Caithness Holiday Day 4: when a forest is not a wood

Sometimes I have to tell it like it is. Dunnet Forest is one of the least pleasant collections of trees I’ve ever had the displeasure of walking through. From start to finish, a total misuse of the land.

Within 50yd of the carpark are multiple signs warning owners to pick up after their dogs and to use the bin, even with the emotional manipulation that excrement left around could blind a child.

The woodland itself is awful – monoculture spruce with barren lack of undergrowth.

The only burn I saw was a stretch of ~70yd of stagnant scum-covered sludge, vibrant orange with industrial pollution.

There is a reek of unjust hypocrisy about the whole affair: one cannot help but think, even if there is some credibility in the idea of a small kid putting something off the forest floor in their eye, by surface area and decay-rate alone, they would be far more likely to encounter danger in the polluted stream than from anything left behind by a dog – which would, if anything, go some way to re-fertilizing the abused ground beneath the trees.

Toward the end of the ill-defined loop route are several sculptures carved out of the remains of some of the tree trunks. You’ll have had yer entertainment then – but not your walk in nature.

I could not escape fast enough.