I recently had the pleasure of spending one of the hottest days of the summer in Cowal, mostly on the west side of Loch Goil.
The visit was organised by the Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs trustees to see the progress on projects that they have supported. One of those was Cormonachan Community Woodlands, near Lochgoilhead
Cormonachan Woodlands is a not for profit organisation who manage the woodlands for its owners, Forest Commission Scotland. Stretching along the banks of Loch Goil the woodlands are maintained by the organisations local volunteers.
Recently they have greatly enhanced the visitor experience, installing new hides to view squirrels as well as extending and improving pathways and tracks.
A walk around Cormonachan Woodlands provides many excellent views over Loch Goil. There are also interruptive boards, artwork and other items of interest for the very pleasant walk.
Secretary of the organisation Doulgas Locke guided us around and mentioned that the seasonal highlights included spring and the blanket of bluebells that can be seen, along with winter to see the Cormonachan Waterfall.
Sadly Douglas’s wife Liz Evans who was a driving force in the conservation and enhancement of Cormonachan Woods had died the previous year. On June 6th 2018 a Contemplation Shelter was opened in fond memory of Liz. The £7,000 needed to build the shelter had been quickly donated by friends and family.
The shelter was erected on Liz’s favourite part of the walk. A spot with beautiful views over Loch Goil, equally striking are the spontaneous tributes written by some of Liz’s many friends, these are engraved on the ceiling of the shelter.
Red Squirrels in Cowal
Cowal has a Red Squirrel Group, a charity dedicated to saving and growing a healthy populaton of red squrrels in Cowal. There are estimated to be 121,000 red squirrels in Scotland, contrasting with the 2.5 million greys.
Red squirrels are threatened by the grey squirrels who can carry a Squirrel Pox virus that doesn’t affect them but will kill a red squirrel if passed on. Greys with their higher numbers have managed to displace the reds by dominating most of the foods shared by both species.
Other locations in Cowal for seeing red squirrels are Glenbranter (Wildlife Hide), Ardentinny, Benmore Garden, Bishop’s Glen, Kilmun Arboretum, Toward Castle and Tighnabruaich.
Cormonachan Woods are doing an excellent job. Food is left for the squirrels at points within view of the hides and this is a good place to see these beautiful animals.
Just 2 miles further along the single track road is the wonderful community of Carrick Castle. Read more about it in our guide (liked below). You could drive along to Carrick Castle or follow the signed path from Cormonachan Woodlands.
Cowal and Scottish Squirrel Preservation
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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