An absolutely superb run through Glenmore Forest near Aviemore passed the Green Loch and up to the Ryvoan bothy and back to Loch Morlich. Made mostly of forest track with a little bit of rocky terrain in places to navigate, as well as a technical descent and even a sandy beach! Ran in the early spring but could be magical in winter and striking in summer. Parking is found at the Glenmore visitor center or a short walk away at the carpark feeding into Loch Morlich Watersports for £2.
This was the third run of my trip up north in March (yeah yeah, I hear you, a bit late I know. My ankle is now, finally, fine by the way). After a well deserved lunch on the banks of Loch Morlich following the mornings two previous runs, I tidied up and headed towards the Glenmore Visitor Centre where I started the run with a
deathwish leisurely jog up to the highest part of the run (80m climb to 426m in 0.6 miles, not bad if you’re already warmed up but my philosophy of “the run is the warm up” only proved to be as foolhardy as ever). The terrain is excellent considering there is an active tree-felling operation in effect but is liable to getting slippery in the rain. Continue on past the felling area and eventually you’ll reach a bench offering what I think is the best view of the Cairngorms. Chill here and soak it in, or continue on to the next section.
The path here undulates slightly for the next half mile before suddenly dropping by 60m at the 1.5 mile mark. This section is very tricky, combining unsteady terrain (roots and rocks) and lots of small drops paired with a narrow channel in which to move, possibly making walking a better choice here. Don’t try setting records the first time round unless you’re very confident on your feet. Once you reach the bottom, the path climbs very slightly until you meet the main path and are presented with An Lochan Uaine, the Green Loch. Folklore tells of the green colour being due to pixies washing their clothes in the water. Other reasons are said to be copper in the water, algae lining the ground of the loch or even trees along the bottom. Whichever you believe, head north and continue towards Ryvoan bothy. This section requires a slight climb of around 50 meters over just shy of a mile. The ascent is fine, it’s the terrain you need to watch – lots of little streams and even more rocks and scree. This clears up as you reach the bothy, taking a left when the path forks up ahead. When you do reach the bothy, take in the landscape, poke around the bothy and when you’re ready double back towards the loch.
The way back thankfully doesn’t require you climb back up the scary descent. Instead when you reach the loch, stick to the main path. The whole return journey is a slight decline and is comprised of exclusively nature trail. This is the only complaint I have of this run, it gets a little boring on the return route as there is just a lot of tree lined track (this is totally fine after getting to see everything else though). At around 4.3 miles, the path splits in two, where you’ll take the left path. Follow this and you’ll eventually come to a river, which you’ll follow West for just over a mile, crossing the C1126 road at one point (which also has some pretty cool views, just not ones my phone could make good). After a mile, the path will suddenly turn right to take you north towards the shore of Loch Morlich, where the run ends!
This run was my favourite of the day, and probably one of my favourite runs of all time. I LOVE this run. One day, I intend to run past the bothy and over the glen towards Nethy Bridge but wasn’t able to on this occasion. As I said before, the run only suffers from the relatively lacklustre return trip, but reverse the route and that goes away (though I’d say this makes things tougher…I’ll let you know). Things I will advise: don’t sit in awe at the Green Loch for too long, or you’ll get cold; admire the bothy but watch for wind, it’s cold; paddle in Loch Morlich if you like, but bring warm socks because it’s also very cold. All in all, a great way to end the days running. If you ran this one, or have walked it, let me know in the comments below!