Beware a troll invasion has occurred beside the wee tree house bridge. Remember the boardwalks can be quite slippery, so if you are escaping trolldom take care, walk smartly rather than run and slip, trip or fall.Best way to shake off a chasing troll, or kelpie, for that matter, is to cross the quickly as you can....especially if you are on a bike!

Some fantastic intergenerational work has been ongoing with Trish and Creativity in Care. Here are some participants exploring the new peace path.

We have had to discourage folk from walking around the low level paths because of the hung up, root plate traps and windblown tree hazards. The log piles at the entrances to the car park are there for a purpose...everybody's safety!
Keep an eye on the abriachancommunity facebook page or this website for updates. Clearance will take quite a few weeks.

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One of the original aims of our community woodland ownership was to encourage locals and visitors to spend more time being physically active in our beautiful Highland environment. There have been lots of examples of more people being more active more often in Abriachan over the past sixteen years. This has been particularly evident recently thanks to the Highland LEADER 2007-2013 funded Life Cycles project. Thanks to this funding we have three full-time activity leaders who have brought a wide range of new skills to our outdoor learning activities. Roni, Yvonne and Graig are all Forest School trained but with canoeing, climbing,fly fishing, mountain biking, team building, some Gaelic and archery strings to their bows....if you'll pardon the pun. During the lifetime of LifeCycles we supported in total 2,813 extra people who benefited from Life Cycles more than was anticipated. (1445 children & 1368 adults)These included holiday clubs, individuals and groups of adults with various vulnerabilities, young people who have been identified as at risk, looked after children and families in need. One important aspect of the project was to ensure its sustainability and, so far, we have continued the services offered and maintained the activity leader team, gaining Adventurous Activities Licensing certification in the process.

The facilities have also been extended with an archery area being set up, a toxic swamp with assorted challenges, orienteering courses on both sides of the property, a beginners' crag, raft building and a canoe. These options are available to all our pupils and groups providing a health and wellbeing agenda enjoyed by everybody.

Over the past few years we have delivered successful outdoor sessions to adults who have challenging mental health and this has been developed into running the Forestry Commission's Branching Out pilot with NHS Highland. It is hoped that we can replicate this in other areas of Highland and have more Branching Out leaders trained elsewhere.

Claire Henderson and her helpers from the NHS Diabetes Support Group arranged a mountain bike relay race, barbecue and get together for families. There were 13 teams of two who cycled round the green Kelpies' trail as often as possible in the space of an hour.

This little boy is only 4 years old and managed the 3km circuit three times!

...and the orienteers used the purple windows....

The eastern area of the new orienteering map was tested during the weekend of September 8th - 9th. Over 150 orienteers took to the hills where six different courses were set - from easier yellow to increasingly difficult brown and blue. This mapping by Jon Musgrave was funded by Highland LEADER Project 2007 - 2013 as an element of the Life Cycles programme. INVOC (Inverness Orienteering Club) contributed to the print run for the waterproof maps on the day and the family White organised the logistics.

Rowan getting a flying start.

Please remember if you are walking along the Great Glen Way and a log lorry is loading DO NOT WALK patient and wait until the operator acknowledges that he has seen you, otherwise a large log might be accidentally dropped on your head.

All the bike trails are open and have seen lots of use over the past few weeks. The Scottish Cross Country race in April was successfully organised by Ben Wyvis Cycle Club and received very positive feedback...despite the dreich day. All efforts were made to minimise the impact on local residents by making sure all parking for over 200 competitors was kept to the Rivoulich road verge....apologies about the long walk in spectators!

LEADER funding for the Life Cycles project has meant that we have had the whole area mapped for orienteering and also have some smaller sections mapped for fixed O courses and a learning trail thanks to Apex receiving finds from Forestry for People. These are being tested by our local experts at present - ready for action in the autumn.

The Life Cycles funding from Highland LEADER 2007 - 2013 has also funded archery leaders and angling leaders. These have resulted in a wider range of physical activity being offered to many forest users.

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Euroforest have harvested the rest of the lodgepole and sitka so the Kelpie's Trails are now back in operation. There are still a few timber lorry loads to go out along the Great Glen Way so ...........PLEASE OBEY SIGNS AND USE COMMON SENSE. The operator does not see pedestrians or cyclists if they try to squeeze past while he is loading timber.

Check with 01463 861259 (eve) or 861236(day) to get updates on progress.


We have been very fortunate to receive funding from a joint Forestry for People supported project with APEX . This has developed a trail around the forest easy access paths linking signposts to literacy based activities and the production of orienteering maps of the western forest and three fixed O-courses.
As well as funding the new annexe to the forest classroom and the mapping of the eastern Ha of forest, LEADER 2007-2013 has enabled us to provide a tranche of new activities to a variety of user groups. So far these have included archery, Geo-caching, orienteering, Nordic walking and poetry on the move sessions.

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Have you got the enthusiasm, expertise, efficiency and enterprise to assist with the development and enhance the delivery of an innovative and varied programme of activities?

