A leafy path of autumnal leaves
Entrance to Cawdor wood

This is an easy short circular walk from the pretty conservation village of Cawdor. The village is probably best known as the home to Cawdor Castle and gardens which are open to visitors during the late spring, summer and early autumn months. For further details about the castle opening hours and costs, please check their website here http://www.cawdorcastle.com/The-Castle/Opening-Times-Prices.aspx 

As an added incentive the walk can start and end  at the lovely country pub, the Cawdor Tavern http://www.cawdortavern.co.uk/ where you can enjoy lunch or dinner in the restaurant, and a range of bar meals and snacks, or just a hot drink and home bake.  They stock a good range of real ales and local whisky, including Orkney brewery ales. On the day we did this walk we booked a table for Sunday lunch in the wood-panelled dining room and the walk proved a good way to build up an appetite, and maybe even justify a delicious pudding.

How to get there

From Inverglen Guest House take the A96 East (towards Nairn), and shortly after passing the airport turn-off take the exit on the right signposted to Cawdor Castle (the road is the B9006). Keep following this road until you get to Cawdor. Just after you pass Cawdor Church turn right and follow the signs to The Cawdor Tavern (where you can park). The journey is about 13 miles from Inverness.

The Walk

This walk is fairly flat throughout but walking shoes or boots are recommended as parts of the route can be muddy or wet underfoot.

When choosing our walks we use the Walk Highlands website. They have a good selection of walks to choose from for walkers of all abilities. The walks are indexed by area, so you can easily see what is available in the area you are visiting. The walks featured on the website have very clear and accurate descriptions and a lot of information on terrain and ascent, which means that you can pick a walk that suits your needs.

You can find details of this walk at http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/moray/cawdor-burn.shtml.

The walk starts and finishes in Cawdor village and follows a route along the Cawdor burn and the River Nairn. The walk took us about an hour to complete but we were taking things at a leisurely pace to enjoy the autumnal colours. 

We got back to the pub a little early for our lunch reservation, so decided to make a small detour and visit Cawdor Church and graveyard which is a lovely quiet spot. One of the church wardens, Clem Watson,  met us there and told us all about the history of the church, the preparations that are being planned for the celebration of their 400th anniversary in 2019. He also took us to see the grave and tombstone of Dr Niel Smith , who was a ship’s surgeon to Admiral Horatio Nelson. The other gravestone that intrigued us was to Alexander Black, a forester to the Cawdor Estate, which was shaped like a tree trunk, and was erected by Earl Cawdor to his trusted employee in 1883.

It was lovely to get into the pub by the open fire to warm up after our chilly and damp November morning, but we enjoyed a lovely walk and an interesting visit to the church, so if you are planning a trip to Cawdor Castle during the warmer months you may want to spend a little more time around the village to explore.

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Cawdor Burn Circular Walk