We head towards the river, following the sound of water splashing and frolicking over the rocks. Our path is strewn with bronze, yellow and gold, littered with leaves from rowan, oak, and beech, and the needles of Scots Pine. The occasional blaeberries still cling to plants here and there, and the heathers summon their energies for a final fling as they send forth the last of their flowers for this year.
A wild assortment of fungi – brown, white, red, yellow – are scattered along the way. We meet many growing by the path on the woodland floor. Still others make their home on dead and decaying trees. Some remain fresh and clean, some are half eaten, and others are in the process of decay having released their spores to propagate themselves further into the forest.
So many wonderful wild flowers and grasses delight our senses. Summers floral flush has passed for this year, but the promise of an abundance of beauty is evident in their leafy presence – wood sage, wood sorrel, bugle and wood violets; ivy and honeysuckle; wood- rush, tufted hair-grass, geraniums, self-heal, wild strawberries, and more. A few flowers still remain on some of the hawkweeds and devil’s bit scabious to remind us of their earlier splendour and future return.
A profusion of larger ferns clothe parts of the forest floor. Some of the smaller varieties take advantage of the opportunity to find a little crevice where they can settle in and make themselves at home.
We climb higher as we make our way along the narrow path, brushing past the heathers on either side of us to the sound of the River Findhorn gushing along some 100 feet below us.
￼Steep cliff edges tumble down into the dark peaty water below, where swirls of foam* dance and play on the surface. Following one of the paths down, closer to the river, we discover a little world of perpetual wetness. Here water constantly drips down through the woodland floor, bathing a nook in the cliff edge which responds by clothing itself with mosses and algae.
We come to a sandy beach, a few metres long. Here we can sit on the rocks jutting out of the water, taking time to pause and relish the presence of the river and its intensity. Higher up the banking we see evidence of the higher waters which swept down this gully not so many days ago when the rains were profuse and the river was in spate, swallowing up the rock where we now sit.
Climbing back up to the path, we are accompanied by the glowing greens and reds of mosses which flourish under their canopy of oak, scots pine, rowan and birch.￼￼
As the river continues to surge past below us, the path follows an expansive stretch of alder trees relishing the wet, boggy ground they love to grow in.
Eventually we come to Logie, greeted first by the main house before we climb upwards again. Onward to the steading where we replenish ourselves with lunch at the café. The day is warm, so we are happy to sit and eat outside, enjoying the comings and goings of people and dogs visiting the shops and café.
Refreshed and refuelled, we head back to our starting point. Taking the upper path higher above the river we enjoy a view of the deciduous trees on the opposite bank, clothing themselves in their autumn colours.
Rowan berries, holly berries, brambles, and late flowers on the male ivy provide sustenance for the bees and birds. Bird song accompanies our walk, more audible as we move further from the gushing and tumbling of the river. As we complete todays walk we comment, yet again, on the beauty around us and the bounty of Natures table. So much to see, explore, and enjoy.
by Susan McCrone
*This is a natural foam. “When leaves, twigs or other organic substances fall into water and begin decaying, they release compounds known as surfacants. This interaction breaks the surface tension, which in turn allows air to more easily mix with water and creates bubbles. These bubbles congregate as natural foam.” Rappflow.org