We went round Loch an Eilein twice, once on foot and the second time by mountain bike which we hired at the local bike hire place. Please click ok to confirm you're happy to continue using our site. We met a few hill walkers on the way who were coming off the Cairngorms early, one couple of lads told us they’d abandoned their route after the first peak and retreated to safety as they could … For me, travel represents the excitement of escape and the pure enjoyment of discovering new places. It has a basic toilet block which is open during the summer but may close at other times. We made our way back to the campsite and sat on the deserted beach to watch the sunset. We swam out to explore the ruins, then took the hour-long round walk along the shore. Glenmore Visitor Centre – An Lochan Uaine Loop from Boat of Garten. Wild Camping on the North Coast 500. Stay in a luxury cottage near Aviemore and explore vast and beautiful Rothiemurchus right from your own doorstep Discover vast mountains, enchanting forests and stunning lochs - the quintessential Highland escape The cabin at the entrance to the car park was un-manned on Thursday and Friday (with no info about overnight stays) and it wasn't until I returned from a walk on Saturday to drop my tent, that I encountered a (very helpful, friendly) attendant who advised that I owed £5 for the night (£5/adult/night; £2/<16/night; camper vans £10 + 2&pppn). Waterproofs are also a good idea; although we avoided the rain, we were constantly outrunning a storm – if we’d started even a few days later, it would’ve been a very wet holiday. Where: South of Aviemore is Rothiemurchus, follow the A970 South past Spey Lodge and turn left toward Loch an Eilein. Tweet. Day 4 was as much about the spectacular drive across the top of Scotland as the destination; a landscape to rival New Zealand with magnificent peaks and white beaches stretching at every turn, from Dunnett Head to breath-taking Tongue Bay and Loch Eriboll. Dotted with remote beaches, dramatic mountain passes and hidden lochs, you could spend weeks on the route and still not scratch the surface. 8.59 km. Contact Info Reviews/Comments. The first designated area is at Loch an Eilein next to the car park. Grid Ref NH 897 084. loch an eilein wild camping. Stay in the tranquil heart of the Rothiemurchus Estate, "One of the glories of wild Scotland" - Sir David Attenborough. We got chatting and he told me that the site was only supposed to be used as an "overflow" if other sites in the area were full, but I got the impression that anytime would be OK (inc. Christmas and New Year), but that there was only an attendant at weekends..he gave me a leaflet outlining the set-up which states the t&cs, specifically that stays of only ONE NIGHT are permitted. The day held a whistle-stop tour of other must-see beauty spots on Orkney’s west coast – Birsay, with its tidal island; Yesnaby, home to majestic rock formations (with what looked like fantastic wild swimming spots, but sadly we didn’t have time for a dip), and the mysterious. Sometimes at night – especially on Orkney and Sandwood Bay, it got very cold. Created: 25/08/2007 :: Updated: 03/04/2019 :: To report an error please your message and data to this form or simply click the submit button below. It was one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve seen; looking out to the horizon – and towards Canada, with very little in between but ocean – it felt like we were camping at the edge of the world. After exploring the beach in daylight, we trekked back to the car and began another unforgettable drive down the North-West coast to Ullapool. Balranald Hebridean Holidays Caravan & Campsite, Ardoch House and West Highland Way Campsite, Lazy Duck Camping, Hostel and Off Grid Huts. Planning ahead makes everything less stressful and gives you more time to enjoy your surroundings. 02:19. Waking up the next day was a beautiful surprise – no flooding (a near miss) and a crisp view out onto the loch, with no-one else in sight. Chris Bowness Landscape We woke up to a clear, sunny day and went for a nerve-shockingly icy morning swim; we ran in, ran out and congratulated ourselves on our hardiness before bumping into a local woman who told us she swam there every day, even in winter. In Scotland, you’re permitted to camp on just about any patch of unenclosed land, so you can pitch up in some dazzlingly remote locations, from beaches to mountainsides – just make sure to leave no trace when you head on your way. Use your own discretion when heading out to the hills. Start Point. Loch an Eilein Car Park – open (please note the toilets temporarily closed) Rothiemurchus Clay Shooting Ground IS OPEN on Saturdays and Sundays – please visit the Rothiemurchus Clay Shooting Ground