Rambling and Trekking
Rambling and Trekking
Mind not to forget your hiking boots. Cawdor Estate has a number of well signed, circuitous moorland walks, giving easy access to pine woodlands and heather clad moorlands that stretch as far as the famous waters of Lochindorb. It is undoubtedly a land of sylvan beauty and charm and worth exploring.
Journey beyond Cawdor and Moray-Speyside offers some spectacular walks. Traverse rugged cliffs, caves, sheltered coves and sweeping sandy beaches along the fifty mile Moray Coastal Trail. Head inland along the Dava Way, retracing the lofty route of the old Highland Railway from Forres across the open moors to Grantown-on-Spey. Or head inland along the Speyside Way, skirting the river along the course of the old North of Scotland Railway line to Boat-of-Garten; lush woodland and pastures giving way to open moorlands and a vista of mountains.
A brisk diversion from the Speyside Way takes in Ben Rinnes, the ‘Mountain of Moray’, whilst journey’s end brings you to the Cairngorms National Park: larger than the Lake District and twice the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, a rambler’s paradise no less.
For the more ambitious mountain trekkers, eighteen of Scotland’s 282 ‘Munros’* lie within range of the Cawdor Estate. To the south stands the long narrow crests, dark corries and weird granite tors of Macdui, Cairngorm and Ben Avon; the misty peaks of Feshie; the high plateaus of Braeriach and Cairn Toul. To the west the milder climbs of Monadh Liath and Drumochter, where three ‘Munros’ can be bagged in one day’s trekking.
Pack binoculars and cameras too, for there’s some rare wildlife to be spotted. This is one of Britain’s most densely forested regions and they provide a hideaway for roe and red deer, pine martens (a very rare species of wild cat), long-eared owls and the endangered red squirrel. Up on the moors there are sparrowhawks and buzzards, kestrels, hen harriers and ospreys (the symbol of Speyside), hanging on the wind and wheeling in an open empty sky. Our rivers are home to Atlantic salmon, lamprey, otters and fresh water pearl mussels, our coastline home to seals, dolphins, porpoises and whales.
* Mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet (914 metres) in height are called ‘Munros’ after Hugh Munro, the first person to compile a complete list of them in 1891. Serious mountain trekkers hold the ambition of summiting every ‘Munro’ before hanging up their hiking boots.
National Park: www.visitcairngorms.com
Dava Way: www.davaway.org.uk
Moray Ways: www.morayways.org.uk
Speyside Way: www.speysideway.org