Uath Lochans and Glen Feshie, Inverness-shire

Grade: Easy mountain bike ride with some tarmac-bashing

Distance: 15 miles/25km

Time: 1.5-3 hours

GLEN Feshie is a jewel in the Cairngorms crown. This lovely glen will always be associated with the 19th Century artist Sir Edwin Landseer and his Monarch of the Glen. That iconic red deer stag has become a symbol to those who oppose the estate’s plans to regenerate the woods by culling large numbers of deer.

Despite the opposition it’s clear the estate’s regeneration programme is working successfully. After only a few years of this management, the changes to the face of the landscape are marked and positive. Young pines are growing on the roadside slopes, young birch trees are abundant and there is a freshness and a vibrancy in the glen that suggests nothing less than complete renewal. And capercaille have returned to the glen.

I began this ride from the Uath Lochans car park at the foot of Glen Feshie, following the wide track round the edge of the lochans before leaving them behind and climbing a short rise. Halfway up this hill a narrow singletrack breaks off to the left and I followed it downhill, past a wooden seat and into some birch growth where the path becomes very narrow.

After a short distance the path veers to the left and climbs a short rise to reach a wider forest track. I turned right here and followed the track, generally slightly uphill, all the way to the first turning on the right. (If you want some extra exercise you can continue straight on here to climb to the summit trig point of Creag Dhubh at 445m.) This downhill track took me to another junction where I turned left. I followed this track, past two turn-offs to the right, (To Inveruglas) for just over two kilometres. Once past a gate and a short rise you reach a cross-roads. The track to the right is signposted to Drumguish and Kingussie but I turned left, steeply uphill and over a forested rise, before the track abruptly turned left and downhill to a footbridge over a stream, the Allt Fhearnasdail, at Baileguish.

Once over the bridge turn right onto a new path and follow it past a ruined farmhouse before crossing the Allt Fhearnasdail again. Once over the footbridge turn left and follow the track past the ruins of Corarnstilmore. Beyond the ruins the tracks climbs and returns to the forest. Follow the track through the forest to reach the tarmac road that runs to Glen Feshie.

You could turn left here and follow the tarmac back to the start but it’s better to turn right and follow the road all the way to Carnachuin, enjoying the glorious views of the River Feshie as it tumbles down the glen with the high hills of the Great Moss beyond. Particularly impressive is the view of narrow Coire Gharblach as it bites its way into the high hillside.

From Carnachuin return the way you came, enjoying the largely downhill rush, and follow the tarmac all the way back to the turn-off to the Uath Lochans beyond Ballintean and your starting-point.

Map: Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 36 (Grantown-on-Spey & Aviemore)
Start/Finish: Uath Lochans car park, near Kincraig. From Aviemore take the B9152 south to Kincraig. Turn left opposite the war memorial, signposted for Feshiebridge, and follow the road through the village and across the river to a T-junction. Turn right here (signposted for Insh) and after a little less than ½ mile (800 metres), take a left fork signed as a no through road. Follow this road for 1 mile (1.6 km) and the car park is on your right, at NH 838 022.
Distance: 15miles/25km
Time: 1.5 – 3 hours
Terrain: Short sections of singletrack, wide forest tracks and some private tarmac road
Harveys Cairngorms Coffee & Cake: Loch Insh Watersports Centre

The National:

Kincraig Link to digital map: © Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 059/20.