Walk 219 – Tall Trees Walk, Reelig Glen – 1 mile

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Tall Trees Walk signage

Reelig Glen is located close to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It is home to some of the tallest trees in Britain and as you walk through this mossy woodland beside the Moniack Burn, you can’t help but feel small compared to the massive fir and spruce trees towering above you. Information boards dotted along the trail offer ID opportunities and some fun facts.

TERRAIN: Good quality woodland trails, muddy in places. No steep hills.

orange circle with white dog icon inside Dog-friendly route

Buggy-friendly route

Parking at the Forestry and Land Scotland car park, Reelig Glen, close to the A862. No public transport to start point. Closest bus stop 1.7 miles away in Kirkhill.

black icon of a figure walking, a zig zag line with arrow on one end and a location pin on the other end Route: From the car park head S (away from the road), into the woods. Follow the trail along the Moniack Burn (the burn should be on your left-hand side) for approx 500m. Cross the footbridge and walk along the opposite side of the burn for 500m. When you reach a road, turn left to reach the car park.

Route map - Reelig Glen

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WALK REVIEW: 7th July 2022

Whilst doing some research for walks close to our campsite at Bunchrew, this one came onto my radar. The Forestry and Land website promised “an ancient woodland of tall trees”, some over 100 years old and the star of the show – Big Douglas, which was once crowned the tallest tree in Britain. How could we not visit?!?

It was every bit as impressive as expected with lots of wow moments. The trees truly are giants. Dotted all along the path we found interactive signs which swivelled out to reveal some hidden fun facts. Beech, Norway Spruce, Hondo Spruce (rare in Scotland), Douglas Fir and Common Lime to name a few of our favourites. The major hunt was for Big Douglas of course, and I am not sure we found him…. there were lots of Douglas Firs around the spot where the info board was. There used to be a small label on the bark which seemed to be missing. Either that or we just couldn’t see it. Doughall Mor, or Big Douglas as he was nicknamed, measured 64m in 2005. He was later outgrown by one of the other trees near him which in 2014 measured 66.4m and was named the tallest in the UK and Europe – what a claim to fame! I couldn’t help wonder why that tree hadn’t also been given a friendly nickname…..?

We also came across a folly and old stone bridge in the middle of the forest. Ruinous and overgrown now, the story behind them reminded me of the Fyrish Monument not too far from here. It is alleged that in the 1840s the Fraser family, who owned Reelig Glen up until 1949, commissioned the bridge and folly to be built to create work for local people affected by the Highland Clearances. Every morning when the workmen came back to the site, they found that the previous day’s work had been undone, creating an endless supply of work.

Reelig Glen path beside the Moniack Burn
The walk through the glen was lush and green, an abundance of lichen on the tree branches which I understand to be a sign of good air quality. There wasn’t much water in the Moniack Burn on our visit, it had been quite a dry summer so far.
Tall trees by name, tall trees by nature. They truly do tower above you. We couldn’t help but feel in awe of the size of them.
This common lime tree was recorded as the tallest in Britain in 2014, measuring 46m high. Lots of common lime trees grow in my home region of Ayrshire, but I’d never seen anything like this before! My son Thomas is doing a great job of providing a sense of scale.

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