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