This leg is considerably easier than the previous one that took the trail over the hills from Drumnadrochit. Initially it follows a minor road north from Caiplich, before taking an old drove road that offer some pleasant views over the surrounding hills. This soon plunges into an area of old woodland, although the track underfoot is in good condition as it gently descends. Eventually the track is left behind and a good path plunges downhill towards the site of the spectacular old hospital in Leachkin.
3 hours 16 minutes
Map of the leg
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format.
This leg starts on a road near the Caiplich Prehistoric Settlement at NH548368.
Turn left to follow this road north-northeastwards; it slowly curves to take a more northeasterly course. After a mile it emerges from the forest near a house called Ladycairn; continue along the road for another 1.3 miles as it crosses moorland. It curves sharply to the left to cross a stream, and then to the right. Shortly afterwards a good path leads off to the left at NH569399, following an old drove yard across moorland. The path diverges slowly away from the road for 0.9 miles before reaching some woodland at NH581406.
Some sparse old coniferous woodland starts on the left, and soon afterwards on the right. This is a much more pleasant and lighter area than the tightly-packed coniferous woodland that was passed through earlier in the day. Go through a clapper gate to enter the woodland. At NH596410 the path curves to the left; do not continue straight on along a minor path. Go through another clapper gate to continue on along the track, following a moss-laden stone wall on the right.
The path follows what was obviously once quite a wide track beside the wall, now narrowed by shrubbery. It passes under two sets of high-tension power lines and then skirts immediately to the west of Dunain Hill, its summit out of sight to the right. Go through a clapper gate to join a track; head straight on downhill along this track.
As it approaches another set of power lines at NH626437 the track forks; take the right-hand branch, immediately passing a pylon. As it emerges from the trees turn left through a gate to pass a lake on the left, and the first views over Inverness unfold ahead. The path winds downhill, curving to the right to reach a clapper gate. Go through this and follow the path as it curves sharply to the left downhill to the east; at the bottom go through a clapper gate to reach the end of a road at NH635440. Turn left, immediately passing the gable ends of two whitewashed buildings on the left. (It should be noted that this area is going to be redeveloped, and so the precise directions may be changed).
Turn left, keeping the buildings on the left and then turn right down a track that soon leads out onto a road. Turn left to head northeastwards up this road for a short distance to reach another road junction in Leachkin at NH637441.
Places of interest
Caiplich Prehistoric Settlement and Field System
The Caiplich Prehistoric Settlement is a collection of prehistoric hut rings situated just off the Great Glen Way. There is little to see aside from bumps and lumps in the heather; there is a lay-by on the adjacent road where you can park.
location UID #322
Caiplich is situated on a long road that has no public transport links.
Fortunately Leachkin has better public transport links. with regular buses serving the New Craigs Hospital a short distance down the road from end of the walk.
As usual, Traveline Scotland is an excellent resource for planning public transport journeys.