Scottish Mountain Weather
Scottish weather is fickle. On blue sky days Scotland is world class, but this route can change to a significant undertaking more akin to an mountain adventure race if the weather comes in. Before journeying up to the route or setting out in the Cairngorms, it is wise to keep an eye on the weather and river levels.
The mountain weather information service for Cairngorms NP And Monadhliath is recommended over other weather apps and information. Also check out webcams that look out to the mountains at Loch Morlich and on Winter Highland.
If you set out on the Cairngorms Loop and the weather changes before setting out over the Lairig an Laoigh on the inner loop, you can divert to ride the outer loop (Tour of the Cairngorms) instead. Make the decision at Glenmore Lodge and you may be able to seek advice there too.
The route makes a number of river crossings, which can change, and in very bad conditions become impassable. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) provides online real-time information on river levels.
Be sure to check: Dee@Mar Lodge, Don@Culfork, Feshie@Feshie Bridge, Tilt@Marble Lodge.
Please act within your own limitations and mountain experience and make good choices. Don’t feel pressured into doing anything you personally feel is risky.
The Fords of Avon Crossing
Water courses through flat areas change, and the track in use on the ground can sometimes vary to the mapped gpx track. Where the GPS track appears offset from an obvious better, safer or dryer line, use the track on the ground. There is no penalty or such interrogation of GPS tracks for such minor deviations.
Please take a rear light/led as there are a few road sections you may be travelling on in the dark.
A few miles outside Tomintoul there are some grand looking gates across the road at the entrance to an estate. This is the route, you are allowed though. The gates may open automatically if you get close enough to trip a sensor, or use the smaller pedestrian gate to the right.
The only bothy currently on the route is in Glen Feshie at Ruigh-Aiteachain. Please do not plan to stay at the emergency shelter at the Fords of Avon, it is for emergency use only. There are a few buildings on route that are marked on the OS map, that could also be confused for shelter or bothies. Often they are unsafe ruins and fenced off. The "Red House" at the junction of the Dee and Geldie is currently being restored as a bothy. Please do not use this until it the work has completed.
The route’s fastest time will only be accepted with GPS track data, so if you’re in-it-to-win-it, please record your route.
The Old Bridge of Tilt car park has space for a dozen cars or so. There is also free parking at the station (and finish) a mile away on a piece of land to the side of the main road, just by the Atholl Arms Hotel. The parking is free, and cars are frequently left without problems in these places while walkers and cyclists take multi-day trips in the Cairngorms.
Loch Insh Watersports Centre restaurant – 1 mile off route from Feshiebridge
Glenmore shop, café and Pine Marten Bar– on route
Cobbs Café at Glenmore Visitors centre - on route
Aviemore – 1 mile off route full services, including a filling station and mini-market open 6:00 - 21:30
Tomintoul – on route full services
Braemar – on route full services