Crater Walk #1 – Glen Calvie Circuit
Today saw the first public walk along the Crater Route around the Lairg asteroid crater, a route which I mapped late last year and then walked carrying a Google Trekker earlier this year. Here is a short account of how the day went.
Our walk saw us following a route at the southern edge of the crater, one of the few parts of the walk which leaves Sutherland and strays into Easter Ross. This is an area that is quite different from much of the rest of the crater route, with large areas of native woodland amongst rolling hills, giving the area a feel more akin to the Grampians than the far north. This section passes close to the Alladale Estate which is looking at the possibilities of rewilding, and also begins near to the historic Croick Church, an important site in the area’s clearance era history, giving plenty to talk about on the way.
I met with my group for the day around 10am at the end of public road to Glencalvie and Alladale estates, a lovely spot nestled amongst the Caledonian pines. We were a team of eight, all enthusiastic for the walk, so after some introductions we set off up Glen Calvie. The weather was warm and sunny, the winds were light but the midges were staying away. This gave perfect conditions for the walk up this very scenic but little visited Highland glen. We were only passed by a group of 3 cyclist headed up the glen a walk up the Corbett, Carn Chuinneag all the way.
We took a break at the head of the Glen with views across to the grand looking lodge at Diebidale. Our route then headed east a short distance before turning back north to take the track above Glen Calvie to complete our circuit. A lunch stop half way along our homeward track marked the only time the rain really threatened all day. The timing could have been better but actually it was quite refreshing given the warmth of the day. From here we looked across a shallow glen to the Graham, Carn Slachaidh, and open moors clearly managed for grouse shooting. Quite a contrasting landscape to the native woodlands earlier in the day!
As we rounded the corner before our final descent back to Glencalvie Lodge the views opened up more widely and we could see far out to the west with a stunning panorama beyond Alladale Lodge to the peaks of Suilven and Canisp. A last short descent took us down through pinewoods and back over the river, (almost with an adopted dog from one of the estate houses!) and back to the cars. We were back in a little over 4 hours, an enjoyable day had by all.
It was good to be out in the hills with a great group of people, to get the chance to share some of my crater route with others and to chat about the geology, cultural histories and nature of the land it goes through. I’m already looking forward to my next crater walk next month!