The river widened and opened out to the shores of Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. Its wide flat banks bore well grown Caledonian pines all in bottle green clusters well spaced with plenty of room to walk between the trunks. Through the clearings the glow of sun struck hills was reflected in calm water to rich colour glowing like an ancient stained-glass window. The scene was the finest of all the Scottish glens or indeed of any I have since seen in the Alps or Himalaya.
W H Murray The Evidence of Things Not Seen 2002
During the course of this tour, we will visit a variety of locations in and around the three glens detailed below. It has been designed specifically, to give participants the best opportunity of capturing the autumnal palette in some of the best wooded glens in Scotland.
Glen Affric, frequently described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland, representing the romantic, iconic, image of the Highland landscape, has drawn visitors to the area since Victorian times. Its appeal arises through a combination of dramatic mountains with high corries that drop with steep sides to the valley floor in which are set two lochs and a river. The lower slopes of the hillsides are carpeted in forest, one of the most picturesque remnants of native Caledonian Pine Forest in Scotland. Lochs with small bays give way to headlands and wooded isles that provide great backdrops for photography.
Glen Strathfarrar, although less well known, is another archetypal Highland glen with ancient forests covering the lower slopes. Dark green pine woods are interspersed with stands of the lighter birch, and by glades of heather and bracken where deer are sometimes glimpsed amongst the trees. Scattered, mature pines rising out of the rocks and heather hold the eye far up the sides of the glen, their tremendous size and horizontal crowns, adding an air of antiquity and timelessness of this glen. The River Farrar, a winding and sinuous river, full of interest and variety, roars down the glen, finally plunging over the Culligran Falls into the lower strath.
Adjacent to Glen Torridon, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve is home to the largest remnant of ancient Caledonian forest in Wester Ross with some Scots pine trees nearly 400 years old. A distinctive mix of plants and animals thrive on the Reserve, including rare lichens, liverworts and mosses that flourish in the mild, damp woodlands. Below the tree line, pine marten, Scottish crossbill and northern emerald dragonfly make their home in the ancient pinewoods, whilst otters and black- throated divers can be seen where the Reserve meets the waters of Loch Maree.
The images used to promote this tour were captured by Colin Prior either on a personal trip or on a previous tour and are representative of the type of weather that we may or may not experience throughout the duration of this tour. In Scotland, one must be prepared for constant change.