Lochs of the Cairngorms

One of our favourite things about the Cairngorms is the beautiful lochs. There is nothing better than sitting lochside in the sunshine taking in the stunning views. Here are a few of our favourites:

1. Loch an Eilein

The stunning, classic castle view of Loch an Eilein

Known for being ‘Loch of the Island’ with it’s 13th century island castle this is a truly unique place to visit. Let your imagination go back in time to 1380s when the nortorious Wolf of Badenoch ruled the land. There is a lovely walk round the walk.

2. Loch Morlich 

view of the Cairngorms from a snowy Loch Morlich (photo credit: VisitScotland)

Loch Morlich is an ice age feature known as a kettle hole. The beach in the mountains sits at the foot of Cairngorm and you can bask in the sun on a summer’s day with views of the still snow capped mountains. There is also a watersports centre so you can explore on the water and a friendly cafe for refreshments.

3. Loch Muick – Water of Pig One 

The majestic Loch Muick (photo credit: Stefani Koenmann)

A very picturesque loch and a great place for a walk. Loch Muick sits at the far end of Glen Muick accessible from Ballater. Glas-allt Shiel, the hunting lodge originally built for Queen Victoria and completed in 1868, lies at the western end of the north shore of the loch.

4. Loch Garten –  Loch of the area called Garten & Loch Mallachie – Loch of the Curse

Loch Garten sits on the edge of the ancient Caledonian pine forest of Abernethy. Home to the Loch Garten Osprey Centre and lots of other wildlife this is a bird watcher’s paradise. Sat beside it’s better known neighbour Loch Mallachie can be reached from the same path.

5. Loch Einich – Loch of the Boggy Area

This Loch is remote but well worth the effort sitting below the cliffs of Sgoran Dubh Mhor. The loch sits several miles up Glen Einich and the route is popular with walkers and mountain bikers.

6. An Lochan Uaine – the Green loch

The gorgeous ‘Green Loch’ (photo credit: VisitScotland)

The Green Loch sits along the pass of Ryvoan from Glenmore. Easily acessible on foot or on a bike the legend goes that the loch takes its colour because the faieries wash their clothes in it. A magical place to visit.

7. Loch Kinord – Loch of Head-Water

This loch is part of the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve with plenty of bird watching and wildlife spotting opportunities. There is a well marked trail that circuits the loch.

8. Loch Vaa – The Loch of the Drowning

Loch Vaa with its famous red shed roof

Loch Vaa sits hidden just North of Aviemore in the woodland between Aviemore and Boat of Garten. Recognisable by it’s red roofed boat house, this loch has very limited access for parking. It is best to visit by taking the Speyside Way from Boat of Garten or Aviemore on bike or foot.

9. Lily Loch – Lochan Mor

The Lily Loch, Rothiemurchus (photo credit: Barry Middleton)

A lovely walk passes here on the way to Loch an Eilein. A great place to watch waterfowl.

10. Loch Lee – Loch of the flood place

Loch Lee

Situated in the Angus Glens at the head of Glen Esk this pretty loch is set in a deep glacial trench and serves as a reservoir.

11. Loch Insh – Loch of the Island or Loch of the Water Meadow

Loch Insh on a summer’s day (photo credit Henry Pollock)

Loch Insh is well known for it’s water sports centre with restaurant and accommodation which sits overlooking the loch. A great place to learn to sail.

12. Loch Pityoulish -The Loch of the Settlement of the Bright Place

Tiger Bay, Loch Pityoulish

The Coylumbridge to Boat of Garten road passes the edge of this pretty loch. Fishing for brown trout or pike. Stories of a Dark Water Horse have been told.

13. Avielochan

Avielochan at sunset

This tiny loch sits North of Aviemore and is popular with bird watchers. You can stay in the cottages at the loch and enjoy the view of the loch with the Cairngorms range in the background.

14. Loch Callater

Walking Jock’s Road at Loch Ballater

Loch Callater is reached from Braemar and has a small bothy for shelter maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. You can circumnavigate the loch but need to make a river crossing to do so, so go prepared.

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