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Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk

Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, ScotlandWalk Distance: 11.5km

Walk Duration: 3 1/2 hours (allow an hour longer at times of deep snow)

OS Map: OS Explorer 387 Glen Shee & Braemar; OS Landranger 43 Braemar & Blair Atholl

Suitable for: Older children, babies in backpacks (some short areas of rough walking)

Walk features: Lovely mountain scenery, riverside walking, forests, paddling opportunities, jump off for Glas Tulaichean munro walk.


Walk description:

The Glenlochsie Lodge and forest walk follows landrover tracks and easy to follow trails up Glen Lochsie from Spittal of Glenshee for most of the route and takes in some spectacular Cairngorms mountain scenery without having to climb to the top of any hills! It is a lovely accessible family walk with spectacular views, especially good for those days when tackling a higher level walk with kids is not possible but you still want to feel like you’re up in the mountains and away from it all.

Those walking with babies in backpacks may also like to try this walk as it follows good tracks for most of the walk and the sections of uphill walking are generally gradual. However, you should know that a small part of the walk does go across rough ground so be prepared for a bit of puff and uneven ground on that short stretch. For those looking for a shorter walk or something accessible with a pushchair, the first stretch of the walk from Spittal of Glenshee to Dalmunzie Hotel is also lovely – you can read a description of that hour long walk here.

Dalmunzie Hotel , Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Dalmunzie Hotel Pushchair Walk

Dalmunzie House Hotel

For those who do not want to cross the ford (long legs should be able to step across on stones but most will need to welly-wade or go for a paddle) you may prefer to walk back from Glenlochsie Lodge to Spittal of Glenshee via the same route as you set out on. Those walking in snowy winter conditions may like to do likewise as the forest track on the second half of the walk can get very deep with snow at times making the walk hard going, particularly on littler legs or those carrying a baby in backpacks. Luckily, even if you do need to return via the outward route, the views back down the glen are completely different on the return leg offering plenty of variety and fewer hills than the forest trail.

For the more adventurous, the Glenlochsie Lodge and forest walk can be used as a jumping off point for tackling Glas Tulaichean – one of the Cairngorms’ most accessible munros. Glas Tulaichean can be climbed by following the landrover track up the mountainside behind the Glenlochsie Lodge but despite its relative accessibility, this is a serious day walk for the well-prepared only.

Forest trail, Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

An icy burn by Glenlochsie Lodge

The Glenlochsie Lodge and Forest walk begins from Spittal of Glenshee village, just to the south of Glenshee ski centre and the Cairngorms National Park boundary. The walk starts by following the Dalmunzie Hotel driveway, which is set just off the back-road running through the village and is clearly signposted through metal gates, just before the road bridge over the river.

Follow the driveway up to the Dalmunzie House Hotel (details of this section can be found on the Dalmunzie Hotel Pushchair Walk route page).

Continue past the hotel, keeping it on your left and following the sign for hillwalkers. Walk along the track towards the cottages beyond. On your left you will pass a gate with a signpost for Glenlochsie Lodge & railway and Glas Tulaichean. Walk through the gate and diagonally right across the land beyond towards the river. You will find a well-trodden grassy path just beyond which follow the line of the river up the glen and which after a short distance, rejoins a rough track.

Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Continue to walk along the track , following the line of the river below. The track dips down to the river where it crosses over to the other side of the water. At this point, do not cross the river but instead turn your back to the water and climb directly up the rough ground above. After a short climb you will join the old dismantled railway line above. If you prefer to avoid the hillside scramble, keep your eyes peeled for the old railway switchback route – a path which doubles back to the right from the main track just before the ford. It is easy to miss and hard to spot once you’ve gone past it but it does offer a slightly easier path to join the dismantled railway line and onward path above.

Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Once on the railway line the walking is fairly level and easy with the elevation providing some great views up the glen and surrounding mountains. Continue along the path as it cuts around the hillside and over a bridge. Continue to walk along the old railway path and Glenlochsie Lodge will shortly come into view below to the left.

Railway Bridge at Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Spectacular views from the old railway bridge.

Keep high on the railway path past Glenlochsie Lodge itself until you reach a small burn. Here the path dips down to a small footbridge going over the burn and from the other side of this you can follow the 4-wheel drive track back down to Glenlochsie Lodge. Glenlochsie lodge is an old hunting lodge and was used during the early part of the twentieth century before falling into disuse. It is a great spot for a picnic and paddling and a real sun-trap in the early afternoon, although it is best to avoid letting children explore inside the ruined building itself which could be unstable.

Glenlochsie Lodge, Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Glenlochsie Lodge in the distance.

For those tackling Glas Tulaichean, the path up to the munro follow the track up the hillside behind Glenlochsie Lodge and this is a good spot to refuel before hitting the hillside. For those with extra energy to burn and who just want a bit more of an elevated view back down the glen, it is worth climbing up the first bit of the track behind the lodge for the views.

If you want to avoid crossing the ford or snowy winter woodland paths, retrace your steps back to Spittal of Glenshee via the railway route.  For those continuing on the circular walk, after taking your fill of the beautiful scenery head down the track from Glenlochsie Lodge towards the river. If you want to avoid crossing the ford or possible snowy winter woodland paths, retrace your steps back to Spittal of Glenshee via the railway route instead.

Railway line, Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Views from disused railway line towards Spittal of Glenshee

Cross over the ford (paddling or wading will be required unless you have long legs) and continue to walk along the track on the opposite side. Follow the track back down the riverside. After passing the railway bridge on the opposite bank keep on the look-out for a split in the track leading uphill to the right. If you get to a second ford crossing you have gone too far and will need to retrace.

Forest trail, Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Snowy trail through the forest.

Walk steadily uphill towards the forest above. The track now passes through a gate into the woodland and through the trees. In the winter the snow can get very deep in places along this path so take care. The path emerges from the trees back onto the hillside with more great views down the glen. Continue to walk straight ahead, ignoring paths downhill or uphill on either side and keeping the next large area of forest ahead of you. The path leads through the forest before passing through a gate and onto the hillside above Spittal of Glenshee village.

Forest trail, Glenlochsie Lodge & forest walk, Spittal of Glenshee, Cairngorms, Scotland

Emerging from the forest onto hillside above Spittal of Glenshee and some magnificent views.

Go through this gate and follow the track round and down to the left, towards the Glen Beag Mountain Lodges (wood holiday cabins on the hillside below). Go through the gate and walk past the cabins on the track, following it round to the right-hand side. This leads down to the road. Turn left and a short walk along the road will bring you back to the Dalmunzie Hotel driveway entrance and the start of this walk.


Map of Route:


Although there is a bus (no. 71) from Blairgowrie to Spittal of Glenshee which takes around 50 minutes and runs twice a day, your own transport is the most reliable way of getting here for walking. If you’re planning on popping in for post-walk refreshments (hearty bar food & roaring fires on offer), there is plenty of parking available at the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel. Alternatively, there is some limited off-road parking.

View Dalmunzie Hotel Pushchair Walk & Glenlochsie Lodge Walk in a larger map

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