Footpaths and Woodlands
Footpaths of the Black Isle - Julian Paren
TBI's Convenor, Julian Paren, is a keen walker and photographer, and 'collects' Black Isle walks and woods, and records them, with pictures, on the website of a project called 'Geograph® Britain and Ireland', which 'aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland'.
Julian has contributed information for a large number of Kilometre squares on the Black Isle, and has recently comblned some of these into two articles on footpaths and woodland of the Black Isle. In addition to the online versions of these, which he likes because he can add to or update them at any time Julian has prepared static document versions, without images, which he hopes to have published in the Culbokie 'Chatterbox' and perhaps 'Muir Matters'.
Julian has kindly made copies available for us to publish on the website.
TBI leads the way to improve the John o’ Groats Trail by Munlochy Bay
TBI members stride out with a purpose
Julian Paren writes
Last year a number of people contacted Transition Black Isle about the poor state of local paths and cycle tracks. Further enquiries revealed a group happy to undertake some footpath maintenance while enjoying a walk together. Two months later on Sunday 18 February the first meeting of the group, a twenty-strong party, armed with pruning saws, loppers, secateurs and strong gloves arrived by bus at North Kessock Pier for the 11 km walk back to Munlochy.
The plan was to walk a section of the newly created John o’ Groats Trail. The trail starts from Inverness, passes over the Kessock Bridge, and continues in 14 stages to John o’ Groats. The first stage ends at Culbokie and the group planned to walk half of it. The John o’ Groats Trail website describes each stage of the route with detailed mapping. http://www.jogt.org.uk/
Jay Wilson, the mastermind and co-ordinator of the John o’ Groats Trail, joined the group for the walk. The Black Isle section has been fully way-marked. Parts of the trail are new and link established footpaths, and Jay had negotiated rights of access to produce a logical route. An important aspect of the walk was to ensure these new links were clear of encroaching vegetation.
Sunday was a beautiful day and it seemed no one was in a hurry until gorse, broom, overhanging branches and minor obstacles were cleared. Lunch was spent overlooking Loch Lundie while some cleared a blocked path nearby, forgoing the break. The final tasks of the day were to add additional signs to a “high-tide” diversion by Munlochy Bay and clear gorse from a new section that replaces a tidal footpath below Bayhead.
For those who want a good quiet 11 km walk with no hazards, this walk is highly recommended, and the return can be made by bus.
Before and during the walk, many suggestions were made of where the group should focus its next activities. Paths in Spittal Wood, Fairy Glen, Bogallan Wood, Agnes Hill and Swallow Den, the A9 underpass at North Kessock, and Avoch-Fortrose railway line were all put on a list.
The group plans to meet monthly and would welcome new active members and champions who could “Adopt-a Path” especially those where access is becoming difficult through neglect. The walk was great fun, and a real difference was made.
For future activities and to be kept informed by e-mail please contact Julian Paren at Transition Black Isle. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the group enjoying the sunshine during a pause along the way
- Saturday 4 February
- 13:00 Black Isle Repair Cafe North Kessock
- 17:30 Transition Town Forres - Imbolc fundraising event
- 18:30 Knocknagael Growing Group Ceilidh
- Monday 6 February
- 19:30 RCA Fergus McCreadie Trio at Resolis
- Wednesday 8 February
- 14:00 Black Isle Men's Shed AGM
- Thursday 9 February
- 10:00 Allangrange gardening workshop - Fruit tree pruning
- Saturday 11 February
- NA Cromarty Community Market
- Saturday 18 February
- 10:00 Culbokie Community Market
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