The crunch as the ice breaks on the bow sets the hairs on my neck on end, it’s haunting and loud in the silence, the sensation of Nature all around watching feels like a Grandparent looking on an errant child testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. My mind in these moments is quiet, the words of this article formed in retrospect in the warmth of my house, but out there on the water I have few thoughts. The main lesson I gained was: In those moments when your cold, tired and frustrated, Patience and knowledge are key to succeeding. We knew that next we needed a fire as soon as possible. We’d time yet to look further, and found within a few minutes of exploration a small island in the mud, our refuge as the wind picked up. Glen Affric Brewery. Paper thin sheets of patchwork ice form in front of us, and just as the child in me still treads on frozen puddles we try cutting through one of these ice sheets with the canoe. This was no place for a bivouac. It's a challenging 11 mile path which climbs high above the loch giving wonderful views over the glen. Wilderness Guide, Alex Kendall shares another of his favourite winter walks for those keen to … It is known - with good reason - as being one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland (though Glen Lyon in Perthshire rivals it in my opinion). Scottish Canoe Routes....has migrated. Highland Piper, traditional music and ceilidh dancing, available on request - and most welcome too. I had also taken the measure of filling a flask with hot water that I could use to refill the bottle in the night should I be really desperate. Affric Lodge, Cannich by Beauly, IV4 7NBInverness-shireScotland. A few more swigs of coffee while I take a few photos, I start to wake up a little more and I hear Max waking from his bivi. He’d paddled the length of the Loch and back during the day and had set up his hammock and tarp just a short way from us, he sits with us with the relaxed air of a man well travelled and comfortable outdoors. We estimate we’ve got about 2 hours before we’re hit by snow and possible winds, and make steady our pace across the waters. The walk itself was a step up in terms of scenery. Hiking accompanied by one or more of our quite knowledgeable team, as you prefer. A good control of the fire is important here, we want a steady simmer for a full ten minutes to give the oats time to smooth out and become creamy. Alan & Amanda Hood, Glen Affric Holiday Park, Cannich, Inverness-shire, IV4 7LT Self-catering with 13 units sleeping 1-6 persons. Back in April a friend and I went up, via Glencoe and Glen Etive, to spend a few nights wild camping up in Glen Affric. This was because of the lichens holding moisture against the tree. Do your journey mates know what you’re doing and where? Pitches for caravans, tents, mobile homes and camping pods on a … With the shelter for the night we split up to share the jobs and within a half hour from landing we’ve got a kettle over the fire and are sitting down to wait for the boil as the evening gets dark. Offering river or garden views, each unit comes with a kitchen, a satellite flat-screen TV and DVD player, wardrobe, a washing machine and a private bathroom with shower and a hairdryer. A simple hook from a Rowan branch suspends our kettle, withied to bend and form loop. As the sun reaches its zenith we see a another canoe on the water up head, a solo paddler moves across the space between us and the nearest shore. Having taken ten hours to drive to Glen Affric we had a short portage from the carpark to the water’s edge, and with the canoe loaded we settle onto the black surface of the Loch with just a short amount of daylight left to us. I loved what i saw in this area which had previously evaded me. We decided to make the correct decision and abandon the journey for that evening, so we found a suitable camp in which time the light was now fading. This natural crannog of Rock lofted Heather, Birch, and Pine on its shoulder, and had at some point sheltered other travellers as their stone fire-circle remained. Dense woodlands provide an idyllic space to spot the abundance of wildlife while keen walkers can enjoy plenty of trails taking you through the stunning scenery, including the falls at Plodda. We float a while on the Loch, soaking in the last moments of the magical place. Early autumn seemed like a good time to go for a paddle in Glen Affric. In breaking the ice with my rock I find it thick here, too thick to break with a paddle and the canoe and I realise, to try and cut through the ice today as we had yesterday would mean a certain swim. We’d laid a groundsheet under the canoe shelter to keep us off the sand, the roll mat section lays down on top of this. A destructive act perhaps, but crystalised in a moment of impulse no less attractive than