Local Area Attractions
Plodda is situated some three miles beyond the village of Tomich on the unclassified road leading to the small hamlet of Cougie. There is a car park (free parking) with several picnic tables set amongst trees. The Forestry Commission have waymarked two circular forest walks that both take in views of the Falls. The Falls Walk is approximately 1 mile (allow 30 mins) while the longer Tweedmouth Walk is almost 2 miles (allow 1 hour). You will also find several forestry tracks that allow you to extend the routes on foot or by mountain bike.
The Falls can be quite spectacular even in the summer months. In winter time they can freeze over and present a challenge to ice climbers. There are two viewing platforms, one at the top and the other near the base. Have a waterproof handy at the lower one especially after heavy rainfall! There is a new wooden platform at the top of the Falls, replacing the old iron bridge built by Lord Tweedmouth in 1889. This had deteriorated badly over the years despite several attempts to repair it and eventually had to be closed for safety reasons. The replacement gives a birds eye view right over the lip of the Falls.
The area around the Falls is a rich and diverse woodland. Around 1900, Lord Tweedmouth planted a large number of Douglas Fir, Larch, Giant Redwood and specimen conifers. Together with the native tree population they have combined to provide an ideal habitat for the likes of the red squirrel and a wide variety of bird and insect life. Some of the Douglas Firs are now an impressive 200ft tall!
The Dog Falls consists of a set of 'rapids' through a rocky gorge on a section of the River Affric just east of the Benevean Dam. There is a sizeable carpark with picnic benches and public toilets (Easter-October) provided by the Forestry Commission. There is a £2 per day car parking charge during the summer months - this includes parking at River Affric. Information boards and waymarked walks (leaflets available) allow the visitor to explore the area around the Falls taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The main walk around the Falls provides a number of opportunities to view the River Affric gorge especially from the small wooden bridge that crosses the river just to the east of the Falls. This part of the walk can be extended to take in the secluded woodland lochan - Coire Loch - an internationally important site for dragonflies, with up to fourteen different species being found there. Combining all three waymarked walks will let you enjoy all the features of this beautiful area, but do allow2 2-3 hours for the full circuit.
At the carpark, a larger bridge crosses the River Affric to join the forestry road that runs westwards the full length of Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin. Just a short distance along this road, although perhaps a steeper section, is a viewpoint situated above the Benevean Dam that gives superb views of the Loch and the upper reaches of the Glen and the Affric mountains.
Corrimony Chambered Cairn
Visitors to Strathglass will find a trip to Corrimony very worthwhile. It gives you the chance to explore an ancient chambered cairn, dating back over 4000 years, and visit an RSPB Nature Reserve.
Corrimony is located in nearby Glenurquhart, about five miles from Cannich along the A831 to Drumnadrochit and Loch Ness - it is well signposted. Turning off the A831 you take the unlisted road for roughly a mile to the car park. The Corrimony Chambered Cairn, in the care of Historic Environment Scotland, is only a few minutes walk away.
The Corrimony Cairn is a passage grave of the Clava type dating from the 3rd Millenium BC. The type is derived from the cairns at Balnuaran of Clava found close to the battlefield of Culloden. These set the standard for cairns of this period and region. The "passage-grave" consists of a central chamber within a larger cairn accessed by a narrow passage. Standing stones encircle the cairn. This particular cairn is remarkably well preserved with the roof still in place over the passageway through which it is possible to pass - albeit on hands and knees.
Another interesting feature at Corrimony is the presence of a large cup-marked slab which would have formed part of the roof. This type of cairn is associated with both cremations and traditional burials. When the cairn was excavated in 1952, there was evidence of a single burial though the remains had deteriorated in the acid soil so that only a dark stain was visible.
There appears to be 12 (or is it 11?) standing stones encircling the cairn, though it has been suggested that a number of these were added in the not so distant past, possibly using material from the cairn itself. The orientation of the cairn towards the south-west, perhaps indicates the builders' interest in simple astronomy. This may have been linked with religious or ritual beliefs. There are no restrictions on access to the Corrimony Cairn as the site is open all year.
Corrimony RSPB Reserve
To visit the RSPB Nature Reserve you carry on past the Cairn on foot following the waymarkers. From the carpark to Loch Comhnard and back is a round trip of about 8 miles.
The RSPB acquired the land for its nature reserve from the Forestry Commission in 1997. In line with restoration plans for the Caledonian Pinewood, RSPB recognised the opportunity for assisting with conservation particularly with the Black Grouse in mind. Numbers of Black Grouse had seriously declined over the previous thirty years for a variety of reasons.
Loss of natural habitat through over grazing, strikes on deer fencing, changing weather patterns and an increase in predators are some of the reasons the decline had been so rapid. Of the UK population, some 75% can be found in Scotland. The RSPB organise special Black Grouse 'Safaris' where visitors have the opportunity to view the birds at close quarters. Contact the RSPB direct for full details.
The reserve caters for a variety of bird life, some resident while others only visit at certain times of year. Habitats include open moorland, conifer plantations and native woodland together with loch, bogs and heath. The number of species you might see within the reserve is quite extensive - osprey, whooper swan, pink-footed goose, black-throated diver, flycatchers, bullfinches and crossbill to name a few. Again there are no restrictions of access to the RSPB Nature Reserve - open all year.
Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness is situated a short 12 mile road trip from Strathglass. Almost everyone has heard of the famous legendry Loch Ness Monster. Take a loch cruise or learn a bit more about the monster at the exhibition centres.
Urquhart Castle is situated at Strone Point overlooking Loch Ness just off the A82 south of the village of Drumnadrochit. For many years Urquhart Castle was also the seat of the Clan Grant and remained in their ownership till 1912. The castle is presently in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Visitor facilities include a shop, cafe and several audio visual displays. There is also a good sized car park.
he castle was built in the early part of the 13th century the site possibly having earlier been a Pictish fort. Control of the castle changed hands many times through the centuries. The English King Edward I seized the castle in 1296 but possession passed between English and Scots a number of times at one point being under control of Robert the Bruce.
From the 1390s the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles and the Scottish Crown alternated as masters of Urquhart Castle over a period stretching some 150 years.
The castle last saw action during the uprising against King William in 1689 when the defenders loyal to the monarchy held off a much larger force of Jacobites. When the last soldiers left in 1892 they blew up the castle rather than take the risk of allowing it to fall into enemy hands.