Author Topic: A stroll up Glen Feshie  (Read 2903 times)


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A stroll up Glen Feshie
« on: 10:51:58, 31/12/11 »
Last walk of 2011 and with a nice new shiny camera to play around with, I thought the best place to go was a nice beautiful area that I’d never strolled down before. Technically, I had but it was more of across from kingussie to cairngorms then down so in my books did not count. Originally, I was planning to mount the cairngorm plateau and dither awhile on the summits after walking a ways up the glen but by the time I’d finished that cloud descended in a dense mist of driving snow and I was left with the overwhelming feeling of ‘bloody heather! Darn to that’.
Even so, that walk today was a nice xmas stomach wrenching and booze defying 12 miles with a gentle 400m ascent over smooth tarmac and gravel tracks. (on the right side of the fleshie river) and rough soggy messed up Guinness book breaking bogs on the left side of the river – or they would have been if the temperature had not been a nice cool -2 keeping the ground harder then cooking a large turkey in a small oven!
The car park at the start of the walk is quite a distance down the narrow road and quite bendy providing me with a dash of late winter skidding practice (better done in isolation then a busy road) and at one point I thought I must of passed it, but it is quite large and unmissable. From the C/P the tarmac goes on a tad more to a very lone house where upon your thrusted onto the normal highland paths. Just above this the path splits – the left to the plateau above and the right down the glen. I took the right over a sparse patch of high heather until this dropped down a tad to large expanse of flatness. It’s just a normal expanse that carves away towards the river on your right but with one redeeming feature; a band of Romans stood here at one time bracing probably the same foul winds and driven snow that I did on the way back, of course the locals picts would have probably wondered why? But more than likely they would have been puzzled by the odd men wearing quilts and carrying metallic things on their shoulders with which they shoot or were shooting scenes of the centurion film – ye this was a recent thing.
Across the flatness I headed for the prominent bridge over to the other side – it would be worth learning now that the other bridge further up the glen, as indicated on the OS maps is no longer there. so this is the only sure dry way to cross the river, beyond here you have to get the feet wet or hope the river is so low that you can use steeping stones (the river is still too wide and wild to cross by foot by the remnants of the other bridge – I only managed a few miles further up the glen).
From the other side of the river you will start getting some fantastic views of the coire garbhiach opposite (fantastic graded views down the glen actually start from above where the Romans roamed) and of four sharp ridges that dive down one after the other making the space look like a narrow mystical entrance to wondrous lands beyond. It does look like it goes on forever as you don’t see the tip of the corrie but seeing as it does push into the cairngorms you could say that it does enter a place of wonder!
The walk after the bridge is great over a tarmac road leading you passed a herd of homes round to a vantage point on your right where a cairn sits with a plaque that states that this area is where the Scottish arms of the last Great War learnt field craft. I don’t know what they were taught but if they had the view to look out on, as was presented to my front, they probably learnt how beautiful their country was; normally you’d expect a glen floor to narrow near its end but not in this case. Here it widens out into a wide flat heaven of Scots pine and rugged heather banks bordering the river as it bends and twists its way along in the shadows of the high peaks above making the place seem to me like the lost glen in glen Coe but bigger, better and more serene in its pictorial wonder and silence. Under a blanket of white, it felt soothing; I can only wonder what it would look like in spring or summer as the birds of prey roamed in the full sky above and the fragrance of pine sap floated in the wind.
The tarmac carries on for awhile until you pass a large lodge then you enter the graveled zone along a track that pulls you into the wide open space of this part of the glen where the views only equal the subtle atmosphere of peace and aloneness you imagine the inhabitants of the ruined buildings by a lone pine felt while they were lucky enough to abode here. Ye I know they did not think it was lucky at the time, forever cold, stinking of peat fires, hard work only to end up evicted for the white woolly rats but it’s a curse of our luxurious times to see the romantic side of things I guess. But imagine awhile as I did that due to a low pass towards Rannoch and the isolation of the location that on the long dark winters they profited from the highlands favorite games of hide and seek – the gathering of cowes and the brewing of the elixir of life and the salmon – all free for the cunning adventurous.
On with the walk, you would have by now seen the narrow gap that this flat zone descended into before you through high pine slopes like your riding on the rough North Sea’s towards the darkness of a Norwegian fjord. It is as you draw equal to these sides that the track crosses the river. There are stepping-stones, which I imagine in leaner, dryer times manage to evade the rush of cold waters but even after a night of dryness, the snowmelt still ride over them making their surfaces as slippery as a baby backside drenched in Vaseline. So I had to brave the rush of the current and the spikes of cold as I pushed across it. Brave or stupid, probably but heck was I going to walk all the way back plus it was only a foot deep!
On the other side, I entered the old twisted, dwarf and large pine trees in a quelch of glee and followed the gravel track into their inner midst of dark lifelessness and eerie silence where not even the rush of the near river seemed to invade my ears. Apart from a few birds of prey that had circled above me qualcking my presence to all and sunder I did not see any other wildlife; I was the only bearded animal for miles as far as I was concerned.
The track lead me directly to the foot notes of the high mountains on the left side of the glen that border the river along this narrow part of the glen where I turned right. then left after awhile up along the high slopes towards where I had no idea at the time but after walking across a particularly narrow part of the path along a steep part of the slope I came upon a waterfall. Here I decided was the furthest I would go, where my inquisitive and wandering mind had been satisfied, where going further into the bowls of this stunning narrow glen would serve no purpose. Ok, Ok in truth my stomach fattened after days of drink and merriment gave out here and it started snowing – satisfied!!! I was in truth heading for the deep cut where a waterfall was marked on the map but could not be bothered to go any further.
After re-aquaintining, myself with the track that came from the river I followed the narrow very unused narrow path that took me back down along the river. At times you could see the left over’s of a track that used to be but most times I was going along a narrow path on the steep slopes with the wide channels of the river below. Which was littered here and there with the swept husks of mighty pines that I guess had succumb to earlier fits of rage from the river (which also broke the bridge previously mentioned). Eventually I escaped the slopes for the more serene flat boggy moorland just before reaching the bothy at ruigh ateachain where the weird figure of a lone chimneystack sticking up into the sky seemed a un-common sight. It is apparently around this bothy and the settlement that was once here where Edwin Landseer created his famous paintings of the highlands and I guess as you look back down the glen towards the settlement previously outlined you can just trace the scenes in them and also realize why he came here. The wildness and pure spectacle of the high rough mountains above the flat moor is frankly amazing seeing it through the sparsely spaced old branches of Scots pine. Like a fine malt drank by a warm glowing fire while cold feet are massage by an Amazonian, or Chippendale for the women.
From here the track winds through mostly woodland reminiscent of the Caledonian forest around Glenmore with the odd remains of the many settlements that were in this glen at one time or another before the moor pups up just as you head back down towards the bridge I crossed earlier.
Going back to the wildlife stuff, I was amazed at first to see prints in the snow that I thought were from cats, or the wild cats known in this area (like normal cats but slightly bigger) but then there was quite a few hare or rabbit ones as well. For a while, I thought that these cats’ ones were just hare until seeing more and more I remembered that the hares are usually in groups of four made up of two sets, one behind the other whereas other tracks I saw were grouped differently. I came away not seeing any of these shy beasties but was pleasantly pleased to of at least seen their tracks. If any other reason, apart from the areas obvious beauty was a reason to return one day, the hopes of perhaps seeing these cats is definity one reason why I feel my feet will wonder the heather here again.
Happy new year

