If you’ve been following our Scotland Road Trip series, then you’ll have read that during August we were on a six week tour of Scotland in our Motorhome. Having made our way north as far as Fort William we next headed east across the country towards Aviemore, Rothiemurchus and Loch An Eilein in the stunning Cairngorms National Park.
We spent a couple of days here but actually we could have spent a lot longer as there’s plenty to see and do. That said, we did get to explore Aviemore village, Rothiemurchus forest and Loch An Eilien. All highly recommended, keep reading to find out more.
Rothiemurchus isa privately owned Highland Estate between the River Spey near Aviemore at the top of the Cairngorm Mountains; within it are thriving communities, farms, forestry, loch and rivers. It’s part of the ancient forest of Caledon and it lies at the heart of The Cairngorms National Park.
Inverness is the closest city to the north of the Cairngorms National Park, roughly 30 minutes away, and Aberdeen is only an hour away from the east side. Making this an easy access and fabulous touring holiday destination. The Park stretches 4,528 sq. km (1,748 sq. miles), with Rothiemurchus forest covering an area of about 30 square kilometres.
This is one of the largest surviving areas of ancient woodland in Europe where the average age of the Scots Pine Trees exceeds 100 years with some more than 300 years old.
About Loch An Eilein
I came across Loch an Eilein (loch of the island) whilst researching the area for our Scotland road trip. The loch has the ruins of a 13th century island castle. The island, on which the castle ruins sit, decreased in size in the 1770s when a sluice was built to raise the water level to enable felled timber to be floated down the Spey. The water now obscures the zigzag causeway once said to connect the castle to the shore.
In 2010 Loch An Eilean was voted Britain’s Favourite Picnic Spot in a national poll. High praise indeed so we decided to take a look.
There are two ways to access the Loch, you can drive and park in the small car park or, like us, you can walk along the Rothiemurchus network of trails. From our campsite (see below) the Rothiemurchus trail cuts through the beautiful Cairngorms National Park and you can walk to both Morlich Loch and Loch an Eilein.
If you love walking, then you’ll enjoy the 3 mile (5 kilometres) trail, which will take you all the way around Loch An Eilein. We didn’t walk all the way around as we had already walked quite a distance to the Loch from our campsite and still needed to reverse our walk.
When we visited
We visited in late August and stayed at the Rothiemurchus Campsite. The award-winning campsite is set within the forest on the Rothiemurchus Estate.
The campsite is located just off the main road, it’s a small site with the pitches nestled amongst the Scots Pine Trees. The campsite offers all the usual facilities for Motorhomes, Camper Vans, Caravans and tents. TIP: Some of the pitches are set on different angles so check with reception how to park.
The River Spey runs alongside the campsite, and you can hear the water rushing across the rocks from your pitch. A designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, the River Spey is also a Special Area of Conservation as it’s the home of important populations of Atlantic Salmon and otters.
How to get to Aviemore, Rothiemurchus & Loch An Eilein
If you’re touring then head along the A9 and turn onto the B9152 towards Aviemore village. This is well worth a visit once you’ve parked up at the campsite. There’s a clearly sign posted walking trail from the campsite to the Aviemore village. Alternatively, drive through the village as there’s a large car park at Aldi, which had several Motorhomes parked up when we visited.
Aviemore village also has a bus station and train station. Apparently, you can travel on the Caledonian Sleeper train overnight from London direct to Aviemore. That sounds like a great option to me, there are several hotels near the station.
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What we liked about the area
- Dog friendly – our dogs loved swimming in the loch with Dave.
- Great for Photography – With stunning views across the loch, the castle ruins and the Scots Pine Trees reflect beautifully in the water. Surrounded by Pine Forest Trails full of wildlife and nature it’s a photographers dream whether pro or novice.
Points to note
- Midges – Yes those pesky midges are present in this region during the summer months (they love lochs and forest). However, when we visited in late August the midges were in smaller numbers and didn’t really bother us as we were wearing midgey spray.
- Rothiemurchus Campsite is located about 10-15 min walk away from the Visitor Centre.
- All the activities listed on the campsite website are not actually a part of the campsite, as we thought when we booked, but they are available locally.
Rothiemurchus is minutes away from Aviemore, which is well known as a great holiday destination and ski resort. There are plenty of activities all year round for all abilities, you can find out what’s on offer on the Aviemore website.
As well as outdoor activities, Aviemore has a compact village centre and most of its pubs, restaurants, shops and attractions are all within easy walking distance. We had a lovely afternoon wandering around the town’s gift and outdoor activity shops all selling beautiful Scottish products.
- Rothiemurchus visitor Centre – Find out more about the area, activities and camping
- Rothiemurchus Instagram – View some of the faboulous photos of the area
- Loch An Eilein 3 mile walk – BBC Countryfile have a lovely 3 mile walk around the Loch
- Aviemore visitor Information – Lots of great content on here for visitors to help plan their trip
- Our Scotland Road Trip – an introduction to our Scotland road trip series
- Findhorn Beach and Motorhome Stopover – Fabulous dog friendly beach and Motorhome Aire on the North Est Coast 250 route.
- Visit Harry Potter Bridge – the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Monument are a lovely day trip out for family
- Ballachulish Loch Leven – Popular Loch for canoeing, paddle boarding and cold water swimming in Glencoe on the way to Fort William.
- Culloden Battlefield – Top National Trust Visitor Centre, fascinating tour
Have a Question?
Are you thinking of visiting Aviemore and Loch An Eilein? If you have any questions you’re welcome to post them in the comments below and we’ll try and answer them for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Rothiemurchus and Loch An Eilein.
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