Evening walk in the Forres woods
led by Norman Thomson and Howard Stollar
Wednesday, 21st June at 7pm
Nineteen club members and three friendly dogs gathered in the Cluny woods on the evening of the summer solstice – and a perfect evening it was. The walk was led by Norman Thomson, who was, as ever, full of information about the nature and the history of our surroundings. He was assisted by his friend Howard Stollar who shared his knowledge about the plants and trees.
The walk began with an exploration of Cluny Cemetery on the side of one of the four sandy hills that form this area, plus some experimental tree girth measurements ( Norman had thoughtfully brought a tape measure) to estimate the age of some of the trees. We then proceeded up to the highest of the hills where the Nelson Tower is situated, affording a fine view of the Moray Firth. The Tower was built in 1806 commemorating Nelson who died at Trafalgar the previous year. From the Tower we descended into the mysteriously named Helge’s Hole, a basin between the hills where the vegetation is more diverse, including rhododendrons, azaleas, and acers. Our final stopping place was the terrace outside Cluny College, once a hydropathic hotel, now owned by the Findhorn Foundation, and used for residential courses. From there it was a short walk downhill to our cars parked in St Leonard’s road.
For more information about this walk, Norman Thomson’s book, A Forres Companion is a good place to start.
forresfootpathstrust.org.uk has guides for this and other walks in the Forres area.
The Nelson Tower is usually open to the public every day from April to September 2-4pm ( check that the Red Ensign is flying from the mast). The Tower is maintained by volunteers from The Forres Heritage Trust.