Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny, autumnal afternoon..just perfect for investigating a new walk we were considering offering as part of our Highland Explorer Tour.
Our starting point was Culloden Battlefield, one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Inverness area. Rather than spending our time at the battlefield, we chose instead to take a well-marked path along the side of the B9006 towards the Keppoch Inn. It is at this junction that we reached our first sight of interest; The Cumberland Stone. A relic of the last ice age, this stone earned its notoriety as the place where the Duke of Cumberland reputedly surveyed his army’s victory back in 1746. These days it is little visited, despite its size and prominent roadside location, but one doesn’t require too much imagination to see how this huge, mossy boulder could have provided a perfect resting place.
From here, we headed downhill, going straight on through the junction towards Leanach Farm. Passing the farmhouse on the left, we noticed some unusual bronze sculptures in the garden, as we admired the surrounding farmland and rolling hills to the south. As we ambled onwards down the tree-lined windy road, we could hear the roaring of the river Nairn, which we then crossed at the cutesy little Clava Bridge, giving us our first views of the Clava Viaduct (also known as Culloden Viaduct). As we surveyed the viaduct from the bridge, the rusty coloured leaves and the red brick of the viaduct merged in the late afternoon autumn light to give a lovely wintry feeling.
From here, we headed past the beautifully kept Clava Lodge, a former shooting lodge built in 1899, which now offers self-catering accommodation in a number of riverside chalets and apartments. Before long we reached Clava Cairns, just as the sun was going down on the Quarter Day known as “Samain”, a significant date in the Celtic calendar. After a stroll around (we never tire of this place!) we headed back to the river, to follow a path towards the viaduct.
Although the path is uneven in places (we had our baby in a buggy, and managed most of the way!) it is definitely worth following, as, after about 20 minutes and a few photos, we reached the magnificent Clava Viaduct. After exploring underneath the arches of the viaduct, we then headed back cross country to Culloden, just as it was getting dark.
Our summary; a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours, taking in the ever-popular Culloden Battlefield, combined with the lesser visited Clava Cairns, and the very rarely visited Clava Viaduct. If you would like to incorporate this walk into a tour, contact us to find out more!