A blowy wander to the Green Loch, Ryvoan bothy a poem, thoughts of family and John Muir. 

My plans were thwarted with the big winds. The car was batterd up at the car park in the Cairngorms, the forecast was right big winds. I decided  it was back to Glenmore Lodge for a wander up to the Green Loch and Ryvoan bothy. This is a magic short wander through impressive scenery and forest. I love this beautiful walk amongst ancient Caledonian pines leads to magical An Lochan Uaine the green lochan.

The magical Green Loch

I wandered down to the Loch and the wind was sipping up the waves and there was the odd big gust roaring through. There were plenty of folk about enjoying the wander and sheltered in the trees . These huge trees with the massive branches were waving in the wind and it was great to see natures strength moving the trees.

“Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
― John Muir

It reminded me of the great John Muir who climbed the huge trees in Yosemite during storms to see what nature could do. I wish I could be so brave ? He was some man.

Big Trees

The Lochan is a magical spot with the colour so green of the water. The legend says that the water is green because the pixies used to wash their clothes in the loch…..believe which ever version you want!  I have a walked here many times on the way back from a fruitless search of Strath Nethy a wild place in winter of deep snow, wild winds and little shelter. It takes you into the heart of Loch Avon and the heart of the Cairngorms. I have also returned from big hill days and short ones as the Munro Bynack Mor is a great winter starter for many. There is also an aircraft crash from the war on the plateau opposite on An Lurg where I visit regularly and have taken relatives to this wild place. It was also a place of reflection from many meeting with the Mountain Rescue Committee where a meal was missed for a run or walk up to the loch and the Ryvoan bothy.    I also enjoyed many walks with family and friends and you can take time out and have a think. One of my family was having a big operation this day and I was thinking of her and the family as I stopped on the shores of the loch.

 As I stopped the wind was wisping across the loch and the spray was soaking me at times.It was surreal at times but magical as well. The tree roots are amazing down by the loch worn,bent, open to the elements and yet the trees were huge towering above and swaying in the wind.

Ryvoan Bothy

A bit further on is Ryvoan bothy a wee shelter maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association and was another place I love there was just a family leaving after a stop out of the ind on their mountain bikes. I spent a few night here before it got so popular and today it was tidy and clean. It is a huge part of the Cairngorm culture when it gave access to the peaks in a past era. I had a look about and watched the clouds race across the sky but the tops were clear the heather brown and no snow yet. I have been here in October when the hills are white but not today. It was time to head off and it reminded me of the poem that used to be in the bothy.

Great view of the big hills.

The poem below I have heard and seen before it was left in the Ryvoan bothy during the 1939 -45 war, it is not known who wrote it but what a grand piece of poetry.  Ryvoan in these days would be a pretty quiet place unlike now where it is a short walk from Glenmore. My friend Ray Sefton that great Stravaiger of the hills (derives from eighteenth-century Scotsextravage, meaning ‘wander about;) was given it and a few others discovered in a friends attic.  I wonder what happened to the author? Ryvoan Bothy lies at the top of the Ryvoan Pass about a mile North-East of Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorms. My Dad used to visit Ryvoan in his student days and after the hills where they walked from Glenmore to he high peaks. These were hard days I bet he saw the original poem.



I shall leave tonight from Euston

By the seven-thirty train,

And from Perth in the early morning

I shall see the hills again.

From the top of Ben Macdhui

I shall watch the gathering storm,

And see the crisp snow lying

At the back of Cairngorm.

I shall feel the mist of Bhrotain

And pass by the Lairig Ghru

To look on dark Loch Einich

From the heights of Sgoran Dubh.

From the broken Barns of Bynack

I shall see the sunrise gleam

On the forehead of Ben Rinnes

And Strathspey awake from dream.

And again in the dusk of evening

I shall find once more alone

The dark water of the Green Loch,

And the pass beyond Ryvoan

For tonight I leave from Euston

And leave the world behind:

Who has the hills as a lover,

Will find them wondrous kind.


The day was not over as I headed of to Glenmore Lodge for a meal and a meeting and then a late drive home at last after a busy week!

“Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”
― John Muir

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Bothies, Corbetts and other hills, Cycling, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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