Limekiln Woods Circuit
Fri, 24 June 2022 @ 10:00 - 14:00
This is a varied and motivating walk with a variety of trees and plant life using informal woodland paths high above the River Findhorn and gorge with dramatic views of the rushing water below.
Join enthusiastic walker Elaine Crowe for a varied and motivating walk of two halves, the first half takes us through Limekiln Woods and a section of the Findhorn River. There is a variety of wildlife to be seen and many varieties of trees and plant life to observe (the colours reflecting the time and season of the year). The informal and dramatic woodland paths high above the swirling waters of the River Findhorn and its gorge provide dramatic glimpses of the river below. The steep cliff edge is unprotected, but there are excellent views of the rushing waters below. The water is often dark brown, coloured by the peat of the Monadhliath Mountains where it rises and flows from.
We then continue onto Loch of Blairs which again has many varieties of trees and plant life. The Loch is approximately 11 hectares in area and sits in the north-western area of Altyre Estate, lying close to the town of Forres in Moray. Once used as a trout fishery by anglers in the area the availability of boat hire ceased around 15 years ago. The costs of ongoing maintenance became too high for The Moray Council and they ended their involvement with the loch in the early 2000s. As a result, the boathouse, bothy, stables and cart building fell into disrepair and the loch sat quietly in its surroundings becoming sadly neglected and overgrown with Rhododendrons, Phragmites Reeds and dense aquatic weeds.
However, The Friends of Blairs Loch (FBL) are a group of industrious volunteers who are working hard to restore the loch back to its former glory and to the community as an amenity for recreation and educational purposes. Although the work is ongoing the volunteers are working towards reopening the water at Loch of Blairs for trout fishing. Both the bothy and boathouse have been refurbished and a wonderful new outdoor learning venue has replaced the old stable and cart block.
In addition, the Rhododendrons and other tenacious plant life have been cleared to extend the footpath network around the loch and open up the panoramic views of the loch. The loch has been made even more appealing with the addition of three bird hides built by volunteers on the water’s edge, connecting bridges, benches and picnic tables. It remains a haven for birdlife and a popular walking venue for “those in the know”.