The Affric Kintail Way - Route Description

Stage 1: Drumnadrochit to Cannich

Drumnadrochit TIC to Cannich Village

Route Map Section 1

  • Start: Drumnadrochit TIC (57.335243,-4.480301)
  • Finish: Cannich Village (57.346602,-4.764508)
  • OS Landranger Map: 26 (Inverness & Loch Ness)
  • Total Distance: 13.5 miles/21.6km
  • Max Altitiude: 925ft/281m
  • Min Altitude: 101ft/31m
  • % of Ascent: 46%
  • Total Ascent: 1988ft/606m
  • Total Ascent Distance: 5.75miles/9.5km
  • % of Descent: 44%
  • Total Descent Distance: 5.5miles/9km
  • Total Descent: -2106ft/-642m

Affric Kintail Way Route MarkerFrom the east the start of the Affric Kintail Way is at the Drumnadrochit Tourist Information Centre (TIC). Drumnadrochit - "ridge of the bridge" - is situated at the crossing of the River Enrick on the traditional route between Inverness and the south. Dating from the 12th century one of it's main features is the Telford Bridge built in the early 1800s and replaced shortly afterwards when the original was washed away in a flood. The village green of old was the overnight resting place for sheep and cattle en route to market. Given its location on Loch Ness it is not surprising Drumnadrochit has two Nessie exhibition centres while historic Urquhart Castle is just south of the village at Strone Point.

From the TIC head south on the A82 for a couple of hundred meters before turning right into Pitkerrald Road Road (signposted) passing the school entrance on your left and taking the left hand fork at the top of the road. Head for the two large Wellingtonias and just after passing between them turn sharp right into the Craigmonie Woodland. There are several waymarked walks within the woodland - the walk to the site of the ancient fort is well worth a detour - so take care to follow the AKW markers. The route skirts north and then west around Craig Monie staying close to the River Enrick before winding steeply uphill to join the main forestry road through Glenurquhart. There are some nice views to be had of the glen and the small hamlet of Milton and Loch Ness.

Glenurquhart's modern economy is based around agriculture and forestry, the woodlands being replanted by the Forestry Commission after two world wars had taken its toll of natural timber. In earlier years the Glen boasted a variety of industries such as weaving, cobbling and meal milling. In the mid 19th Century the local population numbered around 3000 but this reduced to around half that a hundred years later although in the past few decades with the expansion of Inverness the Glen has become a popular residential area and the population is on the increase.

The trail continues along this well maintained forestry road through more open countryside with very pleasant views for some 5km to the FCS car park near the village of Balnain (Town of the Ford) where the River Enrick leaves Loch Meiklie. From here carry on west and this Loch soon comes into view. This part of the route is an area of farm land so please ensure dogs are kept on leads. The track passes through a farm just prior to Shenval so please ensure gates are closed after you and take extra care if cattle are present.

Leaving Shenval by the unlisted road pick up the forest track again through woodland heading for Corrimony home to a 4,000 year old Chambered Cairn. Corrimony is also the place where legend has it that the Scandinavian Prince Mony died of his wounds following his defeat and retreat from Craigmonie. The track exits a gate onto the unlisted road close to the settlement at Corrimony. Turning right takes you to the A831 which you follow all the way into Cannich village. Please take care on this section of public road using the verges where possible.

While Cannich (place of the bog cotton), or Invercannich, can be found on maps going back several centuries, the development of the village in recent times was mainly due to the Hydro-Electric Schemes dating from the late 1940s. In earlier times Comar was the seat of the Clan Chisholm and there is an association with Bonnie Prince Charlie here as well as at nearby Fasnakyle following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746.