Location: Creag Bheag, Inverness-shire

Grade: Easy hill walk

Distance: 3 miles/5km

Time: 2-3 hours

THE 487m high Creag Bheag dominates the Badenoch village of Kingussie. It’s a hill I know well – I’ve enjoyed many a summer evening rock climbing on its little crags and a traverse of the hill makes a lovely afternoon or evening stroll.

In this case I climbed the hill as a respite from what felt like weeks of plodding and postholing on snow-covered terrain.

A network of trails and footpaths has been laid out in the Kingussie area and some excellent footpath work has been carried out in collaboration with the Cairngorms National Park.

The route to Kingussie’s hill, Creag Bheag, is a good example of this ongoing work.

I left the Ardvonie Car Park in Kingussie where there is a board showing the various local walks. I prefer to climb this hill in an anti-clockwise direction - I would rather climb the steeper sections than descend them – so I set off up the road that leads to Kingussie Golf Club.

The roads starts to climb immediately and runs parallel to the crashing waters of the River Gynack whose flow has been harnessed to provide Hydro electricity.

Just before the Golf Club car park, a footbridge crosses the river and leads to another tarmac road, which runs to Loch Gynack through the golf course. After a kilometre or so a sign points to a narrow track on the left.

This more or less immediately turns right, following the course of a burn for a short distance before climbing wooden steps – 56 of them.

The walk now follows the edge of the golf course to the ruins of an old house before the path continues through a gate, and then through woodland to another gate with lovely views of Loch Gynack with the hills of the Monadh Liath beyond.

It’s usually a bit boggy here but the footpath does well in avoiding most of it before climbing steadily to another set of signposts. I followed the sign for Creag Bheag, the beginning of a 15-minute steep climb to the multi-topped summit of the hill.

With lovely views in all directions this is a great place to linger before setting off down the obvious footpath that runs down to a fence and more woodland. Once through the gate I simply followed the main footpath downhill all the way to a gate which led to a path onto a road.

I followed the road downhill for a couple of hundred metres before tuning left down a flight of steps back to a large grassy area adjacent to Ardvonie car park and my waiting car.

Cameron McNeish


Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 35 (Kingussie & Monadhliath Mountains).

Distance: 3 miles/5km

Time: 2-3 hours

Start/Finish: Ardvonie Car Park in Kingussie (behind the Duke of Gordon Hotel, GR: NH755005)

Public transport: Regular trains to Kingussie from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. Buses from Inverness (www.travelinescotland.com )

Information: Aviemore TIC, 01479 810930

Route: Follow Ardvonie Road uphill, past St Vincent’s Hospital to a footbridge over the River Gynack. Cross the bridge, turn L and follow a path to a tarmac road. Continue with golf course on either side to a signpost pointing L. Go down a narrow path and almost immediately turn R. Climb wooden steps and turn R at the top. Pass ruined building, go through a gate, follow path through woods to another gate. Go through and climb the hill to L to another set of signs. Climb steeply to summit of Creag Bheag. Descend by the obvious path to a gate in a fence. Go through gate and follow path, ignoring other paths going off L and R, to gate and short path leading to a road. Go down the road for a short distance and turn L down steps to a grassy area adjacent to the car park.

Due to restrictions, we are running our favourite previously published walks. Please see www.gov.scot for current travel rules