Although our small Dog Friendly Bed and Breakfast is in Invermoriston just by Loch Ness, we are only an hour’s drive through Drunmadrochit and Glen Urquhart to Glen Affric. The drive itself is lovely as you pass by Urquhart Castle which is right on the edge of Loch Ness, then through Drumnadrochit which has two Loch Ness Monster Exhibitions – one called The Loch Ness Monster Exhibition and the other Nessieland – and then through Glen Urquhart to Cannick and Tomich where you could have a coffee before arriving in Glen Affric and enjoying one of the many walks of various lengths on offer.
Glen Affric, often described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland, stretches for some 30 miles from Kintail in the west to within a couple of miles of Cannich in Strathglass. The burns tumbling down the mountains on the north side of Glen Shiel and from Beinn Fhada culminate in two major streams – Allt a Chòmhlain and Allt Cam-bàn. Together they combine to create the River Affric that flows through two major lochs to Fasnakyle in Strathglass where it meets with the Abhainn Deabhag to form the River Glass.
The spectacle of the Dog Falls at the foot of the glen leads the visitor to Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, known for the excellence of its trout fishing and beyond, by pathways, along Loch Affric to enjoy the magnificence of the Highlands.
Despite the decline in the woodland, Glen Affric is still home to one of the largest remnants of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest that once covered much of the Highlands. Recognising the importance of Glen Affric to the nation, the Forestry Commission purchased a large part of the Glen in 1951 – the remainder being part of a number of sporting estates or in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).
In more recent times the charity Trees For Life has played a major role in carrying on the conservation role. TFL organize volunteer workweeks periodically throughout the year, allowing interested individuals from near and far to play a vital role in the restoration process. Weeks are spent working at a number of locations with accommodation mainly at Plodda Lodge near the village of Tomich and at Athnamullach bothy at the western end of Loch Affric.
Glen Affric was part of the Clan Chisholm lands from the 15th to the mid 19th centuries. Life would have been hard, families depending mainly on subsistence farming, on a poor soil, for their survival. From the 1780s many Highland glens saw the forced removal of men, women and children by their own Clan chiefs as the introduction of sheep was deemed a more economic use of the land. Unfortunately the folk of Clan Chisholm were particularly affected, and like many others throughout the Highlands they were dispersed around the globe. You can still see the remains of small settlements scattered around the Glen today.