page of our website for more information and to book. Camping here meant we could organise our gear as a group the night before and start our hike bright and early. Situated a mere 10-minute drive from Aviemore, a 35-minute drive from Inverness through stunning Highland scenery and just over an hour’s flight from London, you can be at the heart of the Scottish Highlands quicker than you may think. We set up camp in the sheltered dunes and fought the cold with hot pasta as the sun went down. If you don’t have long, make sure you plan well and prioritise; I’d recommend the North and West coasts in particular. The last section of the East Highland Way passes the impressive sculptures of Frank Bruce before heading through the Inshriach National Nature Reserve en route to picturesque Loch an Eilein. Its beside a rushing Highland Burn and there are red squirrels running around. I was less than keen at the prospect of this spot for camping having previously experienced it in summer , and it would be completly sheltered from the wind which would very likely add midges and a flotilla of anchored yachts into the mix. We decided to press on into Loch Sunart where we knew that there was good flat ground on the south shore of Loch na Droma Buidhe. Not free, you have to pay to camp and to park!!!! All holidays that are booked are financially protected through Protected Trust Services’ Trust Account, Membership No. I then continue to Loch an Eilein where I spend the second night wild camping at Loch an Eilean. For the next week we explored Glenelg and the surrounding area; plenty of wonderful wild swimming spots (including a huge waterfall just 10 minutes away), walks and tasty meals at the Glenelg Inn, plus a sunny day trip to Skye. Step back in time and retrace the steps of the Highland cattle raiders as you enjoy views of the dramatic and mysterious Highland castle and enjoy the exceptional wildlife of the forest including Red Squirrels and Scottish Crossbills. Camped a Friday night recently (in November) as I'd become aware of this place via this site. After braving the midges for a scenic wake-up dip in Loch Lurgainn, we headed back to Ullapool for breakfast and then on another magnificent coastal drive of the North Coast 500 to our final destination – a whitewashed cottage in the seaside village of Glenelg, opposite the Isle of Skye, where we’d booked to stay for a week with other friends. A highlight was Ardvreck castle, a striking, tumble-down ruin jutting into Loch Assynt, framed by the surrounding hills. Wild campers are welcome for one night only while back packing. Stretching 516 miles around the coast of Scotland, the North Coast 500 is not just one of the best road trips in Europe, but one of the most spectacular destinations in the world. Then we headed on to the remote Bay of Skaill on the far-west coast, home to the Neolithic village of Skara Brae, and set up camp by the beach before returning to Kirkwall for fish and chips (making sure not to repeat our mistake of the night before). Although at times a campervan would’ve made it easier to find a spot to sleep (and definitely would’ve been warmer), we were very grateful for our tiny car on the single-track roads. There’s something for everyone, whether you fancy Munroe-bagging, history touring, wild swimming, whiskey tasting, fine dining, wildlife spotting or views to die for. We swam out to explore the ruins, then took the hour-long round walk along the shore. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. There is a small parking area by Whitewell, as well as the Loch an Eilein car park where you can start the walk from. Warmth comes in bursts now rather than blasting heat all day long. It’s a great place for a swim into the slowly shelving loch, with surrounding forests. Read more. In video 1, I spend the first night wild camping by the Luibeg burn before walking the Lairig Ghru to Aviemore the following day. Loch an Eilein is a beautiful loch with a rugged ruined castle sitting on a small island. It turned out okay in the end, but we could easily have been washed away on the first night if we’d pitched a bit closer to the water’s edge – which might’ve put a bit of a dampener on the trip. We packed up and headed North to John O’Groats, with a quick pit stop at. The day held a whistle-stop tour of other must-see beauty spots on Orkney’s west coast – Birsay, with its tidal island; Yesnaby, home to majestic rock formations (with what looked like fantastic wild swimming spots, but sadly we didn’t have time for a dip), and the mysterious Ring of Brodgar, a 4000-year old stone circle. There is no road to this location. Willing to risk the changeable Scottish weather for the best possible views, we opted for wild camping, treating ourselves to