Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain
Pack a picnic for Loch Beinn a'Mheadhain
This secluded car park is set among Scots pine and birch trees, with a lovely view of the loch. It’s a great place for a picnic or just to enjoy the peace and quiet.
There are no waymarked trails, but plenty of small paths lead through the trees along the loch side. A few hundred yards back down the glen, the steep track by Allt na Imrich (the burn of the flitting) has stunning views.
Visiting Glen Affric
Our guide to Glen Affric will help you explore this magical place. Much of the road through the glen is single track, like many Highland roads. Drive slowly, and pull over to let other cars pass at the passing places.
Glen Affric is a place to leave the bustle of the modern world behind – including its technology! There is no mobile phone reception in the glen, so you won’t be able to use electronic maps that rely on a network connection.
The nearest toilets are at Dog Falls. You’ll find places to eat in Cannich or Tomich and a shop in Cannich. There are no cafés or shops in Glen Affric itself.
Mountain biking trails
Poet Rody Gorman, who works in Scottish and Irish Gaelic as well as English, wrote a series of short poems inspired by Glen Affric. The English version plays with the multiple meanings of some Gaelic words.
Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain – The Loch of the Middle Hill
An lùib nan duilleagan-bàthte mun lochan, spàg-ri-tòin
Is air eilean beag air bhog leis fhèin mun chladach, bog-an-lòin
among the drownedwaterlilyleaves by the lochan, anarsefoldclawlittlegrebe and on a wee island bogsoftfloating on its own by the channelplainbeach, a softbogfloatpondsnipesandpiper
Not quite natural
The loch is as much a part of the National Nature Reserve as the forests, but it’s not quite as natural as it looks. It’s part of an ambitious hydro-electric project, developed in the 1950s. Water is piped from Glen Cannich, just to the north, into Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain. From there it’s fed to the power station at Fasnakyle, down the glen towards Cannich.
This elaborate system was developed to protect Glen Affric’s landscape and wildlife. It means Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain only had to be enlarged a little, and the dam at the end of the loch is so small you’re hardly aware of it. But the loch’s level does change, depending on how much water the power station needs. That can make life difficult for birds like black-throated divers, which nest around the loch. We provide small floating islands where they can find a fringe of reeds that’s always just above the water level.
How to get here
From Inverness or FortWilliam, follow the A82 along Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit. Turn onto the A831, signposted for Canaich (Cannich). In Cannich village, turn left onto the minor road signposted for Glen Affric. Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain is about 8 miles (12.8 km) along this road, at grid reference NH 243 262.
IV4 7LN is the postcode for the centre of Cannich village. Follow directions above from there.
Buses run from Inverness to Tomich and Cannich throughout the year. For details visit Traveline Scotland.
Between July and September, there’s a service right up the glen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Check with Ross’s Minibuses for details.
Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain is one of four places to explore in Glen Affric. Dog Falls is a great place to get a feel for its magical forest, and there’s a charming trail by the river at River Affric. At Plodda Falls a dramatic waterfall plunges through a forest of soaring, tangerine-scented Douglas fir.
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