On days with forecast showers we love to walk in the forests. To avoid the crowds in the National Park, we headed for Rosehall Forest in Sutherland. With a mixture of pine, spruce, firs and beech, there is always some tree-cover close by when we need it.
The log cabin that welcomes us by the car park was built by community volunteers. It has a few chairs and tables and information boards which tell you about the history of the forest. Since most of the nearby cafes are closed for Winter, this is a good spot for a picnic when it rains.
A former deer park, Rosehall Forest is now owned by the forestry commission. Horse-drawn carriages used to travel along these wider tracks. Today the track is used as a logging road and part of a sustainable working forest.
There are several narrow paths off the main track, which are great for whippet zoomies. You can walk in a loop or follow these paths deeper into one section of the forest and link up with other paths later. The suggested trails combine into a 9km/5.5 mile walk and you can extend this further if you want to.
The main path continues to climb and crosses a flowing burn with moss-covered banks. The sound of water tumbling over the stones follows us into the forest.
On the banks of the burn that flows through the forest we find a sign designed by pupils from the local primary school. It has a picture of an otter and a poem that reads:
I catch only a glimmer
as you shine and shimmer
for a second in the sunlit water
I wish I could dive and slide and play
and share your world for just one day
The paths between the trees are soft underfoot and very kind on the pads of dogs too. The banks on either side are covered in pale grass, moss and winter heather.
At the highest point of the trail the light is bright, even in the drizzle. Green grass grows among the gold. Climbing over the brow we catch a glimpse of Strath Oykel.
The forest is home to sika deer and other wildlife. Although Eivor is curious about deer, he won’t chase them. If you’re walking here with dogs with a strong instinct for hunting, this is a good place to keep them close or put them on the lead before descending back into the deeper forest.
The path winds further down to join the main path where we started our walk. Some of the mosses and lichens that grow on the lower ground are very similar to those found in the Celtic rainforests of the West.
We hope you enjoyed our little stroll in the rain. There will be a few more images from the trail in tomorrow’s post Part of Our World.
With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx
Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.
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