This wonderful route takes you through the Cairngorms National Park with its stunning scenery and rich variety of wildlife. Beginning at Aviemore, a popular location for skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities, the route takes you through woodland and open heather-filled moorland to reach Boat of Garten. The village Boat of Garten is known as the ‘Osprey Village’, as, after the species had been driven to near extinction, a pair of Ospreys reappeared at Loch Garten in the 1950s. In the summer, you can catch the Strathspey steam train back to Aviemore from this point.
The route starts from the car park beside the Police Station in Aviemore and take the subway under the railway line before you turn left to join the off-road cycle route. The route runs parallel with the steam railway line then winds through residential streets as far as a footpath between two houses on Spey Avenue. At the end of the footpath you zig-zag down over a bridge and up to the proper track. Much of the next 3 miles roams along gravel track across heathland, close to the steam railway line, with wonderful wide views of the Cairngorms.
The surface improves in the middle section where the route goes under the railway line, then becomes stony again as it runs beside the railway on the north side and approaches Boat of Garten by the grand houses of ‘Millionaires Row’, built for Victorian holidaymakers. When you come into the village, keep cycling to the north side and you will see a sign for the RSPB reserve at Milton Loch, where you can get up close and learn more about these majestic birds of prey which migrate here to breed every year.
For a shorter route, finish at Boat of Garten. You can take the Strathspey Steam Railway from here, or make it a circular route by returning on the on-road section of the National Route 7 on the B970 (9 miles).
To carry onto Carrbridge, cross the A95, watching out for bursts of busy traffic, and take the road to Docharn. There is a fairly steep though short climb here, but it’s worth it for the superb views of the Cairngorms and Strathspey. The track descends to where it runs alongside the B9153 then immediately turns back into the woods to reach Carrbridge.
If you wish to continue to Slochd, keep following Route 7 past Carrbridge train station and then along a traffic-free track through woodland to reach the 401m (1,315ft) Slochd Summit.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.