Freedom is Restored
So, this week the restrictions on travel were lifted for the majority of Scotland, allowing us once again to access the hills. It’s been a long wait, but today made it totally worth it!
The weather forecast, typically, was mixed. Stronger winds, the possibility of heavy rain (showers if lucky), you get the picture. After months indoors surely it’s not asking too much to have a clear, dry day?
We weighed up the pros and cons of the more local munros – too much wind? – and in the end, settled on Loch Lee. What a great decision that was!
Turning up at the car park we were in luck with one space left for us. We’ve been here a few times but have never seen so many cars. Having spent the last few months trying to avoid people it was a little like rocking up to Asda on a busy weekend!
We figured most folks would be up Mount Keen so expected a quiet walk. The chap a couple of cars along was headed for Mount Keen and asked about directions (he did have a map but this was the lazy option). Advised that the turn off was signposted, we wished him well, and were then somewhat surprised to see him a mile along the good track as he headed back having missed the aforementioned large track to Mount Keen. Given the very clear path I’m trusting he got there in the end. On the upside, he got to see Invermark Castle, a sight missed if heading for the munro.
Reaching the loch, the excellent track continued all the way alongside.
At the end of the loch we forked off to reach a bridge. This took us onto a smaller path, leaving the clear track behind.
Falls of Unich
The path gently meandered along, not proving taxing, but pleasurable in that we were off the main track and into the wild a little bit more.
The heather in full bloom was stunning, lighting up the landscape with highlights of purple. True natural beauty!
After last night’s heavy rain, the Falls of Unich were in full flow, the torrents of water visible from some way back. With the steady wind, the fine spray of the water could also be felt from some way back. Up close it was hard to differentiate between the spray from the Falls and the spots of rain that were now coming from overhead. Thankfully the rain was short-lived.
Falls of Damff
The path then began to slowly climb, nothing too taxing but just enough to challenge the legs a little when having been confined largely to the city streets and local trails. We stopped and enjoyed a break, sheltered by the hillside.
The rocks here were beautifully shiny, looking polished on one side. As we progressed up we moved slightly away from the Falls of Damff. This was pleasing as there’s quite a drop from the path!
First Slip of the Day
The path got a wee bit muddy in places, and I found myself having my first slip of the day on a wet rock. No harm done aside from muddy trousers.
The boggy section of the path began after crossing another bridge. This led alongside a stream, at times unclear as to whether it was path or a tiny, minor tributary, becoming drier as we progressed. At some point along here I got a shock as my foot went right into a hole, thankfully although in to my knee the water wasn’t quite so deep!
We checked our navigation here as we reached a small cairn and it was unclear where we headed next. Compass confirming the route, more boggy path ensued, the upside being that the boot cleaned off very nicely.
Why Do We Walk?
This became obvious as we looked down onto Loch Lee once more. The views lowdown are lovely, but the views from above truly are exceptional, especially on a clear day with just the right amount of cloud in the sky!
We stopped and started on the way down, drinking in the views, marvelling about how wonderful if was to return to the great outdoors, and double checking on the big black rain cloud behind. Spoiler alert: it didn’t get too close!
A wonderful way to get back out in the hills. This walk has everything you could want in Scotland – a Loch, views of the munros (Mount Keen), hills, heather, stunning views.
Thanks to Bruce as always, for his planning and inspiration, and of course for sharing his wonderful photos! Hopefully lots more to come over the summer months!