Stage 7: Kingcraig to Aviemore — East Highland Way
Alex Langfield planned a hike.
March 1, 2021
The final stage explores the vast Rothiemurchus Forest via some wonderful sights en route to the Way’s end at Aviemore. Chief among them are the beautiful Loch Gamha and Loch an Eilein, the latter boasting superb island castle ruins. It is a gentle end to your journey, with 10.3 miles (16.6 km) to cover on clear forest tracks and with little elevation gain.
From Kincraig, cross the River Spey and head south east. You soon arrive at the Frank Bruce Sculpture Park, where forest trails weave between beguiling wooden sculptures by the Aviemore artist. You cross the River Feshie at the 18th-century, Grade B-listed Feshiebridge, a marvellous old stone crossing above a rushing torrent.
Ascend gradually through the forest, reaching the stage’s high point just beyond Drake’s Bothy, a former shooting shelter built in the 1930s. The Way then passes between the two picturesque lochs of Loch Gamha and Loch an Eilein. Meaning ‘loch of the island’, Loch an Eilein’s island is jewelled with a glorious castle ruin. The remains, set to the backdrop of forest and high mountain plateau, are a quintessential vision of Highland splendour.
The final stretch makes use of the Rothiemurchus Estate’s excellent tracks. You pass Lochan Mor, a human-made lily loch, and the Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre, before crossing the River Spey one last time and making your way to the end point: the Speyside Way’s southern end marker in Aviemore.
The town of Aviemore is one of Britain’s adventure capitals and has plenty of accommodation options. From Aviemore train station you can get to both Glasgow and Edinburgh in just under three hours. It is only about 40 minutes to Inverness, which has an airport with links to other major cities in Britain and even Amsterdam.
March 15, 2021