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In the heart of the Cairngorm National Park in Scotland, nestled amongst the Caledonian pines at the bottom of the mountain Sgor, lies a hidden gem – the Green Loch or An Lochan Uaine, pronounced oo-an-yi, which translates to ‘Green Lochan’ in Scottish Gaelic.
The Green Loch, known for its deep turquoise colour, is a magical spot well worth a visit, with the beautiful colours of the water striking a vivid contrast against the backdrop of the mountains.
The loch gets its colour most likely from the algae present in the water, as well as the reflection of the surrounding green pine trees.
Local folklore adds a whimsical touch, attributing the loch’s colour to local fairies washing their clothes in it.
It is said that when walking in this area, one should wear something green as a gesture of respect to the fairies.
Getting to the Green Loch involves a journey to Aviemore, the hub of the Highlands, which is visited by many all year round.
You can get to Aviemore by car, plane, train, or bus, depending on your starting location.
Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park are conveniently connected to major cities in Scotland via the A9 road, which connects central Scotland with the park.
You can arrive from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee in the south and Inverness in the north.
If you’re flying in, the central airport for the Highlands is Inverness Airport, a 1hr 30mins flight from London and a 30-minute drive to the Badenoch & Strathspey area of the National Park.
British Airways, EasyJet, and Flybe fly to Inverness from various British destinations.
Alternatively, you can also fly to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Dundee airports.
The Caledonian Sleeper train departs London Euston and stops at 6 destinations in the National Park including Aviemore.
Trains also run to Aberdeen where you can hire a car and drive to the Cairngorms.
Regular buses by CityLink and Stagecoach operate to and from the park.
The Aviemore Adventurer bus operates between Aviemore and Cairngorm Mountain 7 days a week, hourly throughout the day, and has space for bikes and skis.
Once in Aviemore, the journey to the Green Loch starts from the Glenmore Visitor Centre.
It’s recommended to park at or near the centre and take a short walk along the road or the forestry pathway adjacent to the main road until you reach a gate.
Passing through the gate, the ground will become a bit stoney, but the views that open up here are spectacular.
After around a 20-minute walk, you’ll find a small entrance to your right leading to the Green Loch.
If you’re up for walking a bit further, the Green Loch is the start of the walk for Meall a’ Bhuachaille, an 810m high Corbett. However, ensure you are prepared for this, as it can be quite challenging.
Swimming in the Green Loch
Swimming in the Green Loch is permitted under the Scotland Outdoor Access Code, which allows wild swimming if done responsibly. However, remember that the water in Scotland is very cold and will be snowmelt, so it’s advised not to go alone if you are not experienced with cold water swimming.
Whether it’s for a refreshing dip, a peaceful walk, or a challenging climb, the Green Loch in Aviemore offers an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. So,
put on something green, respect the fairies, and enjoy the emerald wonder that is the Green Loch!