Walk: A-maze-ing views on Knockfarrel Ridge

[View west along the ridge from Knock Farril fort]

Knock Farril is Strathpeffer's local hill, guarding the town from the south with great views into the Northern Highlands from the top of the broad ridge. Every year it's the location for bonkers hill-running and cycling races, but luckily your visit can be pain-free. This circuit explores most of the ridge, with an almost imperceptible ascent via the delightful Touchstone Maze. This is an interesting stone labyrinth aligned with solstices, festivals and Scotland's geology all in mind - a sign at the site makes you realise just how complicated it is. The east end of the ridge has the best views of Cromarty Firth but the west end is the true high point (with views partly obscured by trees). The descent comes as an abrupt contrast to the straightforward preceding terrain, with a steep and narrow path threading through dense forestry to the start.

[Touchstone Maze]

Name: Walk: A-maze-ing views on Knockfarrel Ridge ★☆☆
Length: 7 km / 4 miles
Ascent: 260 metres
Main summits: Knock Farril & fort (218 metres); Cnoc Mor (269 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: Touchstone Maze; Knockfarrel Ridge
Start / finish: Blackmuir Wood car park at the south end of Strathpeffer, G.R.: NH 479574 / digital incline fallback

Route: Car park - Fir Lodge - Blackmuir Wood - Touchstone Maze - Knock Farril - Cnoc Mor via ridge crest - Fir Lodge - start. August 2017: Descent may be blocked by tree felling - will try to investigate soon!
Terrain: Wide paths and tracks to Knock Farril and Cnoc Mor with gentle ascents. Contrastingly narrow, very steep paths for descent back to start.
Wildlife today: Forest birds, but mostly quiet.
Weather today: Cloudy overhead but with sunshine over Cromarty Firth. Rain at Cnoc Mor. Scottish weather lesson #48 - it's almost never too nice to leave waterproofs in the car....

[Cromarty Firth, seen from Knock Farril fort]


Route credit: Walkhighlands

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