Walk: The curious case of vanishing Loch Vaa

Highland | Boat of Garten | Short walk | ★★★

[Loch Vaa]

Loch Vaa is one of dozens of lochans deep within the Caledonian forests northwest of the Cairngorms. Its shores are brightened by a colourful boathouse, grebes and wading birds, with good views of scacely-climbed Beinn Ghuilbin from the eastern shoreline. However, the most noteworthy part of a wander here in recent years has been the body of the loch itself, which has been prone to unpredictable swings in water level despite being fed by usually reliable springs. In May 2019, the water line reached a 750-year low, marooning the boathouse far from the shore; in April 2020, the water rose to its highest level in decades, jamming boats against the building's ceiling. A mile away, neighbouring Avie Lochan retained stable water levels throughout. Who knows what future years will bring?

[Loch Vaa]

📌 Walk: The curious case of vanishing Loch Vaa ★★★
Start / finish at Laggantygown cemetery car park on A95, 2 mi southwest of Boat of Garten, G.R.: NH 910174 ///violin.justifies.joys

▶ 2 km / 1 mi | ▲ 30 m | ⌚ Short | Easy
Features: Loch Vaa
Terrain: Woodland paths throughout, often narrow and informal. There is a fence to climb (perhaps with rocks placed to facilitate this) at the southeast end of the loch.

Route & map

Clockwise circuit of Loch Vaa

Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Little grebes, common sandpipers, greylag geese, a screeching bird of prey, roe deer, wood ant nests.
Weather: 12°C, mostly cloudy.

Chronological photo guide

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Wood ant nest]

[Wood ants]

[Woodland path]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

[Loch Vaa]

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