The castle on the island in the loch is the heart of Rothiemurchus Forest.
Aviemore PH22 1QP, Scotland 4.2 Miles 1.5 HoursEasy
Paths: Smooths paths with a high ladder stile
Landscape: Pine forest around loch
Dog Friendliness: Yes but on lead on Rothiemurchus Estate
Parking: Estate car park near Loch an Eilein
Public toilets: At visitor centre
From the end of the car park, a made up path leads to the visitor centre. Make a left turn and cross the end of Loch An Eilein, then turn right onto a smooth sandy track. The loch shore is nearby on the right. There are small paths leading down to it if you wish to visit. Just past a red roofed house, a deer fence runs across, with a gate.
The track now becomes a wide, smooth path, which runs close to the loch side. Cross the bridge, then when the main track forks, go right to pass a bench backed by a flat boulder. After crossing a stream at a low concrete footbridge, the path bends right for 120yds (110m) to a junction. Just beyond is a footbridge with wooden handrails.
Turn left before the footbridge onto a narrower path, which will pass around Loch Gamhna. This second loch soon appears on your right-hand side. Where the path forks, keep right to pass along the loch side, across its head (rather boggy) and back along its further side, to re-join the wider path around Loch an Eilein. Turn left here.
Follow the path around Loch an Eilein, with the water on your right, to a reedy corner of the loch and a bench. About 55 yards (51m) further, the path turns sharply right, signposted 'footpath'. After a gate, turn right to the loch side and a memorial to Major General Brook Rice. Follow the shore to the point opposite the castle, then back up to the wide track above. A deer fence on the left leads back to the visitor centre.
From here, a stiff climb (around 500ft/152m) can be made on to the rocky little hill of Ord Ban, a superb viewpoint. Cross a ladder stile immediately to the right of the toilet block and follow the deer fence to the right for 150yds (137m), to a point behind the car park. Just behind one of the lowest birches on the slope, a small path zigzags up the steep slope. It slants to the left to avoid crags, then crosses a small rock slab (take care if wet) and continues on to the summit. Descend by the same path.
We offer plenty of cottages in some of the UK’s most dog friendly places with outdoor space for exploring and indoor space for relaxation. Start your search below.