The Guisachan Estate - Tomich and Plodda Falls (Aug 2000)

August 2000. Graham and I have spent several days on the west coast and, apart from one fine evening, the weather has been awful. We've made a decision to abort the Highlands and hit the Edinburgh Festival a few days early, but as we've approached Inverness the weather has cleared.

On a whim we've turned left at Drumnadrochit and headed towards Cannich, where we stayed for a few days twenty years ago. After an initial struggle we've secured a room at the Tomich Hotel. It's a fine afternoon so we've decided on a walk down through the Guisachan estate to the Plodda Falls.

There are two main roads through the Guisachan estate and the higher of the two is open to the public by car as far as the Plodda Falls car park. Plodda is three miles distant and we could have driven this, but chose not to. Pictured: a road junction near Knockfin Bridge, just west of Tomich.
The Guisachan Estate lies in upper Strath Glass and, like much of the country around here, is extensively wooded. 
The estate road passes several lodges and estate cottages, many with beautifully manicured gardens. You get the impression that the sun always shines here.
The path makes a significant dogleg to the north of the ruin of the principal estate lodge, Guisachan Lodge.
Beyond the environs of Guisachan Lodge the track runs past Hilton Lodge, a very grand and very secluded house set behind a lake covered in lilies. The road pictured here is just short of the lodge. Beyond Hilton Lodge a hill track goes off to the left to Glen Morriston, and a few hundred meters past this path junction is the Plodda Falls car park. We left the main track there to cut through the car park and down the path to the right. 
Not far along the path we heard the sound of rushing water and found this cascade just to the left. Plodda Falls, presumably.
Yes, very picturesque and most pleasant. Time to turn back, then. But we decided to vary the route and follow the path downhill, to the north, to take the lower estate path back to Tomich.
A good thing we did, for it was five minutes later that we discovered the real Plodda Falls. The cascade we'd seen a few hundred yards back wasn't Plodda Falls at all but simply a prelude. There's an observation platform built out over the vertical drop and this is the view looking straight down.
The exact same view but this time portrait rather than landscape.
The path wandered down through the trees and a side path, almost hidden, gave access to the foot of the falls.
After a quick look at the cascade issuing from the rockpool at the base of the falls...
...I made sure I'd got a handful of good photos of the falls. West-facing, they get the best of the light in late afternoon.
These four shots...
...are close-ups...
...of the falls...
...from lip to foot. Nice, eh?
From Plodda Falls a beautiful woodland path wanders further downhill. It's not easy to get blasé about this - when the sun shines the sheer beauty of the Scottish Highlands never fails to take your breath away.
There was a lot more breath to be taken away that afternoon. Here, the Allt na Bodachan downstream of Plodda Falls joins the Abhainn Deabhag (the river of upper Strath Glass). The continuation of the valley track westwards to Garve Bridge and Cougie goes through that gate in the middle of shot. If you want to get there you have to wade.
Sheer paradise, isn't it?
Graham commissioned this shot of him standing in the shallows.
Before starting back on the main track, we thought we'd explore a narrow path along the edge of the stream back towards Plodda Falls.
It didn't go very far, but was worth it just to see this...
...and this.
So now it was time to make our way back to Tomich, by the lower estate track near the river. Plodda Lodge is the first cottage passed en route.
The estate track through the grounds of Guisachan Lodge.
This is Guisachan House, once the main house of the Guisachan estate, now a ruin.
The track crosses a greensward... come out onto the estate road from Hilton Lodge, behind us to the west.
The two miles from here back to Tomich were just glorious.
Here and there the road passed isolated estate cottages.
Elsewhere, green pastures stretched down to the river.
An ornamental tree stands proud of the woodland to the right.
The road reaches a tiny cluster of cottages named Balcladaich.
I want to buy this! (One can dream...)
The road approaching Tomich.
Balcladaich. I ran out of film at this point.
Fifteen minutes later we were back at the hotel. There was still an hour before dinner and, not wanting to waste the light I reloaded the camera, gave Graham first turn in the shower and wandered back down the road. Tomich is a beautiful little place, a model village constructed by the Guisachan estate for its staff in the nineteenth century.
Tomich's main street from the west.
Tomich's western outskirts.
The main Guisachan estate road.
With the light this good it was just about impossible to get a bad shot. I could almost point the camera at random.
The trees and meadows glowing gold in the early evening sun. 
Has Scotland ever looked so beautiful? There was a strong temptation to use up the whole film.
Every few yards brought forth a new vista of sunlit meadows.
Another one. Words aren't really necessary here.
The sun was very low and I realised I was going to run out of light within a couple of minutes.
The last one - and arguably the best - before the sun set over Beinn nan Sparra. Wistfully, I made my way back to Tomich and dinner.

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This page last updated 12th December 2000