One of the best things about a camping holiday is getting to explore the area. Not too far away from the Achindarroch Touring Site we found a really nice forestry walk. Firstly we headed along the cycle path past the burn that we could hear at night (the best sound to send you to sleep). It was one of those sunny days that had intermittent showers, so not too hot and not too cold. A pretty refreshing day.
Along the path were some inquisitive sheep and also some strange sculptures... As you can see below they seem to be pretty jolly tree people with the addition of some cuddly toys.
The cycle path continued but we turned off onto the forestry path. By this time the mist was beginning to settle in over the mountains and there was a light drizzle of rain. The air smelt amazing. The rain also brought out all the colours in the trees, moss and lichen. I spotted some more mushrooms too. I got quite attached to the forms of the mushrooms. I think I may do some drawings of them soon.
I also fell in love with all the colours of the woodland. The greens were so vibrant and then there was moss that was a rich burgundy in colour, others that were every shade of green you could think of. I took so many photos because I kept imagining mixing these colours with paint. I also loved the detail of it all, the tiny leaves, twigs, fragments. As well as a refreshing walk I couldn't help collecting drawing ideas and I now have lots to think about for future work.
We found lots of little caves where animals could live. When I was wee, this would be the sort of place I would have thought small mystical creatures would live in. No wonder though as places like this do feel quite magical.
Heading on along the track which was uphill all the way, we continued through the forest, past trickling burns coming down through the trees, creating small pools of peaty water.
This then opened out to some stunning views of the misty mountains. The drizzle continued but it just added to the atmosphere and it wasn't cold at all.
We then spotted some interesting footprints in the mud down one of the ditches. They were really large and long toed. After some research later, we think that they are beaver footprints. It's pretty exciting to think that beavers past by this way at some point. The tracks looked quite fresh as well.
We also spotted the footprints below but were unsure of what these ones were. There are so many different types of wildlife that live in these sorts of areas including Scottish wildcats, pine martens, foxes and deer to name a few. We could smell that a fox had been close by so it could have been fox footprints although from what I've researched, they don't look quite right to belong to a fox.
After investigating the footprints we carried on up the hill to take in the views. We also heard what sounded like a buzzard and we could see something flying about through the trees so we stopped for a while to see if we could spot it.
It was in this area that we could smell the fox and strangely we didn't smell it on the way up but we did on the way down. Perhaps it had passed right by us! As you can see this whole area is perfect for wildlife and apart from the footprints there were lots of signs that animals had been close by from unusual droppings to paths trodden through the foliage.
The mountain across the way looked incredible and was lit up with the sun one moment and then shrouded in mist the next as the weather changed back and forth.
The trees were mesmerising and they gave me more ideas for drawing too.
We spent some time looking around this spot before heading back down. My knees had done pretty well even though it was an uphill walk. The track continued on and once my knees have been fixed, I'd love to return and continue on.
There are so many beautiful hidden spots like this all over Scotland, teeming with wildlife, and it was a pleasure to explore it that day.
I'll be posting the continuation of my holiday stories tomorrow so keep a wee eye out. If you missed part one you can find it here.