Monday, October 28, 2013

Loch Ness: The lower east side...and Robbie's "horrid cauldron".

Dún Dearduil, precipitous on three sides.
For me, everything here, it seems, is atmospheric, everything - the weather, the layers of ancient history, the mountains, glens, the forests, the rocks, the stories. And then there's Loch Ness, dark and deep, mysterious and enigmatic. We had hiked part of the Great Glen Way last autumn. It was impossible to resist.

The weather looked like it was going to be dreich and dreary (rain gear not optional) so we opted for a low level hike, on the lesser travelled east side of Loch Ness: the Inverfarigaig and the Falls of Foyers circuit. Above the trailhead, at Inverfarigaig, Dún Dearduil towers, the site of two Iron Age forts dating back 2,500 years. Deirdre, the heroine of a Celtic legend, a love story, lived happily here...but, unfortunately, not "for ever after".

Exceptional facilities at the trail head.
The hiking path was a soft carpet of autumn's gentle "fall". Our feet stepped soundlessly on leaves that were born, and lived their lives high above the ground. Now, in late October, they are transitioning to become part of the earth. This path became a track, and then a path again.

We would not be alone on this walk, but then one never is. With, perhaps, 5,000 species of bacteria in a gram of soil, representing billions of single bacteria in that tiny gram, it's a "crowded house" out there - but we didn't notice.

This, of course, was not the footprint of a bacteria.

Rain drops hung on the needles of the evergreens, a way station, before falling to the ground, or evaporating.

Ferns, like human beings, live in community...while some are still youthful, others are nearing the end of their lives.

Those who travel life's path sometimes leave aids to enable the passage of those who will one day follow in their steps, navigating the same obstacles.

And we always seem to come upon a "tunnel"...but no access permitted this time. :)

On the 5th of September, 1787, Robert Burns visited the "Fall of Foyers". The Gaelic name for this waterfall is Eas na Smùide - "The Smoking Falls". He may have gazed upon the remarkable flow of water near where Joan stands, captivated by the volume of peat-tinted water flowing out of the rock. He composed a poem, "Written with a Pencil, standing by the Fall of Fyers, near Loch Ness". The waterfalls also touched the hearts and minds of the Romantic poets John Keats and William Wordsworth.

 The "horrid cauldron boils", indeed, Robbie!

Robbie's "horrid cauldron".
- Robert Burns. 
The twin bridges, Loch Ness, and the warm autumnal colours were stunning.

"Lochside" living - sweet.

The "lower east side", and the Inverfarigaig and the Falls of Foyers circuit, a great hike...and "atmospheric".

Distance hiked: 11.5 km
Loch Ness Monsters seen: One (Well OK, not this time.)
Dark tunnels explored: None.
Paths, tracks, and trails enjoyed: All.

Thanks for joining us. 


  1. Despite the storms you have been having over there it does look like a beautiful time of year for hiking in the hills. The pic of the bridges says it all.
    Thanks for sharing your day with us.

  2. It was a calm day, L, light rain off and on but no wind. I don't think the autumn colours are as advanced as on the Island but the temperatures aren't as low either as you have now. It's such a lovely season in both countries. Always appreciate your comment. :) D.