logo Walking Britain

Cairngorm Walk
Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore)

Nat Park - Cairngorm

County/Area - Highland

Author - Peter Smyly

Length - 3.5 miles / 5.7 km

Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres

Time - 2 hours 20 minutes

Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference NH895123
Lat 57.188144 // Long -3.829941
Postcode PH22 1PD (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Photo from the walk - Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore)
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This is a walk that can be completed in a couple of hours or less and one which offers a fine view over the town of Aviemore and the mountains of the Cairngorms in the distance. For anybody staying in Aviemore with a couple of hours to spare, and looking for a shorter walk to occupy part of a day, this is a good choice under the right weather conditions as, with minimal effort, there are fine views from the top ridge.

Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) Craigellachie National Nature Reserve (Aviemore) 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

From Aviewmore Railway station (grid ref.NH895123) walk south along the main street. A sign for a catholic church off the main road passing through Aviemore leads not only to the church but Aviemore Youth Hostel. Follow the trail through woods to the right of Aviemore Youth Hostel. The path passes through a tunnel under the busy A9 and, on emerging on the other side, turns right. A noticeboard appears on the left of the path with a map of the route ahead through the woods which has silver birch trees covered in lichen, among other types of trees. A small sheet of water, Loch Puladdern, appears through the trees on the right, a shallow lake that is situated within yards of the traffic noise of the A9. It has one distinctive feature, a peninsula with a hill on it but much of the opposite end is becoming overgrown with reeds. The path skirts along the side of the hill to the left to avoid the cliffs above, but once clear of these, starts gaining height in earnest as it goes up the hill to the left with the hill of Creag nan Gabhar appearing to the right. Prior to that, the path even seems to be going the wrong way at one point as it veers off to the right for a while.

Looking back from the ascent through woodland, some of the mountains of the Cairngorms appear in the distance. There are no difficulties in route finding although the path is steep in places as it makes its way up through trees and emerges on to open felllside with a fine view of Aviemore below. The clear path leads all the way to the summit which, in July 2010, had a summit cairn, the top part of which looked precarious and about to topple over. Three lochs or lochans can be seen from the top, each one further away than the other in a row with Lochan Dubh being the one immediately below. As there is no clear way of making this walk a circular route, return to the start of the walk by reversing the outgoing route.

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers. Travel restrictions for exercise in Wales and Scotland will be lifted in early July.

Covid 19 Update for Walkers

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL37Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL37Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 36Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 36Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Recommended Books & eBooks

Cicerone Books

Cicerone PressCicerone Press offer a range of Books and eBooks offering guides to all the popular walking areas and long-distance trails in Britain and overseas. Their illustrated guides feature walks, information and maps to help you make the most of the outdoors.
Explore Cicerone's Catalogue

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Walking - Covid 19 update

Regular updates on how Covid 19 will impact on walking in the UK More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.