Active Outdoors
Published: 05/01/2014 00:01 - Updated: 30/12/2013 10:46

No sun but plenty of fun on trail to green lochan

Written byJohn Davidson

Clara is all smiles as she runs along the forest track.
Clara is all smiles as she runs along the forest track.

Rain definitely didn’t stop play on this lovely little walk in the Cairngorms National Park. With family visiting for the week, we didn’t let the bad weather put us off an adventure walk with the kids – two babies, a two-year-old and a four-year-old.

We wore waterproofs from start to finish and didn’t see the spectacular sight of the mountains from the high path through Glen More, but it didn’t matter. The youngsters had fun, especially on the highlight of the route, a narrow twisting path that winds its way through ancient pine woods before dropping down to An Lochan Uaine – The Green Lochan.

It’s a popular route that begins at the visitor centre at Glenmore, with parking available (for £2) in the car park opposite the camp site.

We were lucky enough to see the reindeer – who’ll now be recovering from their Christmas endeavours – pulling Santa’s sleigh through the car park as we arrived. My eldest daughter Clara (2) was delighted to see them at the start of what proved a tiring but exciting day for her – and us!

The walk begins by heading up towards the visitor centre from the lower car park and turning right on the path towards Reindeer House. When you reach the house, turn left on the blue route to follow a track uphill past a few houses, keeping right at a bend into the forest.

With the babies – my youngest, Jennifer (10 months), and nephew Aren (6 months) – being carried by their mothers, nephew Bran (4) walking and Clara in the backpack, we headed up the forest track, climbing for some time until the gradient eases after a right-hand bend.

Clara was desperate to stretch her legs by now and I was relieved to have the weight off my back – so we walked and ran along the track that skirts the low slopes of Meall a’ Bhuchaille which, at this point, usually offers views across to the main Cairngorms range. Today all we could see was cloud and drizzle and the magnificent trees closer to hand.

Soon enough you arrive at a bench (again, usually a wonderful viewpoint) where the track narrows significantly to a lovely little path. This was the perfect adventure walk, with rocks, tree roots and short steep slopes for the wee ones to negotiate.

Bran was off ahead with his mum, wee brother and dad, while Meg plodded ahead with Jennifer. I was left having a great time at the back helping Clara find her way through the maze of roots and rocks that made it such fun. We swung over cross drains and hopped over slippery roots as we admired some fine specimens of Scots pine and birch.

Eventually the pang of hunger struck and I had to carry Clara down the last steep little section that emerges at An Lochan Uaine, carefully making my way down the wet, rocky steps with the words “I’m looking at the trees, daddy” echoing in my ears.

Lunch could wait when she discovered the joy of throwing stones in the water, which is coloured a beautiful green by the minerals from the surrounding rocks. A viewing platform with a bench offered a nice spot for a bite to eat, with a view over the lochan to the pass of Ryvoan and the gable end of the bothy on the horizon.

Our return route followed the blue trail along the main Ryvoan Pass path, a well-made, smooth track that heads along the base of the glen to Glenmore Lodge. I put Clara back in the backpack for this stretch and she eventually drifted off, leaving me with a heavy load as I marched along aiming for the café – and a rest – at the end.

Keep right when you reach a gate at the road-end to follow a path further along, then follow the road past the reindeer enclosure to rejoin the outward route.

It may have been a soggy one but this route had been exactly what we were after – a great walk with some added adventure thrown in. Perfect family fun!

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