Sunday, 20 October 2013

Loch an Eilein and Inshriach Forest

Autumn colours:

Inshriach Forest in autumn. If you can't get up a hill, a walk round the forest makes a good alternative. Lots of trails, a nature reserve for capercaillie, wildcats, and other flora and fauna, an abundance of fungi and some beautiful forestry. We set off from Glen Feshie, intending to do a circuit round Loch Gamhna and Loch an Eilein, returning via Drake's bothy and and the Allt a' Mharcaidh. The autumn colours were beautiful, and we stopped at a clearing for lunch with a view of the Cairngorms.

Glen Feshie trees:

At this time of year, the forest has an incredible variety of mushrooms and toadstools. On the drive up, we had seen people by the roadside picking some. We're too cautious to do that. Which of these are edible, and which poisonous? My guess is that they are all bad news.

Inchriach Toadstools:

After a short stretch of muddy path Loch Gamhna appeared. Dragonflies sunned themselves on bleached white rocks, and bamboo rustled in the shallows. Here? At this time of year? There is something of the Chinese watercolour about Loch Gamhna.

Loch Gamhna:

Up till now we had seen nobody: but once on the circular path around Loch an Eilein, a stready trickle of people made their way round the well-made path.

Loch an Eilein's beautiful path:

At the art gallery / ice cream shop next to the car park - our point for turning round and going back - a sign says this is "Britain's Favouite Picnic Spot". Is it really, Rothiemurchus estate? I am not sure it is even Scotland's favourite picnic spot. Surely Princes St Gardens is more popular. But why nitpick? This is one of the best run estates in the country, and the path was being enjoyed by people of all levels of mobility, including someone in a motorised wheelchair. We ate an ice cream and watched people walking their dogs.

Loch an Eilein:

Loch an Eilein is famous for its ruined castle, on a tiny island just offshore. By the time we reached it, the sun had gone and a chill wind sprung up. I looked up at Cairngorm, cloud-free and still in sunshine. The hills are calling again. As the air chills and the nights grow shorter, I have a terrible urge to climb a white-fanged western giant and watch sunset from a snowy summit...

Loch an Eilein castle:


blueskyscotland said...

It's a great low level walk that one. Nice autumn colours. I'm Not that good with Mushrooms and Toadstools but the first one might be a slug chewed Fly Agaric without any spots left on it. the second looks like a Brown Birch Bolete and the third is a Fly Agaric. Poisonous but not usually fatal. Some Viking 'Berserkers' may have used these going into battle to promote uncontrollable rage and fearless aggression. Not recommended though.

Robert Craig said...

I'm impressed! Fly agaric is the only toadstool I can identify, mainly because that is the one frogs and fairies sit on in childrens books.

Don't think the top one is the same type, but no idea what it is. Not eating it anyway!