that a Deer must experience when looking to an island across cold flint water. Canoe on Loch Beinn a'Mheadhoin, Glen Affric. What would be an Island on high water days as the Loch drank from mountain rains was for us a castle in the mud banks, rising perhaps two meters above the surrounding flats. Deer stalking has taken place on Affric ground for centuries: 20,000 acres are stalked. Magnificent. I take time to go through with Max the process of setting up the canoe for sleeping underneath, he’ll be helping on our next canoe trip with clients to set up these shelters so we look in detail at the method. As we talk we spend a little time making bannock for tomorrow’s breakfast, we need to be off the Loch by lunchtime and wanting to have time to paddle a little and explore in the morning, we decided we’d forgo a fire in the morning opting instead to brew up with the Alpkit stove and eat the way-bread to speed up the early routine. We move on to packing the last of our shared gear away, the cooking pots, tools, food are all stored away. We had the wind, gusting but consistent from the Gates of Affric to the West offering us a challenge, we’d be allowed to make camp on this Rock Crannog if we could hold up to the breath of the valley. We just had an excuse now to come back sometime to see the other Loch! This was after all a trip to be enjoyed, not one of endurance but one of communion with Nature. We to come a tight pass in the water, high rock rises to meet heather and pine on either side give us a lane between and suddenly every paddle stroke, dropping water on the reach forward, echoes electric in the crystal air. Day 4: Glen Affric Car Park to Alltbeithe Youth Hostel. We round a corner and see a sandy little beach, much to our surprise, raised slightly of a shelf that butts up against the rocky side of the island. It is this philosophy which forms the very core of our work. We pull the paddles out of the water and let the ripples arc out to allow the surface to settle, in places it’s hard to tell now where the rock meets the water. It also has plenty to keep the couple's family and friends entertained over the wedding weekend, including sailing, canoeing and fishing at Loch Affric. We also prepared some key pieces of kindling ready for the morning, some choice pieces of straight dry pine we left tucked under the canoe and off the ground to keep dry. After walking along the rocky edge of the Loch we discover why this stretch of Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin was uncamped: steep falls of sphagnum bog cover uneven ground and years of fallen trees. Under my head I make a big pillow from my kneeling mat from the canoe, spare clothes and a dry sack. I fold it like card to pack it away. My sleeping bag is a down bag rated to a comfort of -2C, I loft this bag thoroughly before getting into it. - GF59N4 from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. All we knew during the night was that it was cold, colder than we’d had the night before, and colder than we might have thought given the recent and estimated weather forecasts. Spa, health & beauty treatments with resident therapist Kiera Scott, Golf at Crask of Aigas, Dornoch Golf Club, Castle Stuart or Cawdor Castle. The tarps look like permanent frosted roofs, inflexible and crisp. An often overlooked little niche of campcraft, but the steady expedience with which you can learn to pack away your gear goes a long way on trips such as this, it is often here where you most see a difference between a practiced outdoors-person and someone new to wilderness travel. Set on the edge of Cannich, Glen Affric is rich with beauty. I’ve tied my field notes together with a few captions from Max of the two nights we spent under winters Orion, in some of the finest country I’d had the pleasure to journey through. The Glen Affric Estate has a huge range of activities on offer. Here, at the end of the public road, Glen Affric opens up and you are surrounded by the mountains. First thing was string up a tarp so we could gather our thoughts. We leave most of our gear in the canoe by the shore and climb the steep side of the island with just a essentials: a simple belt kit complete with pouch, a Brewkit stove and coffee, and some flat breads and fillings for the meal. Into this rich mix we add a few spices, toasted nuts and salt, given the atmosphere today it is one of the finest meals I’ve eaten outdoors. Eden Rock Villa Rental. I wake this morning to a chill. The main event is loch Beinn a' Mheadhain. These we could split and feather in the morning ready for relighting the fire for breakfast, in this way the driest wood at the core stays sealed away from the damp air and would give us the best chance of lighting the fire after what was looking to be a rain soaked night. The perfect combination of