Farleitter Crag and Uath Lochans: two family walks in the Cairngorms

These two short walks are absolute beauties, with Farleitter Crag being one of my favourite short walks for families in the Cairngorms. It’s a wee hill, but the views from the top are absolutely stunning, and give you a real sense of the landscape of the wider area. The trail around Uath Lochans is a lovely one for small children, with boardwalks and lots of nature to spot, including frogs. This shorter route is almost entirely pushchair – friendly, with one slightly difficult spot. The two routes can be joined together to make a longer trail with a great mixture of terrain and views. Read on to find out more about the two routes.

Distance: Uath Lochans trail is 1.75 miles / 2.75km. The Farleitter Crag route is 2.6 miles / 4.2km. The two routes can be combined for a longer walk of 3.5 miles / 5.75km.

Farleitter Crag and Uath Lochans route map

Parking: Coming south on the B970, you pass a sign to Loch Insh Watersports Centre on the right. Continue on the B970 with Loch Insh on your right, until you reach a fork in the road. Take the left hand fork, which is signed as no through road, and follow the road for about a mile. The Uath Lochans car park will be signed on your right, and is down a short track. There is no charge for parking. Do check the Forestry website for details of any proposed tree works in the area.

Amenities: There are no toilets or other amenities.

Buggy/bike friendly? We took an all-terrain double buggy (Mountain Buggy Duet) with us on this walk. The Uath Lochans trail is almost entirely buggy friendly, with one short section alongside a lochan with lots of trees and roots that requires some care and is rather bumpy. I do not recommend the Farleitter Trail with a buggy as there are some steep slopes where it would be very dangerous to lose control of the pushchair. More details below.

Farleitter Crag: the route

We did this route anticlockwise which I would recommend as you come to the views in the second half, and can then extend the route to Uath Lochans if you have enough energy.

There are some fairly steep ascents and descents, and the section along the edge of Farleitter Crag has some steep drops. These are not immediately next to the path, but you do need to keep an eye on younger children on this stretch.

1. Take the track from the car park (it winds around the edge of the car park before setting off on the opposite side from the entrance). After a short while, you will arrive at a fork, take the right hand fork for the Farleitter Crags route.

2. Follow a broad track as it winds through the forest around the bottom of Farleitter Crag. Bear left uphill at the next fork, continuing to follow the red routemarker posts.

3. After about a mile’s walk, take another left turn (still following the red marker posts) to head uphill on a land-rover track through a more open section of woodland.

4. At the end of the track, take a further left turn at a red marker post to follow a steep and fairly narrow path as it winds up to the viewpoint. You will find a large boulder and a bench with spectacular views across the Spey Valley.

5. The path now winds along the edge of Farleitter Crag with more lovely views down towards the River Feshie, with Uath Lochans below. Take care as there are some steep sections on the descent, and at some points steep drops nearby off to the left. Lots of bilberries here!

6. Turn left at a t-junction with a broader track, and continue down towards the lochans. Look out for a steep turn off to the right of the main track with a white waymarker. If you wish to extend your route around Uath Lochans, this is the way to go. Otherwise, continue down the main track back to the car park.

Farleitter Crag: what is the terrain like?

Much of the route is on broad land-rover tracks, sometimes stony and sometimes with grass in the middle. The middle section of the walk has some much steeper sections coming up and down Farleitter Crag itself. For this reason, I do not recommend this route for pushchairs, as although the path is wide enough, the gradient is too steep to be safe with a buggy on the descents.

You could leave a pushchair at the end of the broader track and use a sling for the final 300m ascent to see the viewpoint, and then return the way you came. Alternatively, the Uath Lochans route (described below) is more suitable for pushchairs as there are no steep sections.

Uath Lochans: the route

We walked this route in an anti-clockwise direction, which means you come to the more interesting sections towards the end.

1. Take the track from the car park (it winds around the edge of the car park before setting off on the opposite side from the entrance). After a short while, you will arrive at a fork, take the left hand fork for the Uath Lochans route.

2. Continue to follow the broad track for another 400m. If you are walking anti-clockwise, ignore the first white waymarker to the left, and take the second route with a white waymarker, at a point where the main path curves away uphill.

(If you are continuing from the Farleitter Crag trail, this is where you join the route.)

3. A stony path winds through heathery woodland, at points the heather encroaches on the path but it is navigable with a buggy.

4. After half a mile, you reach a T-junction with a forestry road. Turn left along this road and follow it until you reach the biggest lochan. There is a lovely spot here with a bench. Walking carefully down towards the water’s edge, we saw huge numbers of frogs in the wet grass here.

5. Shortly after the bench there is a footpath turning off to the left of the vehicle track, marked by a white waymarker and large boulder. Watch out for this turn – we nearly missed it!

6. This section of the walk is lovely, winding back through the lochans over a number of boardwalks. There is one section here which is difficult to navigate with a pushchair, as it runs through trees along the side of a lochan (see pictures in next section).

7. After traversing a more open area of boardwalks, take a right turn as you re-enter the woods, and follow the footpath to rejoin the main vehicle track, and head back to the car park.

Uath Lochans: what is the terrain like?

The paths are a mixture of broad level tracks through the woods, forestry vehicle tracks, boardwalks, and some narrower sections. The narrower sections are shown in the pictures below. There are a couple of areas of narrower path bordered by heather, but we were able to navigate this with a double buggy. There is also one difficult section along the edge of a lochan with trees and tree routes. We managed this with the pushchair, but it would have been easier with a second adult helping to lift the pushchair over a couple of short sections.

I would do this walk again with an all terrain buggy, but please do look at the photos below and consider whether this is something that your pushchair and your child would be able to cope with.

Things to look out for:

Look out for wild raspberries, bilberries, water lilies, wildflowers and lots and lots of frogs!

If you are looking for buggy-friendly walks or family walks in the Cairngorms, you may also enjoy these other routes.

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