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Glen Affric

Stretching from Shiel Bridge in the west and stopping just short of the village of Cannich in Strathglass, Glen Affric is frequently afforded the accolade of most beautiful glen in Scotland. It is a truly magnificent mix of woodland, loch and mountain and possesses a magic capable of striking wonder into the heart of any visitor.

Affric is rich in history and was once the territory of the Chisholm clan until the clearances in the late 18th century when people were replaced with more economical grazing sheep. Despite the effects of over grazing and an increased deer population Glen Affric retains one of the most significant portions of the original Caledonian Pine Forest. In recognition of this the Forestry Commission has been in ownership of much of Glen Affric since 1951 with the remainder being either private sporting estate or under the management of the National Trust for Scotland. Due to the fabulous habitats the glen provides it was designated a National Nature Reserve in 2001.

The only road access into Glen Affric is via the small village of Cannich and the first official car park can be found near the impressive Dog Falls. A short distance from the falls the enchanting Coire Loch can be found, a haven for many species of Dragon Fly. There are a further two Car Parks in the glen, one on Loch Beinn A`mheadhain and the other at the start of the river Affric, an impressive and lively river which links the two lochs Affric and Beinn A`mheadhain. This is where the public road ends but there is still much to be seen beyond this point.

A relatively short and easy walk along a vehicle track on the north bank of Loch Affric will bring you to Affric Lodge, a magnificent example of a 19th century Highland Shooting lodge which now provides luxury self-catering accommodation.

There are numerous and diverse walking opportunities in Glen Affric ranging from a short river walk or simple climb to a breathtaking photographic viewpoint to an 11 mile circuit of Loch Affric. For the more experienced there are a number of Munros to be ‘bagged’ or you could walk straight through to the west coast (there is even a very remote youth hostel in a former stalking bothy 8 miles from the road end). There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing and mountain biking.

Whatever your activity level you will have the opportunity to witness Highland scenery at its best regardless of season. Spring and summer provide wild flowers, abundant wildlife and far reaching views whilst the autumn and winter months display fabulous colours reflected in crystal waters, snow capped mountains and an impressive array of funghi. All of which can equally be enjoyed without ever leaving the car.

Given the range of habitats available in Glen Affric the wildlife spotting opportunities are amongst the best in the Scottish Highlands. Although much of the forest is now being conserved there are still high numbers of Roe, Sika and Red deer which are regularly seen. Other mammals include pine martens, otters, badgers and Red squirrels. Important birds include the Crested tit, Scottish crossbill and Golden eagle and whilst the numbers are very low, making viewings highly unlikely, capercaille and wild cat inhabit the forests of Affric.

Whilst Glen Affric really is the jewel in the crown of Strathglass there are many other wonderful places to visit whilst in the area with the neighbouring Glen Cannich and Glen Strathfarrar offering more spectacular scenery and wildlife. The picture postcard village of Tomich will lead you to the impressive Plodda Falls and the ruins of the once majestic Guisachan House. There are a range of options for accommodation in Strathglass including campsites and caravan parks, self-catering and hotels.