WITH a sizeable beach at just over 1,000ft and great views of the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms, Loch Morlich is not your typical boating pond.
But this is a great place to hire a boat and have a paddle. Needless to say, the variety of walks in the area is superb, from two-day expeditions to short strolls. A circuit of the loch through mixed woodland, taking detours down to the water’s edge and enjoying views of the mountains, is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
DISTANCE 3.5 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 150ft.
TIME 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 36.
PARK Take the B970 from Aviemore, then go through the Rothiemurchus forest to Loch Morlich and park at its eastern end in the Glenmore visitor centre car park. There is a £2 fee.
IN SUMMARY Head to the back of the visitor centre, cross a footbridge and turn right. At the top of a short rise go left at a marker post with a yellow flash to follow a minor road uphill. This leads behind a youth hostel and drops down to a junction. Go straight ahead and follow a track that runs parallel to the road you came in on.
After a couple of hundred yards go left just before a marker post with a red flash. Drop down, cross the road to a car park. Keep to the left, leaving the car park at the bottom to walk past toilets. Bear slightly left to follow a path to Loch Morlich’s main beach.
The route goes clockwise around the loch, following marker posts with red flashes. Follow the beach or path next to it, through trees, to a large burn where you go left to follow it upstream to a large footbridge, which you cross.
On the other side follow a path straight ahead. A short distance on go right at a fork. Ignore a path on the right a little later but do go right at a fork. When the path reaches a track, go right. The track rises up slightly and goes away from the loch before dropping to a junction where you go right. The track almost immediately becomes a path which crosses a footbridge and goes through trees.
At a track go right and follow it to a gate, then across a bridge to reach the road to Glenmore. Go right then drop down a path to the right which leads by the loch to a car park. The way-marked route then crosses the road, turns right and follows a walkway to the minor road which leads behind the youth hostel, from where you retrace your steps to the visitor centre. You may wish to keep following the road to make detours down to the loch. If you do this, return through the beach car park to the start.
REFRESH There is a cafe at the visitor centre and at the Glenmore Shop and Café where a bar has been opened.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA There are a huge range of activities, from sled dog rides to seeing reindeer, a funicular railway to hiring a boat (www.forestry.gov.uk/glenmoreforestpark).