forest, mountain and loch. Mike joins us for breakfast, his firebox stove burning split kindling makes for a welcome warm of the hands and crucially allows us to defrost the bannock...I’ll make sure to sleep with it inside the sleeping bag next time! - GF59N8 from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. It’s getting on for lunch so we look for a place to stop as we round the head of the bay, a place so sheltered from the wind and winters sun that the surface of the Loch has started to freeze in areas. The air is dry. There is only one Glen Affric. The forked stick tripod over our fire, looked on by Sirius above. I get dressed in the tent as always, take a few swigs of coffee from the small flask and step out. We gathered dead standing and birch bark from our surroundings, everything was saturated including the birch bark. We land on the silty shore. The mountain air, which had been quietly kissing my cheeks as I fell asleep must have gotten a little frisky in the night, and stuck it’s tongue down my throat...I wake up coarse and unable to speak at first. We make just one stop on the way back, a small island we’d hadn’t stopped at on the previous day, to take a few final photos and answer nature’s call. Extra care needs to be taken when using tools in the dark, specifically your surroundings: should the headtorch suddenly die from the cold or low battery, do you know where the trip hazards are? From the water the miles we could see in all directions were closing in, January is of short days and the cold falling down off hills presses us. Have you spare batteries to hand in a pocket or belt pouch? The wind was gusting and full of sleet as it moved across the valley, with just half an hour of paddling behind us though we had a decision to make already: continue with a plan made days before in the comfort of home or make for the far shore closer at hand and look for a spot to pitch camp for the night. At the West end of the five-mile loch and by Affric’s sandy beach (yes really!) Autumn and winter are the best times to see deer, when they come down from the hills to find shelter and feed on bark and young saplings. Glen Affric Taproom. We leave the ice patch and pull the canoe up to an island to find a spot for lunch, when we see it: the Old Pine, swayed with old man’s beard, atop the stone hill rising 20 metre above the water. Paddling as we were we have to pass the island chain and come around the far side to enter the bay; and on this stretch of the Loch a man made tunnel pumps water from another Loch on the other side of a mountains into ours, which in turn is dam released down into Loch Ness. Click here to follow ithere to follow it Greno Woods “As I progress with my studies in Bushcraft I know that some of my skills I’ve not yet used in a situation that is truly vital on an expedition level. The Glen Affric Estate has a huge range of activities on offer More than famous views and fine buildings, Affric presents multiple sporting options. We dismantle the camp, everything packed into its place, and reload the canoe ready to make way. With three forked sticks a tripod is made that requires no cordage to hold it together, and is still hugely adjustable. United Kingdom. With everything secured we’d use the daylight we had left to collect wood, an old Scots Pine left leaning against Alder as it died, and bring it to the camp. There is a wonderful simplicity that comes from taking a trip in the outdoors, a pragmatism gleaned from necessity. Enjoy fishing from boat or shore, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and more… plus rifle shooting, shot gun clay shooting and triathlon facilities. We can’t help but spend a few minutes in turn soloing the canoe around the shore. Numerous trails surround the spellbindingly beautiful lochs and to be explored on foot at any speed, or by mountain bike or aboard one of Affric’s Highland ponies and horses. In high water there’d be little in between the moss and the waters edge, as it was we were left with a broad muddy bank to suck at our feet. The day is late, and our plan to paddle the length of the Loch before nightfall is looking less sensible in the conditions. Offering river or garden views, each unit comes with a kitchen, a satellite flat-screen TV and DVD player, wardrobe, a washing machine and a private bathroom with shower and a hairdryer. The Glen Affric Estate, Scotland. