Rothiemurchus and Glenmore

Distance: 25km/15 miles

Time: 1.5-2.5 hours

Grade: Short but technical route with a couple of short steep hills and off-road sections

THIS is one of my favourite short routes and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cycled it, either on a mountain bike or on a fatbike in snowy winter conditions. The route makes full use of the excellent Loggers’ Way which starts at Inverdruie on the Aviemore to Glenmore road. This route commemorates the forest workers who used to bring the logs down to Aviemore to float them down the River Spey to the sea. It’s a gently rising route that begins at the big car park at Inverdruie and parallels the main road for a short distance before turning into the forest. It returns to the road briefly by the Coylumbridge camp site then re-enters the forest for a short uphill section before crossing the road.

The National:

From here, the route meanders through the pines of the forest with distant views of the Kincardine hills on your left and the Cairngorms on your right. At Glenmore follows signs for Glenmore Lodge, pass the Reindeer House and shortly afterwards leave the tarmac for another off-road section which involves a couple of short, steep hills.

Pass, the National Mountaineering Centre at Glenmore Lodge, and continue along a wide forestry path to cross a bridge over a stream. Once across the bridge turn right and climb gently to a ford over the Allt Ban. If you don’t fancy the ford, there is a footbridge just upstream.

Once across the river continue on the obvious track ignoring turns to left and right. Cross another footbridge and continue to the next footbridge, near a Forest Enterprise car park. Go through the car park, turn left, cross the main Cairn Gorm road and follow a short section of singletrack over a bridge and then alongside the road to another car park. Turn left here and follow the trail that follows the south shore of Loch Morlich with lovely views across the loch towards Meall a’ Buachaille.

Follow this broad track west, cross another footbridge and cycle along a rather rutted section to meet the Rothiemurchus Lodge road. Turn left onto it and follow it for about 2km until you see a signposted route (Piccadilly & Lairig Ghru) off to the right. Follow this narrower track now, climbing gently towards a giant pine before a lovely downhill section sweeps you down to the path junction known locally as Piccadilly.

If you turn left here the path rises steadily through stunted pines and eventually leads to the Lairig Ghru so instead of turning left keep straight on, downhill now, to meet the Am Beanaidh. The trees thin out here and there is a bit of a meadow. Some ruins to the right were once the home of a family of MacGregors, well distant from the usual MacGregor territories in the west.

The path hereabouts is badly rutted and it can also become very muddy here after wet weather. Follow this path to the Cairngorm Club footbridge, then turn right after crossing the bridge. At the next junction you can turn left and continue enjoying the excellent trail all the way to Loch an Eilein. If you take this route and follow the trail around the loch you’ll add 3km to the total distance.

Generally speaking I prefer to carry straight on at the junction and continue through a gate all the way down to the Coylumbridge campsite. The track is narrow and trends slightly downhill all the way and for me it offers a most enjoyable finale through the Caledonian Pine Forest. There are three gates to go through before you reach the camp site where you turn left onto your outward route and follow it back to Inverdruie.

The National:

Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 36 (Grantown & Aviemore)
Distance: 25km/15 miles
Time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Start/Finish: Car Park at Inverdruie, near Aviemore (GR: NH902109)
Public transport: Regular train and bus services to Aviemore from all major centres. Details from
Coffee & Cake: The Glenmore Café and Pine Marten Bar
Find out more:, 0300 067 6100 Link to digital map: © Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 059/20.