Porpoise watching along the Gairloch shore, then up a rocky valley.
A832, Gairloch IV21 2BE, Scotland 5.2 Miles 2.5 HoursEasy
Paths: Mostly waymarked path
Landscape: River valley and rocky Coast
Dog Friendliness: Yes on lead where signs indicate
Parking: Beach car park near Gairloch
Public toilets: Near car park
From the car park cross the road and head up to the right of the cemetery. At the corner of it turn left, going into trees to a track above. Turn right until a footbridge leads on to a wide path that runs downhill. With a wall corner ahead, turn right (signed 'Flowerdale Waterfall'). A track runs down to a tarred driveway.
Turn left to pass Flowerdale House. The way is marked with redtopped poles. The track passes to the left of a lovely old barn and turns right at another sign for the waterfall to pass Flowerdale Mains. In about ¼ mile (400m) you pass a concrete bridge on the right.
Continue on the main path ahead, still to the left of the stream to reach a footbridge, just before you get to Flowerdale Waterfall.
The path leads up past the waterfall to cross a footbridge just above. It runs up into a pine clump, then turns back down the valley. After another footbridge it joins a rough track, which itself meets a forest road beside Point 3. Turn left, away from the concrete bridge, through felled forest that's being allowed to regenerate naturally
Look out for a blue topped pole marking a path on the right with a footbridge. It leads on through meadowland and bracken with blue way marker poles. The path bears right at an old fence corner post and goes down through encroaching bracken and birch to pass above and to the left of an enclosed field. Turn right under two large oak trees and cross a small stream to an earth track.
Turn left for a few steps, until a small bracken path runs up to the right past a waymarked power pole. The path bends left under oaks, then drops to re-join the earth track. This soon meets a larger track, which is the old road from Loch Maree to Gairloch. Turn right along this, through a couple of gates, to reach the Old Inn at Charlestown.
Cross the old bridge, and the main road, to the pier. Turn right at a sign for Gairloch Chandlery, to find a tarmac path signposted for the beach. This passes to the left of a pinewood, then turns right into the trees.
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