Allt Na Criche walk – Exploring around Loch Ness

Allt Na Criche is a burn running up into the hills above Fort Augustus. The name means ‘the boundary stream’. The surrounding forest is managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, and there are a number of paths to explore. The Great Glen Way also passes through here. From the upper part of the walk you can see out over the end of Loch Ness and Fort Augustus….weather dependent!

Distance: 1.8 miles / 3km following the Allt Na Criche Trail

Parking: There is a good sized car park on the north side of the A82, about one mile outside Fort August. Look out for green Forestry signposts.

Amenities: There are no toilets at the car park. There are public toilets, cafes and shops in nearby Fort Augustus.

Pushchair/bike-friendly? The circular walk is not suitable for pushchairs or bikes, as it starts with a steep zig-zag climb through woodland. The main forestry tracks are very suitable for off-road pushchairs and bikes (the Great Glen Way comes through here) so I think you could access the upper path by heading east from the car park rather than north, but I haven’t tried it myself.

Allt Na Criche walk: the route

Allt Na Criche route map

We walked in an anti-clockwise loop, starting with the steep climb whilst we were fresh. This was a good plan for little legs!

1. From the carpark, the path zigzags up through woodland, quite steeply in places. It crosses the Great Glen Way lower route, marked with blue marker posts with thistles on.

2. We enjoyed following the lovely Allt Na Criche burn on the right hand side of the path. Shortly afterwards we emerged on the main forestry upper track, and leaving the burn, turned left along it.

3. This section was rather dull walking through the plantation, but we were soon rewarded with views down over the loch, and the edge of Fort Augustus.

4. Look out for white marker posts on the left showing you where to turn down into the trees for the route downhill.

5. My children really enjoyed the winding downhill path through the woods!

6. On reaching the lower forestry track, turn left and follow it along for some way. We crossed a larger burn with a bridge and various interesting looking pipes – we weren’t sure what these were for. Shortly afterwards the track brings you back to the car park.

What is the terrain like?

The walk is mostly along broad forestry tracks, but there are two sections on narrower paths to cut up and down the hill. In wet weather with a child carrier I was glad to have a walking stick on a few steeper sections. If you wanted to explore the area with a pushchair or bicycle, I think the best thing to do would be to go east from the car park on the forestry track, and subsequently turn left onto the main upper forestry track.

Things to look for

Look out for blackberries and blaeberries in season, some interesting lichens and mosses,

We enjoyed this walk, especially the views at the top, and the winding ramble down through the woods. In common with many Forestry walks, there were some duller sections marching along with thick plantation on both sides, but overall it was still lots of fun, and good to see another viewpoint of the Loch.

You might be interested in these other short walks around Loch Ness.

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