an Airbnb mid-week to keep things civilised. Bring warm clothes – and lots of layers. It is really very beautiful and the walk was just the right length for our four children (aged 10-15). Our one stop along the way – discounting, of course, the photo opportunities at every turn – was Smoo Cave, a majestic sea cave with a 50ft high entrance, three chambers and a vast natural waterfall. Rothiemurchus Caravan Park was closed to tents until the following month and I was informed by a stroppy attendant at Glenmore that it would be £20 per night just for me and a tent.. Photograph: Damian Waters/Alamy Author and wild swimmer Joe Minihane fantasises about plunging into the cold water of Loch an Eilein in the Cairngorms Loch an Eilein (loch of the island) with its 13th century island castle, was voted Britain's Best Picnic Spot. The low level route around the loch is perfect for families, even if they're pushing off-road buggies. Loch An Eilein Hidden in the forest of Rothiemurchus, this beautiful place is one of the most loved in the UK. The first designated area is at Loch an Eilein next to the car park. Photo: Getty Images. The air felt heavy and sticky. Arriving for lunch at Loch an Eilein, it felt as if we’d stumbled into a fairy-tale; a glassy loch surrounded by forest with a castle island in its centre. The north-easternmost tip of the UK was cold and windswept, so we headed on swiftly to Gill’s Bay to catch the ferry across to Orkney (technically not on North Coast 500, but well worth the detour). The first designated area is at Loch an Eilein next to the car park. The local ranger woke us up and made us pay 5 punds per person and then showed us a tiny sign showing the prices. p.s. The Rothiemurchus Camp and Caravan park is a beautiful and fairly wild campsite, ideally situated at the start of the Lairig Ghru trail. Aviemore campsites are year round destinations thanks to the incredible snowsports in the area, a popular way to escape to the mountains. Loch an Eilein: Wild and recreational - See 1,350 traveler reviews, 644 candid photos, and great deals for Aviemore, UK, at Tripadvisor. Sometimes at night – especially on Orkney and Sandwood Bay, it got very cold. We didn't knew this place costs money as it said WILD camping. The second area is for wild tent camping only and is located about 1/2km beyond Iron Bridge Grid Ref NH 933 074. The loch is considered to … We pitched up further South, on the shores of Loch Lurgainn and in the shadow of the imposing Stac Pollaidh. The latter is one of the prettiest in the country with a ruined castle sitting in the middle of the water and beaches fringing its edges. The path is wide and fairly flat although quite muddy! Willing to risk the changeable Scottish weather for the best possible views, we opted for wild camping, treating ourselves to an Airbnb mid-week to keep things civilised. Loch an Eilein, Aviemore: "Does anybody know if there is a wild camp site at..." | Check out answers, plus see 1,299 reviews, articles, and 622 photos of Loch an Eilein, ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor among 77 attractions in Aviemore. The above are opinions of Adventurous Little Legs. Rothiemurchus estates have established two wild camping areas in order to encourage responsible wild camping. Loch an Eilein at the end of July was surging with windswept waves. After breakfast, we explored Skara Brae, an impressively well-preserved 5000-year-old village perched on the edge of the beach; after our wild and windy night in the tent, it was strange to think that people had lived there so long ago, so exposed to the elements. We agreed it would’ve made an unbelievable camping spot if we’d had more time – just another reason to return to the North Coast 500. This pretty little red-roofed, wooden-porched cottage was beautifully restored as a cosy luxury forest hideaway in 2018, with a homely interior straight out of a Scottish folk tale. It is really very beautiful and the walk was just the right length for our four children (aged 10-15). For the sake of this guide, we started at Loch Aa Eilein. centre which is presumably locked overnight(?). We took the ferry back to the mainland in the afternoon, left with the impression that we’d only seen a fraction of what Orkney had to offer, and the strong desire to return one day to discover more of the wild and ancient island. It turned out okay in the end, but we could easily have been washed away on the first night if we’d pitched a bit closer to the water’s edge – which might’ve put a bit of a dampener on the trip. I only had 6 days ; a wild, whistle-stop road trip with three friends should open or! And leave the planning in someone else ’ s shallow by the beach! 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