Glen Einich (and its Loch): 06/08/17

The imposing crags of Sgoran Dubh Mor and Sgor Gaioth

How to describe Glen Einich? If it’s picturesque then it’s in a pretty uncompromising sort of way; speaking personally, I think that – for almost its entire length – there is a ‘presence’ about the place which is totally compelling. I can understand though that it wouldn’t be to everyone’s tastes.

There was no definite plan: the weather forecast was changeable and likely to remain so; some cloud; possibility of showers, but interspersed with clear spells. Okay, so waterproofs and anti-midge cream accessible at all times. We parked up alongside the road leading to Whitewell; this has become probably our favourite start point over the last couple of years and allows a last look at the conditions across the hills before setting off. Some cloud; the possibility of showers; maybe clear spells, looked about right; in fact – in an arc from Cairn Gorm to Braeriach – all of that was already happening.

Braeriach in cloud; the path into Glen Einich just visible

The early part of the walk is probably best described in a single word – Rothiemurchus; that should convey more than any amount of waffle from me. It’s all here in this amiable walk in – shifting cloudscapes; views of hills, near and distant; mixed woodlands, including welcome indications of regeneration in places; the sounds of water moving through the landscape, sometimes unseen.

Lochan Deo had an unruffled air about it, although there have been times when we’ve seen it looking a little more blue. It’s a useful reference point, being immediately adjacent to a junction of paths leading to/from Aviemore; Coylumbridge; Glen Einich; The Cairngorm Club Footbridge and the Lairig Ghru. We frequently see wild campers who’ve pitched up close to the lochan; even when there are midges about. There are certainly some lovely spots around there; easily accessible but still discreet without needing to travel too far from the path.

Lochan Deo

Foot and cycle bridge over the Allt Beanaidh

Once you’ve picked up the Allt Beanaidh, flowing north from Loch Einich towards its confluence with the Rivers Druie and Luineag at Coylumbridge, it remains pretty much a constant companion all the way to the loch. It needs to be crossed a couple of times: once by means of a handy bridge (which also seems to act as a repository for a mysterious assortment of single gloves).

And once with some improvisation…

It’s okay, I’ll carry everybody’s kit…

We’d been barefoot in the river on a previous outing, so it didn’t come as a total shock. If anything, it wasn’t quite as cold as I’d remembered it, but the current felt strong, even though it wasn’t particularly deep. Every few minutes the skies seemed to change and, with the variations in light, those changes were reflected in the landscape. Those buttresses along the face of Sgor Gaioth can look pretty intimidating, even from the safety of the path.

Sgor Gaioth’s mood not quite reflecting the blue skies and fluffy clouds

Eventually we began to get teasing glimpses of the grey, then blue, then grey again sheet of water which was Loch Einich; disappearing and reappearing as the path twisted and dipped…

By the time we reached the gravelly shoreline, alongside the outflow into the Allt Beanaidh, a spell of squally wind and rain was arriving just in time to greet us; there was barely time to take a handful of photos before the visibility was all but gone. From this aspect and in these conditions, the loch itself looked quite unprepossessing, although the same couldn’t be said about its setting. Fortunately, a few days later, we would see it from an altogether different vantage point – the path along the rim of Sgor Gaioth – and come away with better pictures and an altered point of view.

On the walk out we’d turn now and again to look back at the view; the rolling low cloud and rain hung around the semi-circle of hills surrounding Loch Einich for a long time and it would have been a mistake to stick around there waiting for the weather to clear. However, as we headed back towards Rothiemurchus, the skies were gradually lightening, although the cloud cover had eliminated most of the blue gaps by then.

Routebuddy made the out and return distance 21.6 kms (13.4 miles). Total ascent, out and back, was a surprising 568 metres (1,864 feet); a far higher number than I would have guessed on a route which never seems more than undulating. I suppose spread over thirteen plus miles it’s actually not that much.

All photos should enlarge with a click.





10 thoughts on “Glen Einich (and its Loch): 06/08/17

  1. Dave – as you say you never quite know what weather the highlands will serve up but I like a day of changeable conditions such as you had.
    Wonderful photographs of a grand glen.


  2. Hi Gibson, thanks for stopping by. I’m struggling all over the place with posting comments and feedback; plus I’m trying to set up RSS feeds from the blogs I follow, so that new posts get flagged up. At the moment, it’s easier to look on someone else’s site – yours, Alan S’s, Alan R’s – to see if anybody has posted anything new.

    All of the online articles seem to assume that everybody is a technology wizard, using a computer that’s no more than six months old. Neither is true in my case…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with WordPress, Gibson. Genuinely, that wasn’t meant in an ironic way.

    There’s a learning curve and I wouldn’t say it’s better in every way, but I couldn’t face changing again. Don’t be surprised if you attract more spam comments than with Blogger, but as long as you set up to approve everything first they don’t get through and I think some get intercepted before you ever see them. I’ve had some odd ones; nothing sinister, just odd.


  4. Sorry Dave, my last comment was badly worded. I set up a new wordpress account to enable me to leave comments on your blog.

    I did have a stab at starting a wordpress blog a few years ago but it was taking up too much of my time, so abandoned the attempt.

    You’ve made a fine job of yours though. It looks very professional and the posts are as interesting, thoughtful and well written as ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great trip. I’ve never walked into the Cairgorms through Rothimurchus or been into Gleann Eanaich or its Loch, a massive oversight. I’ve seen from high above on Sgorr Gaoith on skis a few times though.
    Just to add to the blog reading stuff. I track blogs using Blogger and WordPress Readers, which seems to cover most (and I subscribe by e-mail where I can, I’m old fashioned that way). Blogger and WordPress don’t seem to like each other much and I have real problems leaving comments on Blogger using my WordPress ID as it often won’t recognise it


  6. The first part is an agreeable walk in – mixed woodland, lots of watercourses, loads of flocks of small birds constantly on the move. Then you turn into the mouth of the glen and the change is quite abrupt – wild terrain, not many trees, evidence of landslips, big corries (Braeriach just looks… well, like Braeriach). I think it’s breathtaking, but I can see how it might also look a bit threatening, particularly under grey skies.


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