Rothiemurchus: A Morning Walk through the Great Caledonian Forest to the Iron Bridge
On a late October morning, I set out of the Coylumbridge Hotel before first light to cross a paved road and walk along a narrow dirt path. I have been looking forward to discovering this part of Scotland, this forest whose name I can’t pronounce properly — Rothiemurchus. The sun will rise, or maybe it won’t, this is Scotland after all, and if it does I will feel lucky. Mostly, I am mindfully ready for an early stroll before breakfast with my girls who are sleeping now. However the day unfolds after my morning walk, it will have been worth getting up for. Rothiemurchus, I’m coming for you.
农业发生,伴随着森林砍伐for arable land, heating and farming. By the time the Roman legions of Agricola invaded Scotland in AD 82, at least half of Scotland’s natural woodland was gone, mostly replaced by peatland, though in the Scottish Highlands, it’s likely that such peaty terrain could not sustain woodland anyway. By 1900, woodland covered only about 5% of Scotland’s land area, in several small and isolated blocks. Rothiemurchus is one of these blocks and would have been the centre of the great Caledonian Pine Forest of Scotland, so whimsically described by author Sara Maitland.
In my morning madness, I aim to wander through the forest but the only magic I am after is that of a ray of sunshine on ancient Scots pines. Merlin had a kingdom to save; I only have my mind to demist before the day starts, a somewhat easier task given a promise of porridge.
I pick this hike on the premise that it is short (7K), easy and beautiful, a winning combination for any hike under two hours. It is also flat throughout, a rarity in this part of Scotland — a regular “rise and shine” hike without difficulties and with visual rewards.
Gradually the path narrows, the trees become more dispersed and I can see further ahead. Past a tent (I keep quiet so as not to wake up its campers), I find the Iron Bridge on the left.
Also known as the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, it was built in 1912 to cross the fast-flowing Am Beanaidh.
This is one of many bridges built by theCairngorm俱乐部在展望体中，包括那些人Luibeg Burnat Preas nam Meirleach, and over the德伊河at Corrour Bothy. The sun is barely brushing the top of some trees, leaving the rest of the undergrowth in relative darkness.
Swift and cold, the water of the river would invite a refreshing swim but I must save this for another time. Sadly, COVID guidelines at the hotel led us to book breakfast at a given time and I need to be on my way.
I leave a fully planted forest with hundreds of tall tan trunks shooting towards the sky to wander through a regenerating forest and open countryside.
Grassland dominates both sides of the trail and carpets the ground all the way to more mature trees, interrupted to the south by mighty giants, stronghold of the Cairngorms. Within minutes, the sun comes out and the rolling mountains bask in an October golden glow that betrays a chill in the air.
… the sun waking up the hills, with purple heather in the foreground and hills covered in Scots pines…
I wish I could freeze this moment in time, the scene is just perfect. Not a ripple on the mirror-like surface of the lochan, a few birds singing in the woods, the reflection of Scots pines in the water and promises of glorious views up on the mountains.
A bit further, the lochan opens up to a beautiful landscape of grassy islands, rolling hills and majestic trees. Clouds start floating in the sky and luckily, I catch the last of the morning’s sun rays, golden souvenirs of a Scottish morning. This boggy lochan shelters incredible microcosms of insect and aquatic life, a seasonal wonder that sometimes dries up but right now, feeds bird legions of the forest.
a daurk wee lochan –
a cran tentie
Halfway up the glen苏格兰苏格兰布鲁斯·莱姆明先生
a heron watchful
Copyright holder: Mrs Dorothy Leeming
Back via Upper Tullochgrue
At the next junction, I do not walk towards Loch an Eileen. Instead, I take a right back to Coylumbridge via Upper Tullochgrue.
山上的一个孤独的绿色屋顶农场出现在我身上的一个角色，对这个森林故事设置了不同的情绪。对于所有古老的喀里多尼亚森林，RothieMichus仍然是一个管理的庄园 - 而不是远程苏格兰荒野。
I’ll let you ponder that. Rothiemurchus Estate illustrates a new kind of ecology and forestry, managed nature combining quiet walks on one side withquad bike tours, fishing and tree top adventureson another. Quite the departure from magical realms of old where one can get lost in folklore but on the surface, a Scots pine is a Scots pine is a beautiful tree whether or not it is profitable.
High in the blue sky, stratocumulus clouds are forming white breadcrumbs, impervious to the human buzz below. I reach the end of the trail, hungry for porridge and eager to discover more of this gorgeous part of the world.