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Cairngorms Explorer

Aviemore is a trail runners paradise, with endless trails covering every sort of terrain. The valley floor is full of ancient Caledonian pine forest and glittering lochains, complete with castles and rare wildlife. Exploring above the tree-line gives us stunning views of the mountains and smaller summits to climb before we climb higher onto the high arctic plateau and the heart of the range.

This range of trails mean that we can adapt our itinerary to suit the group and weather conditions, so no two Cairngorms Explorer courses will ever be the same. We have two options for course length, our 'Long route' or 'Short route'.

As a guide here is a sample weekend course.

Long route

Day 1 Ryvoan and Rynethin 21km 450m ascent

A taste of all that makes Cairngorm trails so special. Starting in the forest we pass the Green lochain and cross through the Ryvoan pass on a rough vehicle track with views opening up towards Bynack Mor and Strath Nethy. From here it is into the pristine Caledonian forest of the Abernethy RSPB reserve and onto a perfect singletrack trail, before looping back to the start at Glenmore.

Day 2 Cairngorm ski area to Inverdruie via the Chalamain gap and Loch an Eilein 21km 360m ascent

Taking advantage of the ski road to get a high start, this is a route skirting the edge of the mountains, without the hard climbing to start. We cross below the imposing northern corries of Cairngorm and through the Chalamain Gap, a narrow, boulder strewn glacial outflow channel. From here we descend a well-maintained trail into the jaws of the mighty Lairig Ghru. After taking a moment to enjoy our surroundings we will blast along one of the best running descents in Scotland, a swooping trail that weaves its way out of the mountains and back into the forest. From here a detour around Loch an Eilein and its castle takes us back into civilisation on the outskirts of Aviemore.

Short route

Day 1 Loch an Eilein 11km 50 meters of ascent

Voted Scotland's favorite picnic spot, Loch an Eilein is the jewel in the crown of the Caledonian forest. Breathtaking views of the mountains await as you run gentle trails around this stunning area. Keep your eyes peeled for the resident Ospreys, now living in the watery ruins of the castle of the notorious 'Wolf of Badenoch'

Day 2 Glenmore and Loch Morlich 12km 85 meters of ascent

This point to point run journeys through the heart of the forest, descending on an undulating trail from the beach at Loch Morlich back towards our base in Inverdruie. 


This two day package does not include accommodation or meals, allowing you the flexibility to choose your own. All guiding is included, but no in-course transport. Depending on the itinerary we may do circular runs, or use public transport to access Cairngorm mountain.

Dates for 2021 

Date Price Spaces Booking
1 & 2 May 2021 £80 Places available Book now

Information on our Covid-19 mitigation procedures can be found here


If you can't wait please get in touch to arrange a bespoke course.

Experience and fitness

This trip is all about the adventure and we will find a pace that keeps the team together and allows time to enjoy our surroundings including food breaks and a chance for photos.

Long route

This will be two days of trail running, covering around 21km, a half-marathon, each day. It will include some nice running mixed with short steeper walking sections. We won't be going up onto the tops, but we may skirt the lower slopes of the mountains, above the tree line. The trails will be a mix of easy running and some more technical single-track, so some off road running experience is essential. 

A good level of mountain walking fitness along with a base of off road running experience up to steady 20km runs will help you to get the most out of the weekend.

Short route

This course is designed as an introduction to the delights of 'proper' trail running, so will be on routes and at a pace that allow you to take your time and enjoy the experience. Covering around 10 to 12km each day we will stick to trails without steep climbs or technical, rocky sections. We would expect to cover the 12km in around 2 hours with stops so speed isn't important. If you can get round a Parkrun without stopping in under 40 minutes and can comfortably go on a brisk walk for 2-3 hours you will be absolutely fine. 


If you have any questions about your fitness please get in touch to discuss your options. 

Kit you will need

We will be aiming for 2 full days of trail running so we will have to be prepared to deal with everything that the Scottish weather can throw us. Whilst we don’t want to be over burdened it is essential that every member of the team has enough equipment to deal with the unexpected. Additional safety equipment will be carried by the guides.

Please consider your clothing carefully based on the weather forecast, we will not be racing round so please dress warmer than you would for a hard run.

Whatever the weather a small bag with a spare layer, your waterproofs and some food & drink is essential.



Adequate footwear - Fell shoes or trail shoes only

Waterproofs - Jacket with long sleeves and hood and waterproof or pertex overtrousers

Spare layer - Fleece or similar

Hat & gloves if it is cold or windy

Food - Enough water snacks to fuel you for the distances we will be covering

First aid kit – the guides will be carrying emergency first aid supplies but if you can have a small personal kit with blister pack/compeed and any personal medication.

Midge net.



If you have any questions or need advice about any of the equipment please just ask.

Getting here & Timings

We will meet at Aviemore Tennis Club

There is parking on site and it is 15 minutes walk from Aviemore train station.


We will meet on both mornings at 9am. Depending on the route we would expect the long route to finish around 2 or 3 pm, the short route by 1pm.


Aviemore has a wide variety of accommodation options

We recommend Hostelling Scotland hostels in Aviemore or Glenmore where you can get a 10% discount by using the code TRAILRUN

Hostelling scotland

We also recommend the wigwam accommodation at Badaguish outdoor centre and can offer a 15% discount. Just write in the notes on your booking 

"Course Member Trail Running Scotland 15%"

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