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Glen Affric is a magical mix of native woods, glistening lochs and haunting moorland. The wind and rain had passed sometime in the night, leaving behind a still and cold atmosphere. The effect is subtle, but currents should not be taken lightly and we take extra care to stay steady in the boat. We don’t mind portaging the canoe and gear but if we can find a more convenient place then all the better. An award-winning craft brewery producing an eclectic range of beers for the modern palette. Out there I leave my mind and find my soul. We'll help you cultivate a positive attitude, a confidence in yourself, and a connection with the natural world through which you travel. Canoeing Glen Affric January 15, 2020 Jamie Dakota What follows is a trip report, a reminiscence of sorts covering a short canoe trip myself and my colleague Max took to Glen Affric at the start of January 2019. We promote the utmost respect for the environment, the ability to pass unnoticed through the woods brings with it a deeper understanding of the wilderness, and our part in it. The very east of Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin hosts a tight collection of steep islands and narrow lands that form something of an archipelago, perfect adventure land with places to climb high above the water, places to camp, places to watch the world. Visitors guide to Strathglass & Glen Affric near Loch Ness detailing self catering, hotel, caravan & camping, bed & breakfast accommodation together with information on restaurants and activities such as walking, cycling, mountain biking fishing, canoeing etc. Then my bivi bag gets rolled out, into this I set my thermarest to inflate. The old man’s beard drifting in the breeze. Tonight, we knew the rain would continue and we were exposed somewhat being upon our heathered mount. Cannich, Glen Affric & Loch Ness, Highlands, Scotland, Cookie Policy Artist Web Design: WellMadeWebsite. Sheffield, England, S35 8RS We have the whole day to play with, as the Loch has a few little islands to explore standing steeply out of the water. “Industrious” he calls us, after witnessing our swift labours to sort our traditional camp and we spend most of the evening engaged in conversation of the kind only found when out far from home, as Orion strides across the sky following the Bull. Great fun then to explore the hills by Argo. Scenic view back to River Affric. One of the most special places I’ve ever sat. Glen Affric Brewery. That’s a place to stop for a while if ever I’ve seen one. Immerse yourself in this great outdoors where ospreys and eagles overfly… and red deer observe us as we observe them. Glen Affric Holiday Park - Glen Affric Holiday Park lies close to Glen Affric National Nature Reserve also includes bicycles for rent. We’d need to look for a different place to finish our trip, we couldn’t risk the ice being thick there too. It feels like -5C this morning, everything that was wet as we went to bed is now encased in ice. Given the ice and cold, he does an excellent job while I take the photos with only a momentary stall as the flames struggle to move from the feathers to the split kindling. Horse and Pony riding… hacking locally or riding out, again as you wish. Convenient rocks keep the bow and stern from moving around, and a tarp pitched over the hull and lofted between two paddles provides our roof, held taut with a central paddle from the middle. Glen Affric Holiday Park has mountain views, free WiFi and free private parking, located in Cannich. A magnificent fissure cut through the very centre of Scotland with the River Affric running the length of the Glen like a main vein.. By common consent, Glen Affric is the finest of all Scotland's glens. That Pinewood fire, worked for with diligence and patience while the cold bit at the hands and face, warmed from outside and within. We are solo on this trip, reliant on each other and the small outfit we’d brought in the single canoe. We look at what space we have on little firelight emblazoned island in the dark, a flat space on the windward side and a shelf behind a bank of heather. 0207 079 1621. contact@glenaffricestate.com. Then the main tarp comes down: Tarp lines, stiff from the ice, hold fast to the algaed Birch even after the knots are untied; as resistant to move today as I am. A short while later the bottles are filled with water and the island is filled with the smell of vegetable haggis and potatoes. All to consider before setting out to saw a little firewood under cover of night. Beinn a'Mheadhoin, Glen Affric Further south west another island at NH236250, was only just an island, so after an explore ashore, we ported the canoe over the shallows between the island and the north shore of the loch. It’s still dark, being just before 7am, but the change overnight is obvious. The glen begins amongst the steep, bare mountains of Kintail far in the west.Further downriver is beautiful Loch Affric, at the foot of the highest mountains north of the Great Glen. The venue has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Choose from these campsites near Glen Affric. We track deer on one island, as the water level is low there are actually muddy land