Strath Spey 2021. Day 6: Loch Morlich.

Friday 1 October 2021.

(Cairngorms National Park)

I woke up in the early hours of the morning. The rain was being driven hard against the window. The wind was so strong that, instead of letting up, it simply shifted around and started hitting the side window instead of the one behind our heads for a bit. I looked at my watch. It wasn’t the early hours, in fact it was just after 8am. It seemed that I had slept through a lot of this weather and had a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t about to get back to sleep though, although I did try for a bit. Instead, I read my book in bed, not inclined to leap out of the covers, given the weather.

We did eventually get up, and I made a very southwestern breakfast which we normally get at the Cafe Soleil in Zion, now re-named the Cairngorm Scramble. After this leisurely start, though, we got our act together and got ready to go hiking, as there was forecast to be a window of opportunity in the weather between about 12 and 3pm. By the time we were driving, I was wondering it this was optimistic as there were some showers and yet more rainbows.

We decided to head back to Loch Morlich. Although we had cycled to it, we only had a brief glimpse at what appeared to be a very pretty loch, before cycling back towards Coylumbridge. We parked at the very western end, where we had cycled to, and set off east along the Old Logging Way, which ran parallel with the loch. It was sunny and I took some photos of the loch, in case that was the last we saw of blue skies.

At the eastern end, there was a large sandy beach, with a cafe and Watersports centre. We walked onto the beach, and it was very beautiful, but the wind, which was around 25 mph, was coming straight off the lake and it was extremely chilling. We soon headed back into the forest, grateful for the protection of the tall, scented pine trees.

We found a bench for a lunch stop, but once we stopped moving we got cold quite quickly, so we didn’t linger, instead continuing on through the woodland and crossing the stream, Abain Ruigh-eunachan, which flows into Loch Morlich. The route wound around, passing some very old pine trees, referred to as ‘granny’ trees, and which are centuries old.

The route continued on, curving around and joining a logging road along the southern side of the loch, through the maintain forestry land. It wasn’t until we got within about a quarter of a mile of the end of the walk that the weather came in and it started to rain. This provided an atmospheric look to the mountains and loch (who needs blue sky, eh?!), but meant that we were lucky and didn’t really get wet.

Back at the car I suggested that we drive the remaining 5 miles or so of the road, up to Cairngorm itself. There we admired the view and stopped in at the cafe for hot chocolate and, in my case, a slice of tiffin as well…

Then it was time for our customary trip to Tesco in Aviemore, to pick up som pizzas for tea, and then the drive back to the cottage for coffee, showers, blogging, the wood fire and tea. Yet again, we did really well with the weather and made the most of the day. Just one day left now…

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