This will encourage groups and individuals to be more physically active and thus improve their health and wellbeing. Successful applicants ( job-share opportunity) should be available to work during school holidays, some evenings and weekends and will be asked to provide a suggested (8 session minimum) programme of activities demonstrating their portfolio of skills. This could include orienteering, mountain biking, geo-caching, team building challenges, bushcraft, creativity (art/crafts/mixed media) in the landscape .
Funding is available for a total of 225 days @ 120 per day
thanks to Highland LEADER Project 2007-2013

Further details and application form can be obtained from :
Suzann Barr , Abriachan Forest Trust,
tel . - 01463 861236 or 01463 861259

Encouraging participation in activities which help to improve health and wellbeing has been one of the Abriachan Forest success stories. We incorporate a variety of different physical exercise options into the programmes offered to pupils and groups who attend. Some just enjoy a self-led stroll along the paths with their dog, others take to more dynamic Nordic Walking and schools often ask us to create specific "smart running" treasure hunt/orienteering activities for pupils. Some mountain bikers ride the existing trails, enjoy the views and also ask for black runs, whereas others are much more tentative and would appreciate a decent practice before they commit themselves to meeting challenges out on the trails. We have listened to requests and suggestions and hope to improve what is on offer through the following -

- a pre-cycle practice / mini-skills area with examples of green berms and blue gnarlies over in the windblown patch behind the toilets
- mapping part of the AFT path network for orienteering and within it to include a fixed literacy trail
- creating a low challenge course for team building/confidence raising
- 2 days of activity leader time each week

We were successful in an application for Highland LEADER funding to support part of this LIFE CYCLES project and will have Jon Musgrave mapping some of the area for orienteering in July, have a team building area and equipment available for use in the autumn and a varied set of opportunities - both of a physical and of a problem solving nature - on offer with the help of 225 days of activity leader input.....see above for application form , job description and contact detail.

If you wish further information please contact 01463 861236 (day) or
01463 861259 (eve)

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The trails at Abriachan provide almost 30km of walking potential. Why not have try at go-faster Nordic walking - we have the poles and the trainers to ensure you choose a route suited to your level of fitness and your preference of panoramic picnic view.

Nordic walking uses specifically designed poles to engage the upper body during fitness walking. Nordic walking was first used as a summer training method for cross-country skiers. The chief attraction of Nordic walking is that it exercises the whole body. As walkers use their arms to push off from flexible poles, the whole range of upper body muscles is used, helping to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. Nordic walking is especially good for those who have progressed from inactivity to moderate activity and are now looking for a more vigorous workout and for those suffering from joint problems. The Nordic walking poles act as two extra legs which take their share of the weight distribution resulting in less stress on the joints.

Nordic walking affords additional health benefits in that it exercises the whole body, allows a more physically intense walk and improves posture and stability.
Increases caloric expenditure- by up to 40%
Increases upper body strength
Less stress on joints
Relieves neck and shoulder pain
Improves neck and chest mobility
Increases safety of walking- stability afforded by poles reduces risk of falling
Allows same intensity of running without high impact
Lower perceived rate of exertion
Enhances mood
Fun and social
Poles are a very useful aid for warm-up and stretching exercises

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SkillsnotSpills mountainbike coaching 
Skills not Spills mountain bike courses for schools

mountainbiking is for everyone...

Getting on your bike regularly not only gets you where you want to go with less damage to the environment and often faster than in a car; it protects you against a wide range of health problems, and also makes you feel better. Mountain biking allows you to experience those far flung places the Highlands have to offer whilst providing the challenges of getting there safely.

Skills not spills is a mountain bike skills programme run at Abriachan Forest Trust specifically aimed at novice to intermediate riders. The programme is designed to build confidence on a mountainbike and offers achievable challenges taught by trained SMBLA coaches.

The Skills not Spills Skills not Spills programme is also offerd to school groups as part of a planned visit to Abriachan Forest. Mountain biking can be teamed up with Forest School activities to offer an exciting and fun packed adventurous day in the forest.

Why not come along and help develop the mountain bikng facilities at AFT. Groups regularly help with trail maintenance and construction. Recently a group from APEX Inverness designed, bench cut, dug, brashed, bridged and have now completed a new 2km section of red route - appreciated by the more daring riders of the trails and also by the walkers who take time to enjoy the magnificent views over the firth to Ben Wyvis and beyond.

AFT coaches work closely with Active Schools Coordinator to run mountain bike skills sessions in the forest.All tutors are Qualified scottish Cycling Level 2 coaches along with SMBLA tutor status. If you would like to bring your school or group for a skills session why not contact either simon or suzann (numbers can be found on the contact page)

Please contact us for prices

School multi activity programmes

Combining outdoor learning, Forest School and cycling, Abriachan Forest Trust run programs specifically aimed at improving not only health but also other core skills. This compelements the four capacities of the Curriciulum for excellence which are to enable young people to become:

succesful learners
confident individuals
responsible citizens
effective contributors

We can plan a bespoke programme that not only improves fitness levels but also develops confidence, raises self esteem and promotes communication skills.

Our multi activity programme recognises the need to promote healthy lifestyles and works positively with organisations and schools to promote this.

These programs can help your school achieve its health promoting aims by tailor making course specifically with your groups in mind.

New Go MTB cycle programs at Abriachan Forest Trust.

A NEW mountain bike proficiency course, designed by Cycling Scotland,The course will cover 4 themes riding skills, first aid, being independent and self supporting and sharing the outdoors. There are 5 levels of proficiency across these 4 themes.

Abriachan is one of only a few accredited centres in the Highlands offering this award. A great way to improve your skill level whilst gaining a nationally recognised award. The program runs for all ages and abilities and can be tailored to any specific groups. please contact simon for details.

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