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ACTIVE OUTDOORS: On the slide to the setting of The Traitors finale – Evanton's Pink House


By Hector MacKenzie

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It's fascinating to take a look at this curiosity up close and personal. Picture: Hector Mackenzie
It's fascinating to take a look at this curiosity up close and personal. Picture: Hector Mackenzie

Millions of people who haven't been anywhere near the Highlands have nevertheless seen one of Ross-shire's most intriguing landmarks – even if they don't quite realise it.

The so-called Pink House which overlooks Loch Glass in the shadow of famous Ben Wyvis was featured in the first series of the hugely successful BBC reality TV show, The Traitors.

It was seen during the finale of the Claudia Winkleman-fronted show during a challenge in which moneybags totalling £20,000 were scattered around Loch Glass.

With the Traitors now back on our screens and nearby Ardross Castle still the star of the show, this seemed like as good a time as any to finally go and have a gander. And had it not been for the sub-zero temperature and tricky walking surface, that might indeed have been the case.

Now Ross-shire born as I am, I'd never been to the Pink House, despite always having had some sort of an inkling of its existence.

Love it or loathe it (and I love it), The Traitors has helped put this part of the Highlands on the map of many would-be visitors with some stunning footage of the Highlands woven into the game of murder, intrigue and double crossing.

The tantalising first view of the Pink House in the distance. Picture: Grace Mackenzie
The tantalising first view of the Pink House in the distance. Picture: Grace Mackenzie

Find your way to the Easter Ross village of Evanton, passing through its main Balconie Street and crossing the Allt Graad (or River Glass) via the B817 before swinging a sharp left on to the clearly marked Glenglass Road.

Now, if you want to make the walk a little more challenging, you could leave your car (or alternative mode of transport) at Evanton and hoof it (or cycle) the 5.5 miles or so to Eileanach Lodge, the natural starting point of the most accessible route to the Pink House.

The road winds upwards out of Evanton and I made a mental note of an access point to Evanton Community Woodland on the left hand side on our way upwards. The main entrance is in Evanton itself. On this particular Sunday, the road felt considerably longer than its actual length thanks to a glassy surface with frequent patches of ice. Save for the Bealach na Ba mountain pass leading to Applecross, I can't recall the last time I clocked the available passing places with such keen interest.

Just before you reach a rather intimidating looking gate at the end of the road, you'll find a parking space on the right. There was plenty of room when we visited, the bracing, fresh air a welcome jolt to the system after a tense drive.

Claudia Winkleman and BBC reality TV show The Traitors have brought the delights of Loch Glass and The Pink House to a whole new audience. Picture: Studio Lambert/BBC
Claudia Winkleman and BBC reality TV show The Traitors have brought the delights of Loch Glass and The Pink House to a whole new audience. Picture: Studio Lambert/BBC

We shuffled/slid the short distance down to the gate which opened easily enough. These gate and lodge house type combos can be a bit daunting at times so it was a pleasant surprise to be given a friendly welcome as we passed. The freedom to roam is a precious right well worth protecting through the simple expedient of treating others as you'd wish to be treated yourself and accepting the responsibility to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken came to mind soon after as the path forked. If Loch Glass and the Pink House are where you're headed, swing right and keep walking.

The long-abandoned building that has fuelled many a rural idyll fantasy was, it is said, built without planning permission and never inhabited. We were to find that, spectacularly set though it is, it's essentially a shell with a significant number of broken windows and signs warning of a fragile roof. But as you approach the start of Loch Glass , the eye is immediately drawn to the Pink House reflected in the still surface of the water.

It is flanked on one side by the Novar wind farm and Meall Mór and on the other by the rise of Ben Wyvis. The hiking options around the loch, a local reservoir, are plentiful.

As is so often the case in the Highlands, there's a gate to negotiate at the start of the walk. But fear not, it opens easily at the side and you are perfectly entitled to pass through.
As is so often the case in the Highlands, there's a gate to negotiate at the start of the walk. But fear not, it opens easily at the side and you are perfectly entitled to pass through.

On this occasion, with one member of the party nursing a minor foot injury and conditions underfoot a tad slippery, our simple aim was to amble out to the Pink House and back, passing woodland and loch en route and scoping out possible "side project" paths for future reference.

We exchanged pleasantries with a few other walkers ranging from grizzled loners to capering family groups and one group of lads who looked like they had gone missing from a stag party. The joy of this walk is that it can be a straightforward Sunday stroll from a designated car park, an epic hike from Evanton or the heart of a much longer ramble taking in some of the local tops.

And a number of mountain bikers encountered along the way revealed an even wider appeal. I suspect more than a few Traitors fans will also find themselves skirting the shores of Loch Glass too.

Culzie Lodge may be a shell but is still an impressive structure up close. It must surely inspire wistful daydreams given that stunning setting. Will it eventually crumble through lack of maintenance or does some other future use beckon?

Our immediate future was to slip-slide our way back to the car in one piece. I'll be looking at a map and consulted a hardcore hiker with a view to a return to this intriguing spot.

After passing through the gates close to rhe car park at the end of the single track road, swing a right at the fork in the path. You really can't go wrong! Picture: Hector Mackenzie
After passing through the gates close to rhe car park at the end of the single track road, swing a right at the fork in the path. You really can't go wrong! Picture: Hector Mackenzie

Route details

Pink House, Loch Glass

Distance 4 miles / 6km

Terrain Estate tracks

Start/finish Eileanach Lodge, at the end of Glenglass road above Evanton

Map OS Landranger 20; OS Explorer 437

A walk below Wyvis to visit the Pink House beside Loch Glass

Pink House walk, Loch Glass. ©Crown copyright 2024 Ordnance Survey. Media 034/24.
Pink House walk, Loch Glass. ©Crown copyright 2024 Ordnance Survey. Media 034/24.

Click here to see the route in OS Maps


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