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.
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