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Scotways Hill Track 315, Dingwall to Strathpeffer and Garve

By Julian Paren

Scottish Hill Track 315 is 20 km long and connects Dingwall and Garve, which are just one station apart on the Highland Line from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. The route can be broken into two, a Dingwall to Strathpeffer section and then Strathpeffer to Garve. In fact I had walked much of route 315 when on shorter circular walks, but had always thought the route as a simple linear walk would be rewarding.

Studying the summer rail timetable it became evident that trains were better timed to do the route in reverse. Starting at Garve from the 0955 arrival from Dingwall and then walking back, heading towards the statistically better weather as the walk progressed. Better than walking towards more uncertain weather!

Having walked the majority of the walk before, I knew that two of the best features of the countryside between Garve and Dingwall would be bypassed unless two diversions were made. The first to Loch na Crann in the Contin Forest, and second to include the vitrified hillfort of Knockfarrel, the latter being a deviation from the direct route suggested in Scottish Hill Tracks.

The walk was 22 km long and with two good breaks at Loch na Crann and on the Knock Farril ridge took just over seven hours. The weather became better all day and the sun broke through before reaching Strathpeffer, giving a real sparkle to the walk up Knock Farril.

For those who like a slightly longer walk, a side-trip to Rogie Falls would have added an extra 1.5 km, but from past experience you would need an extra hour to enjoy all the features of Rogie Falls.

Just three people were met on the walk. A single walker heading for Silver Bridge and back having started at Strathpeffer, and two on the summit of Knock Farril, who had foregone a Shearings day trip to Ullapool on their coach holiday to get some fresh air.

Standard class single fare from Dingwall to Garve is 4.70 - 2019 price.

NOTE: There is a ford at NH412601 which may be impassable after heavy rain.

See LinkExternal link for a winter view of the ford.

See LinkExternal link for a drier March view of the ford.

You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page Link .

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Sat, 16 Jun 2018 at 22:04
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geotagged! NH4759
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