Do you like a good local walk? Why not have one when visiting a local community wood.
We are very spoilt here at Pinewood by having two great community woods nearby – Abriachan and Upper Reelig. Reelig is a short 2 minutes drive from the Steading, or for a slightly longer walk, you can actually walk to Upper Reelig right from our door. Once there, there are a number of possibilities to explore the woods through a network of formal and informal paths. There is also a community log shelter (see photo) and a wooden xylophone which you will find if you explore the main path in the upper wood. The xylophone and shelter were built by woodland group volunteers in 2015/16. All the timber comes from the wood and even the nails in the shelter roof are reclaimed. By the shelter, you may also see “Reelig”, which is a large reindeer that the group volunteers built at the end of 2016 – including myself!
Just five miles from Pinewood is the Abriachan Forest. There is so much here! There’s an excellent woodland and moorland walk using trails laid out by the Abriachan Forest Community Trust. Stay in the Forest and follow the Peace Trail, walk to Loch Laide and sit in the wildlife hide, or find the ‘wee tree house’. Or get high on the hill with its many paths and super views. There are some beautifully carved benches made out of tree trunks up here, as well as some wood sculptures (see photo). Make your way to the top, and stop awhile at Carn na Leitire, an excellent viewpoint at 434 metres.
You will also find a reconstructed shieling (see photo) – which is where I went with the dogs today! The shieling is a low stone wall base made of peat turfs and crowned with a turf-covered roof. It’s worth stopping here for a while, maybe with your picnic lunch, and soaking in the views of Loch Ness. On this walk, you should also look out for the hidden ‘whisky still’!
It is amazing to think that both these community woods are maintained by volunteers and that they have created so many wonderful things to see while visiting them. I am sure if you visit during the volunteer days, you would be warmly welcomed to help maintain the woods!