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Day 7: Glen Strathfarrar

When we woke up this morning it was immediately clear that it wasn't going to be such a sunny day as yesterday. The sky was quite cloudy, but the weather forecast suggested that it was going to stay dry until mid-afternoon at least, so we were hopeful that we could fit in a day's worth of activities before things turned wet.

As this holiday was quite spontaneous we haven't done a lot of research in advance, so the plan for today was to follow two more recommendations from the tourist leaflet which we picked up in Aviemore. The first of these was to visit Craig Phadrig, a wooded hill above Inverness.

It was only a few miles away from where we are staying in Culloden, so we had soon arrived and were consulting the information board about walks. There seemed to be two marked trails, yellow and blue. The yellow was slightly longer, so we decided to start with that one.


The trail took us through a pleasant wooded landscape.


After 15 minutes or so of walking, we emerged at a viewpoint from where we could see out across the Moray Firth.


We'd soon completed the yellow walk, so began to follow the blue one instead. This one led more steeply uphill, towards an ancient hill fort on the top of the hill.


Once we got to the top we just had to imagine that there had once been a hill fort here :D There wasn't any visible trace of it.


The views were pretty though :)


Both walks complete, we got back in the car and set out on the road around Loch Ness again.


Not quite as sunny today, but it was still pretty. I read last night that Loch Ness is so deep, it contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined :o 


Our main destination of the day was a place called Glen Strathfarrar which, like Glen Affric, the leaflet had recommended as being a really beautiful spot.


We found it without too much difficulty, but what the leaflet hadn't explained was that the road through the glen is a gated private road and in order to enter by car, you need to have arranged a permit. 


You can visit the glen on a bike or by foot without a permit, so we decided to walk and see how far we could get.


The small road runs through the glen for miles.


It follows the route of the river Farrar, which gives the glen its name.


At first the road led through forest, which was nice and shady.


Then the landscape began to open up a bit and we got some better views :) 


Although we were walking on a road, there wasn't a lot of traffic.


At one point we were passed by the postman and another time a jeep with people sitting on the roof(!) whizzed past us.


Otherwise it was very quiet and peaceful.


We didn't meet any other walkers and only a couple of people cycled past us.


This was definitely a good place to come to achieve social distancing :)


The road climbed upwards for a while, leading towards a flatter boggy area.


There was so much heather here.


From looking at the map, we could tell that there were several lochs in the glen and we were hoping that we might be able to walk as far as the first of these.


Unfortunately, as we walked further it became clear that the weather up ahead of us wasn't too good.


We persevered for a while, but the clouds looked progressively darker and then we felt the first spots of rain start to fall.


We made the decision to turn around, in the hope that we could out-walk the rain back to the car park :D 


Surprisingly, we actually managed this and the return route looked a lot brighter :) 


We followed the road the way we had come, through the forest...


...and alongside the river.


By the time we got back to the car we were both rather tired, having clocked up over 24,000 steps! We were definitely in need of a rest, but there was one final destination which we wanted to investigate: a waterfall called Dog Falls which we had seen signposted at the start of Glen Affric yesterday. We were only a few miles away from the road to Glen Affric and it was a very scenic drive.


We found the car park for Dog Falls and paid £1 to park, then followed a signposted trail towards the falls.


They weren't very far away, but when we got there we found them somewhat... underwhelming! The viewpoint wasn't as good as the one at Plodda Falls yesterday, so for a start it was difficult to even see the waterfall (it starts in the bottom left hand corner of this photo).


There were some nice views down the river, though.


Eventually Tim found a part of the viewpoint where he could hold his phone over the fence and get a shot of the actual waterfall :D


I guess it might have been more impressive if we hadn't been to Plodda Falls yesterday!


We turned around and walked back along the river towards the car, passing another small waterfall on the way.


It was around 5pm by this point and starting to spot with rain, plus we were getting close to having walked 30,000 steps, so it felt like time to head back to Culloden and get some food :)


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