Walk: Loch an Eilein, Highland

A three-mile circular walk around beautiful Loch an Eilein in the Cairngorms National Park

Loch an Eilein, Scotland ©Alamy
Published: March 17th, 2021 at 1:35 pm
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After a night in Aviemore, wrap up warm and visit a frozen paradise in the pristine Rothiemurchus Estate, with its 10,000 hectares of ancient forest.


Encircled by mature Scots pine, Loch an Eilein is, for many, the finest short walk in the country. The level three-mile circuit is ideal for youngsters and takes around an hour and a half to complete. Birdlife en route includes wrens, jays and treecreepers.

Loch an Eilein
Loch an Eilein in autumn/Credit: Getty

Loch an Eilein walk

3 miles | 1.5 hours | easy

1. East of Eilein

Your mini snowy adventure begins in the northern car park (fee for conservation work). Follow the Loch an Eilein sign through a gap in a wall, passing an idyllic whitewashed cottage. A little further on, go through a gate. Ignore side paths.

2. Southern shores

Pass a sign for Lairig Ghru and Glen Einich. These paths lead deep into the Cairngorms and are used by wilderness aficionados. Continue to hug the loch where possible, making your way along its southern shoreline.

A Treecreeper (Certhidae) climbing on a tree trunk
Treecreeper – a resident of the loch/Credit: Getty

3. Wending west

Another path leads to nearby Loch Gamhna, but for this circuit, simply carry straight on. A ruined 13th-century castle on a tiny island makes for an enchanting sight, with Creag Dhubh rising behind – a great photo opportunity, especially after snowfall.


Loch an Eilein map

Loch an Eilein walking route and map

Loch an Eilein walking route and map


Fergal is an outdoors writer who loves exploring Scotland on foot and by bike.


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