Rothiemurchus & Glenmore

Posted: 13.24hrs on Fri 15th Apr 11
A lovely day with the travel editor from Prima magazine. She's writing an article on the National Park and I'd been asked to take her on a guided low level walk around some of the area's highlights.

The plan for the day was to see some of the amazing lochs and forests and specifically in the Rothiemurchus Forest, Loch and Eilein and the hill viewpoint of Ord Ban; and in Glenmore Forest, Loch Morlich and Lochan Uaine (the green lochan)

Loch an Eilein was voted by the public as Scotland's best picnic spot for 2010/2011 and the highlight is seeing the ruined castle on the small island in the loch. The castle dates back to the late 13th century with the sturdy tower house section added mid 15th Century. The island used to provide a home for a pair of ospreys but the increased number of visitors to this beautiful location mean it is not now an attractive proposition for the nervous fish eating birds of prey.

The path up Ord Ban (light coloured hill) begins next to the gallery and shop close to the loch shore. It slowly zig zags it's way up the steep hillside through typical caledonian forest of scots pine, silver birch and juniper. The view improves as you ascend with the shimmering Loch an Eilein below and the majestic snow wreathed cairngorm corries dominating the skyline. The walk takes around 30min at a leisurely pace and the view at the top is worth it! It gives a full 360 degree view of the Spey Valley, Glenmore, the cairngorm northern corries, the Sgoran range and Glen Feshie. A good place to get your bearings and reflect on or plan vists to some of the sites in view.

The afternoon saw us in the Glenmore Forest on a walk up the Ryvoan Pass to Lochan Uaine. Although we were on the lookout for Scottish Crossbills, Pine Martens and Red Squirrels who populate the woods around here we didn't spot any, we did however find plenty of pine cones lying around that had been half devoured by the cute creatures!

Lochan Uaine is "green lochan" and the water is green because the local faeries (sidhe in gaelic pronounced shee) wash their clothes in there. These sidhe are not lovely tinkerbell type creatures but evil and mischevious nuisances. Lochan Uaine lies at the foot of a large hill which is actually a sithean (sheean) or fairy tower where the sidhe live. They exit via a secret doorway in the side of the hill after sunset to wreak havoc on Glenmore's human inhabitants! There are many stories told about the sidhe and if you ever come walking or biking up here with me expect to hear one or two of them :-)

Higher up the pass beyond Lochan Uaine is the Ryvoan Bothy, a small sturdy stone building open to all and often provides a welcome dry resting place or an overnight base to walk up some of the nearby hills. The track over the Ryvoan Pass as an important drovers road linking ith more tracks heading north or west to the coast. This is also the border between the neighbouring estates of Nethy and Glenmore and in times past cattle was often stolen on midnight raids with bloody consequences.

There is much to see in Rothiemurchus and Glenmore and it's difficult to experience everything in 1 day but at least Jane got to experience some of the highlights. This sort of excursion is what I offer as a "Lochs and Forests" walk or bike ride. I look forward to showing more keen visitors around on a similarly enjoyable trip. :-)
Ord Ban view

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