Walk: Loch an Eilein & a sneaky side-hill
|[Most of the snow had melted on Ord Ban (foreground), but very much still winter on the Monadhliath]|
Loch an Eilein is probably one of the busier spots by Highlands standards... but Highland Scotland happily has a different definition of "busy" to most other places. Even on a weekend, we didn't see anyone else for the entire walk except at the car park. A picturesque loch or two preceded by a short, steep ascent to Ord Ban, a little hill with sweeping views over Strathspey, the Cairngorms and the Monadhliath. Apparently a short detour to Kennapole Hill to the south is worthwhile too, but we didn't try it. Did I mention there's a ruined castle on an island in the middle of the loch? Not even a grey, dull day can take away from that... much.
|[Looking south across the loch. The island in the middle boasts a ruined castle, once home to an osprey eyrie]|
Name: Walk: Loch an Eilein & a sneaky side-hill ★★★☆☆
Length: 9 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 310 metres
Main summits: Ord Ban (428 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: Loch an Eilein; Loch Gamhna
Start / finish: Loch an Eilein car park (seasonal charge), G.R.: NH 897084 / thumbnail wakes organist
Route: Car park - Ord Ban - return to car park - Loch an Eilein & Loch Gamhna (clockwise circuit) - start
Terrain: Vertigo-inducing ladder stile to begin the grassy ascent of Ord Ban on a narrow path. Small rocky step near summit may require hands. Good track around Loch an Eilein. Narrow path around Loch Gamhna, very wet at the southern end.
Wildlife today: Eerily quiet - nothing to be seen!
Weather today: Cloudy with a few brighter spells. A dusting of snow on the summit was rapidly melting. A few degrees above freezing.
Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)