Loch an Eilein to Aviemore

The weather at low level turned out to be decent with some sunshine by late morning though it was still bitterly cold. We decided to cycle around Loch an Eilein today (loch of the island) going via the Loggers’ Route again to about 1km beyond Coylumbridge before turning off left at the roadsign for Blackpark (just before Inverdruie). We followed this minor road for about 1km, which was quite slushy and then turned right to follow another well-trodden land-rover track, which was fairly compacted and bumpy in some parts before it led onto a footpath leading towards Lochan Mor where Cameron thought it would be exciting to cycle on the ice covered loch. My internal risk assessment told me not to do it! [Aside: “Lochan” means small loch, yet “Mor” means “big” … so I guess Lochan Mor translates to “quite a big small lochan”!]

After Cameron’s little episode on the ice we carried on the path to the Loch an Eilein car park and then took the clockwise route round the loch. The loch was also covered in ice but there were patches near the water’s edge where the ice had melted and a sign warned people that some of the ice may be quite thin due to warm springs feeding the loch. It didn’t say: “don’t go on the ice”.

Loch an Eilein with the castle just visible and some of the ice melting

There were quite a few walkers and other cyclists on the route around the loch. Unfortunately, Cameron’s bell on his bike was broken and mine had frozen so we had to resort to calling out to warn people that we were behind them. People were considerate of this mode of warning although generally I prefer to use my bell, as it seems less forceful. I have heard a couple of debates on the radio between walkers and cyclists and it appears that there still can be a little resentment between some of these groups. As I am interested in both activities, I believe that there has to be a pleasant “give and take” between walkers and cyclists. After all, if people go out of their way to let you pass it is surely only good manners to thank them.

The island castle on Loch an Eilein

There is a ruined castle on an island in the middle of Loch an Eilein and we could see footprints and bike tyre tracks crossing the ice to and from the castle. However, even Cameron thought this was too risky to try – it is 10m deep after all! Once we returned to the car park we took a different track back towards Blackpark (missing Lochan Mor this time) and then from Blackpark back down the minor road to rejoin the Loggers’ Route once again at Inverdruie.

We then completed the Loggers’ Route in to Aviemore and after coffee and cake at the Mountain Café it was back to the campsite: again in the dark of course. Total miles cycled 22 miles.

About Elaine Speirs

Elaine comes from Hamilton near Glasgow and her interests in the outdoor scene began at University. She is a keen mountaineer, climber, cyclist and skier. Her first mountaineering exploit was going up the North Face of Ben Nevis after which she was “hooked” on the mountains. She has also climbed outside of the UK, particularly in the Dolomites, Chamonix and Majorca.
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