The Leacainn Walk, Furnace

The day was dry. So, we all decided to walk the Leacainn. Studying the map at the Furnace’s village hall we discuss the route. Furnace, one of the Highlands’ first industrial villages, to Auchindrain, the farming township museum is about three miles. Then by crossing the A83 at Auchindrain and taking the track back to Furnace this is a circuit of six miles (9.5kms). ‘Are we up for that?’ went the cry. Mabel certainly was, no doubt wondering if she would find any sticks?

We set off crossing the bridge over the River Leacainn taking the single track ahead. The route is well signed posted with posts detailing points of special interest and illustrated signboards describing focal points. Furnace takes its name from an old iron-ore blast furnace built in 1755. The Old Iron Furnace can be seen by continuing the main road along to the quarry.

The route starts to climb and skirts Dun Leacainn. Looking back to Furnace there are wonderful views to Loch Fyne.

The forest track continues and follows along the river in part to single file access, which is tricky for Mabel who has found a large stick and keeps hitting the backs of our legs with it as she tries to squeeze past us. As we descend into Auchindrain the track runs parallel to the A83. Mabel goes back on her leash.

Walking through the woods there are many kinds of trees from ancient oaks to beeches, firs and Scots pines. These woodlands are home to a variety of wildlife.

Auchindrain museum is open from 1 April to 31 October. We cross the A83 and take the Forestry Commission road until an old stone bridge on the left takes us down the side of the Miller’s Falls, a stunning torrent of wild water.

We pass over several other bridges each with intriguingly old stories and passed the Powdermills Sluice, which controlled the supply of water to power the Powdermills.

Walking along the Powdermills lade we are in the forest and nearing Furnace we later experience more wonderful views of Loch Fyne. The final illustrated signboard explains the history of Powdermills, one of the earliest examples of an assembly line. Taking a steep hairpin bend the path heads towards Furnace and home. Mabel deserves a drink!

And now the launch of Powdermills Bed and Breakfast in Furnace near Inveraray enters a new part in its history.

Thanks to the Scottish Natural Heritage’s Furnace Millennium Project’s informative leaflet and sign boards for their help in making this walk an interesting experience. For more information: The Leacainn Walk.