beyond the lone house looking up the glen - bridge is on the right

Just passed the bridge looking back towards the start of the walk

Looking up the glen from the road beyond the bridge

view of flat moor from the cairn

view taken from near the lodge

view of the end of the flat moor leading to narrow part as seen on left - settlement is directly ahead just beyond the lone pine

taken from within the narrow part of the glen

hippe - a waterfall


the lone chimney by the bothy

inside of the bothy - got a metal fire thing, very good.
« Last Edit: 10:57:49, 31/12/11 by troy »
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Cotswold Stroller

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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #1 on: 11:20:35, 31/12/11 »
Thanks for that troy, a great read, brilliant photos, looks a really beautiful place.

All the best for 2012  O0
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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #2 on: 11:32:03, 31/12/11 »
Wonderful, especially like the first waterfall picture with the icicles.

 O0 O0
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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #3 on: 12:16:32, 31/12/11 »
luvly stuff. :)

Like the first pic.
Happiness is only a Hill away :-)


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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #4 on: 12:24:56, 31/12/11 »
Fantastic O0
I had the good fortune to walk the same area early Dec last year in the snow too, brilliant. :)
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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #5 on: 15:09:12, 31/12/11 »
***Happiness is only a smile away***


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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #6 on: 16:29:21, 31/12/11 »
Thanks Troy - that's a cold lifeless light to deal with there. The Bothy looks positively boiling compared O0

Alex Quinn

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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #7 on: 16:54:31, 31/12/11 »
Excellent O0

And a Happy New Year to you too.

mike knipe

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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #8 on: 21:07:42, 02/01/12 »
Glen Feshie is a popular through route to Braemar for TGO Challengers. I've camped between the Scots Pines in the upper glen a few times. Its a fabulously beautiful spot. I remember crossing a decrepit and shaky bridge up there (I understand that its since collapsed) - and paddling across where the river is braided after coming over from Dalwhinnie - and nearly losing my son to the River Eidart when he tripped over a tree branch and barely avoided falling into the gorge. (I hadn't realised his powers of bad language till then)
Great spot.
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Ian s

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Re: A stroll up Glen Feshie
« Reply #9 on: 15:15:10, 05/01/12 »
Good Stuff, thanks for posting. Been there loads of time but have always taken the left hand path up onto Carn Ban Mor, and always wondered what happened down the right hand path. Now I know! - Guided walking, scrambling and mountain skills throughout Scotland and further afield