Loch an Eilein

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Loch an Eilein
Loch an Eilein Castle 01.jpg
Loch an Eilein Castle
LocationBadenoch and Strathspey, Scotland
Coordinates57°08′49″N 3°49′27″W / 57.14694°N 3.82417°W / 57.14694; -3.82417Coordinates: 57°08′49″N 3°49′27″W / 57.14694°N 3.82417°W / 57.14694; -3.82417[1]
Typefreshwater loch
Primary outflowsMilton Burn
Basin countriesUnited Kingdom
Max. length> 1 mi (1.6 km)[2]
Max. width< 0.5 mi (0.80 km)[2]
Surface area56.1 ha (139 acres)[1]
Average depth25.5 ft (7.8 m)[2]
Max. depth66 ft (20 m)[2]
Water volume144,000,000 cu ft (4,100,000 m3)[2]
Surface elevation256 m (840 ft)[1]
Islands1 island with ruined castle[3]

Loch an Eilein is a small irregular shaped, freshwater loch in the Rothiemurchus Forest about 5 km (3.1 mi) south of Aviemore, Scotland. Loch an Eilein comes from the Scottish Gaelic and means 'Loch of the island'. The loch is considered to be beautiful[4] and walks around it are popular.[5]

In the late 18th and early 19th century, the loch was used mainly for two things. On the banks of the loch there is a limestone kiln where the lime stone was collected from a rockface looking over the loch. Also loggers used the connecting river to float logs down to the wood-treating factories downstream. Rob Roy and other cattle rustlers used the loch, and one side of the loch is called 'Robbers Way'. There are only three remaining houses on the loch side[clarification needed], which are now used by forestry officers.

Engraving of a view of the loch by James Fittler in Scotia Depicta, published 1804

In the middle of the Loch, on what may be a natural island, are the ruins of a small 15th century castle.[3] The castle is said to have once been the property of Alexander Stewart the Wolf of Badenoch.[6] The Jacobites, retreating from Cromdale in 1690, besieged the castle, which was held by Dame Grizel Mor Grant, widow of the fifth laird Grant. At this time the castle was connected to the shore by a causeway. The causeway was lost when the water level in the loch was raised in the 18th century.

The loch and the forest around it are popular with birdwatchers, walkers, mountain bikers and day-trippers. Among the birds found on or around Loch an Eilein are the crested tit, redstart, spotted flycatcher, tree pipit, red-throated diver, common sandpiper, whinchat, and the occasional merlin.


  1. ^ a b c "Loch an Eilein". www.britishlakes.info. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Bathymetrical Survey of the Fresh-Water Lochs of Scotland, 1897-1909, Lochs of the Spey Basin". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  3. ^ a b "Loch-an-eilein Castle". Gazetteer of Scotland. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  4. ^ "Loch-an-eilein voted Britain's best picnic spot". www.rothiemurchus.net. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  5. ^ "Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus". www.walkhighlands.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  6. ^ "Eilein, Loch an". www.scottish-places.info. Retrieved 2013-11-17.

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