Leader - Pat

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The lower eastern slopes of Beinn Dubhchraig from the Allt Gleann Auchreoch up to about the 450m contour height are lined by two distinct bands of forest; to the north of the Allt Coire Dubhchraig lies an ancient forest of Scots Pine, and to the south, a commercial forest of pine trees. Taken together, the walk through the Scots Pine forest and the abundant waterfalls along both the course of the Allt Coire Dubhchraig and the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, combine to make this an extremely enjoyable walk with fantastic scenery throughout. An added bonus today was the fact that, since replacing the old, very rickety, and some might say, outright dangerous bridge across the Allt Gleann Auchreoch with a fine new footbridge work had also been done to create a path across the once boggy wasteland on the approach to the new bridge - no more soaked boots right at the start of the walk - great!

That said, it is still a rough climb up through the Scots Pines, but the rewards are worth it. the old trees are magnificent, and the waterfalls keep appearing and disappearing as you rise up through the forest alongside the Allt Coire Dubhchraig, and contrary to some guide books, which take the route in a clockwise circuit, it is far better done, as we did, in an anti-clockwise circuit, as you then approach the waterfalls head on and to best advantage.

The upper slopes of Beinn Dubhchraig were shrouded in cloud, with just the hint of a snow covering showing below the cloud; and confirmation of summit conditions was gained from a group we met who were descending through the forest having abandoned their attempt to gain the high ground because of icy conditions under foot; thankfully, all we encountered was a few ice-covered patches and near frozen ground as we approached the high point above the largest of the waterfalls at around the 450m height. The frozen ground was not a concern, however, there were a few anxious moments as we approached the top of the main waterfall and saw just how much water was coming over the crags, as to whether we would be able to find a suitable crossing point above the waterfall. As it was, we had to continue along the north bank for a short distance beyond the falls before we found a reasonable point at which to cross the river. Care was needed, but we made it; although, it was noted that one individual, possibly feeling the heat of the climb, decided that some wild-swimming was the best way to cool down and cross the water at the same time. It did have a point though - A timely reminder as to why our rucksacks may look a little full at times - but a bit of dry clothing does come in handy at times!

Excitement over, and now on the south bank of the Allt Coire Dubhchraig,we settled down for some lunch before leaving the Scots Pines behind and entering a different world of commercial forest, albeit, still offering some fine views, and a good forest track underfoot for our descent downhill through the forest to re-cross the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, this time by an old, but very substantial "sleeper" footbridge to gain the east bank of the river, and a relatively easy walk back to our start point at Dalrigh.

An interesting and very enjoyable walk on a beautiful hillside - Thanks Pat.

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