Walk: Views to amaze on Knockfarrel Ridge

Highland | Strathpeffer | Half day walk | ★★★

[Knockfarrel Ridge]

Knock Farril is Strathpeffer's local hill, cutting the town off from the adjacent Black Isle region. This circuit explores most of the ridge, with an almost imperceptible ascent via the delightful Touchstone Maze: a complicated stone labyrinth aligned with solstices, festivals and Scotland's geology all in mind. The east end of the ridge is crowned with a vitrified hill fort and superlative views of the Cromarty Firth, but the west end is the true summit. Views are obscured by trees from the latter, but find the correct descent path and vegetation thins briefly to allow a vista up Strathconon towards the Northwest Highlands. The return route is in abrupt contrast to the straightforward preceding terrain, with a steep and narrow path threading through dense forestry back to the start.

[Touchstone Maze]

📌 Walk: Views to amaze on Knockfarrel Ridge ★★★
Start / finish at Blackmuir Wood car park, off A834 half a mile southwest of Strathpeffer village centre, G.R.: NH 479574 ///digital.incline.fallback

▶ 7 km / 4 mi | ▲ 260 m | ⌚ Half a day | Moderate
Features: Touchstone Maze; △ Knock Farril (218 m) & fort; △ Cnoc Mòr (269 m, sub-2000')
Terrain: Wide paths / tracks to Knock Farril with gentle ascents, becoming much narrower and steeper on Cnoc Mòr and for descent back to start.

Route & map

Car park - Touchstone Maze - Knock Farril - Cnoc Mòr - Fir Lodge - start


Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: 2020: A couple of red squirrels on Cnoc Mòr, red kites and a shrew on ascent to the ridge. We saw a pine marten near the base of the hill on a separate occasion. 2013: Forest birds.
Weather: 2020: Sunny intervals, breezy with temperature in mid teens. 2013: Cloudy but with sunshine over Cromarty Firth, then unexpected rain on Cnoc Mòr.

Chronological photo guide

[Path to the Touchstone Maze]

[Touchstone Maze]

[Thistle]

[Approaching Knock Farril]

[Knock Farril]

[Views from Knock Farril - looking south over Loch Ussie]

[Views from Knock Farril - looking north towards Ben Wyvis]

[Views from Knock Farril - looking east towards the Cromarty Firth]

[Views from Knock Farril - looking west along the ridge]

[Peacock butterfly caterpillar]

[Ridge to Cnoc Mòr]

[Rougher paths on Cnoc Mòr]

[Cnoc Mòr]

[View northwest from Cnoc Mòr]

[Steep descent from Cnoc Mòr]

[Red squirrel on Cnoc Mòr]

[Track return to start]

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