bridges from the island to the shore and the tracks tell a story: we’ll not see these deer today here on the island, they’ll be wiping mud from their cloven hooves amongst the mosses on the mainland. Often, it’s hard work following a stern walk but afterwards the day is never forgotten. We retire for the night, having filled flasks with boiling water and tidied our cooking gear. Unlike the evening before we had clear skies and not a breath of wind moving around us, so we are more relaxed this afternoon. This is my favourite means of setting the campfire for cooking while traveling as it’s fast and requires little to no carving work. I carry a ¾ length thermarest for weight and small packsize, perhaps not necessary savings when you’ve the canoe to carry your gear, but I’m not in a position to afford a different thermarest for every type of trip and in all honesty this mat serves me well. We set to, as the kettle begins to steam, and within a few minutes we were arranged for the night, we’d even managed to spare my personal tarp for use as a further windbreak to meet the canoe, sheltering us from the wind. For sheer rugged beauty, Glen Affric is hard to beat. A lesson just a stone’s throw away. As we set out on out first part of the journey, the surrounding mountains decided to throw everything they could at us. As the light begins to fade we feel the temperature falling, seeming to drop out from around us leaving a heavy and empty cold. What a place! Download this stock image: Canadian canoeing on a loch in Glen Affric, with a view to hills beyond, Highlands of Scotland. As fine a gent as you could hope to meet, he gives us some advice on good camping spot and we suggest we could all meet up later on by the fire for a drink. We want to get away swiftly this morning, we’ve only a short time in the Valley and we want to make the most of it. Glen Affric Holiday Park offers the perfect retreat for a self catering holiday at the heart of the most spectacular highland mountain scenery in Scotland. Glen Affric is a secluded Highland glen about 15 miles west of Loch Ness, stretching south-west of Cannich. We only know this having spoken to some locals on our drive out after the trip, who’d said it had dropped at -12C in the village so estimated -10C at the Loch. The still cold of the air draws at my feet, my hands, as I move to get the flycamp undone and the canoe underway. We wake to the cold, I know it’s been a frosty one before I even open my eyes because although I’m not cold I can feel the air as I breathe. So in the lessening dark we rekindle the fire, having split and feathered those choice boughs of pine, feathersticks with practice are quickly made. Once again we’re treated to a clear and calm morning, the valley sides reflected in the waters look majestic and grand. We were looking forward to this stage probably most of all. The rain continued to fall. Cannich Woodland Camping is situated at the gateway to Glen Affric and a short distance from Loch Ness. Decision made, we make for the shore. We draw from this experience in the field to teach a set of skills and knowledge based in expedience and realism, skills that actually get used while outdoors. More than famous views and fine buildings, Affric presents multiple sporting options. It’s worth noting in preparing for this trip I knew I had all these options in hand should I need them, not to mention the tent and the fire for emergencies, to augment my sleeping bag. Glen Affric Holiday Park has mountain views, free WiFi and free private parking, situated in Cannich. As we took turns stirring the porridge we’d each opened out our sleeping gear on a guy-line to air out, and now that breakfast is finished we pack away of kit. I look to my hands, “Fingers, bring me the far shore”. We’d made the decision in plenty of time through, a wisdom proved in hindsight, if we’d travelled into dark to setup down the Loch to find similar conditions we’d be wretched to wander in freezing rain and the mud. All this was done in minutes, our camp already providing respite from the moods of Affric that evening. We watch as Mike paddles skillfully back the way we came, and we continue east to the end of the Loch. This article was originally published in The Bushcraft Journal issue 25, I highly recommend subscribing to this incredible resource.We now lead a trip to Glen Affric, in the summer, each year. This page displays my art work, both past and present. The result of this water coming into the Loch from the submerged tunnel is a gentle rising of currents that swirl the water and distort the surface, the canoe moves slightly differently here as the currents tease it in all directions. Calm morning, everything that was wet as we observe them the tree a huge range of beers the! 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