A fun route with great variety and beautiful scenery - 12 or 24 miles.
There is a visitor centre at Loch an Eilean giving general information about the Cairngorms, plus toilets and a car park. Loch an Eilean means loch of the island in Gaelic. The castle on the island dates from the 12th century.
The Scots pine woods in Rothiemurchus here aren't just a historic remnant of how Scotland used to be - they're also extremely beautiful. The pine woods are being extended naturally with trees springing up because the area is protected by fencing to keep deer out.
Places to eat
The Boathouse Restaurant at Loch Insh (100 metres off-route). Kincraig is a very pretty village slightly off route with a small shop, a hotel and a number of excellent B&Bs. The Boathouse is also a sailing school, there's a sandy beach.
Good place to picnic
Uath Lochan (nature trails). This is a very pretty spot with excellent views of the Cairngorm Mountains and a number of small lochans. "
This circular route is in fact a figure of eight. Each loop is 12 miles so you could do these seperately or combine them for a 24 mile route. The part round Loch an Eilean is a popular walk. Be considerate and thank walkers if they give way.
Northern Loop: Loch an Eilean - Lagganlia - Loch an Eilean (12 miles)
Access to Loch an Eilean is from the B970 running from Inverdruie to Feshiebridge or from trails around Loch Morlich further east, see the related routes button above. Leave the visitor centre, cross the river where it flows out of the loch, then bear right following the loch shore. After about a mile you come to a fork in the track. The left turn takes you towards Loch Morlich, bear right to continue round the loch. The path on this next section is less wide, and forms a footpath round the loch, watch out for pedestrians. You have to leave the trail round Loch an Eilean and cut south to Loch Gamhna. This isn't signposted; it's a left turn 100 metres after crossing a small burn. This is a narrow footpath (see photo). Once you get to Loch Gamhna you have to make another left turn otherwise you'll end up going right round Loch Gamhna and back to Loch an Eilean. Turn left at the first junction. After a couple of miles you pass a small bothy (rough shelter), and see the trees of a plantation forest ahead. Enter the forest. The path becomes a forest road, bear left at a marker post and continue straight on for a mile, taking the second left at at four ways junction for Feshiebridge. You get to the public road opposite some wooden chalets or huts. Turn left here if you are doing the southern loop up Glen Feshie; otherwise turn right. Turn right at the B970 to return to Loch an Eilean. The road runs through trees for just over four miles passing a plant nursery at Inshraich. Finally you see a sign for Loch an Eilean, your starting point is up this road.
Southern Loop: Lagganlia - Achlean - Loch Insh - Feshiebridge (12 miles)
Start from the junction of the B970 and the minor road leading to Lagganlia just north of Feshiebridge. While there are forest tracks in the woods in Glen Feshie, none of them will take you up the glen. Go south on the minor road that leads past Glen Feshie Hostel to Achlean. The road ends at Achlean, two rough paths lead off from here. One goes up the hill to the mountain Carn Ban Mor, this is not bikeable. The other goes up the glen near the river, you can bike this or walk for a mile if you prefer. Continue upstream near the river, the path leads between a small hill and a cottage. After this it crosses a burn then leads over a flat area with grass and heather. You pass a ruined cottage then come to a bridge over the river. Cross the bridge and turn right (north) to go down the glen on the west side. After four miles you pass Uath Lochan (nature trails). This is a very pretty spot, good for a picnic. Shortly after this the road descends more steeply and you join the B970. Turn right. The next junction is a minor road leading to Kincraig. Keep straight on. Continuing along the B970 there's a gentle climb then a dip at Feshiebridge, the river tumbling through a narrow gorge, keep straight on to return to the start.
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