Walk: Aviemore's Craigellachie - falcon's-eye view

Highland | Aviemore | Half day walk | ★★★★

[Craigellachie summit]

Nature's alive and well in this verdant haven on the west side of Aviemore. Craigellachie is a beautiful National Nature Reserve, with birch woodland and lochans nestling below crags where peregrine falcons have been known to nest. The eastern fringe is noisy from A9 traffic, but head away from the main road and car engines are soon replaced by birdsong. The reserve map (linked below) shows the main path network, and our circuit explores pretty much all of them, including a steep spur up to the open summit of Craigellachie itself. This is well worth the extra effort: the inhospitable Cairngorms and barren Monadhliath ranges both look awesome from the windswept summit cairn, and even the ugliest parts of Aviemore town centre look OK from this height!

[It's a nature reserve, after all...]

📌 Walk: Aviemore's Craigellachie - falcon's-eye view ★★★★
▶ 5 km / 3 miles | ▲ 300 metres
Summits: Craigellachie (496 metres) | Features: Craigellachie NNR & lochans
Start / finish: Nature reserve car park at Aviemore Youth Hostel, half a mile south of the town centre, G.R.: NH 893119 ///stunning.faster.blogs

Route: Car park - A9 underpass - upper path through reserve - Craigellachie summit - return by outward route to forest - lower path through reserve past lochans - return to underpass - start. Reserve map here - route follows red trail for higher section.
Terrain: Good paths and tracks, but quite steep in places for ascent to summit.
Wildlife today: Roe deer, rabbits, frogs; mallard ducks and tiny fish in the lochans.
Weather today: Unbroken sunshine, already 20°C at the start at 8am!

[The first of two lochans - actually an old reservoir - visited on the return leg]

Route map


Route credit: Craigellachie NNR (modified)

Chronological photo guide

[Entrance to the reserve under the A9 road]

[Woodland climb]

[Views across the reserve to Aviemore]

[Orchid]

[Woodland]

[Bold frog]

[Roe deer]

[Onto the open hill]

[Looking back down the route of ascent]

[Aviemore from near the summit]

[Summit cairn, looking southwest over Lochan Dubh & Badenoch]

[Summit cairn, looking east into the Cairngorms]

[Into the Monadhliath]

[Old reservoir on the return leg]

[Approaching Loch Puladdern]

[Loch Puladdern]

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